A new study overseen by US-based Duane Varan shows that advertising on news platforms – including print – is more effective than Facebook or YouTube.
Latest in the ‘Benchmark and Payback Series’, the research was commissioned by Australian publishers’ group ThinkNewsBrands, which says it was the largest cross-media advertising effectiveness study conducted in the country.
Now chief executive of Austin, Texas, based audience research lab MediaScience, Dr Varan (pictured) headed Murdoch University’s Audience Labs – previously known as the Interactive Television and Research Institute – in Perth from 1997-2015, and was a recipient of the Prime Minister's Award for university teacher of the year.
Some results of the ‘Benchmark and Payback Series’ were published earlier this year. More than 5,350 participants were included in the study, which ran across 42 print runs and 252 websites which together created 6037 unique brand exposures.
The study set out to understand the impact news platforms have along the path to purchase, by measuring key metrics across short and long-term memory as well as brand lift. The first tranche of the research showed the effectiveness of “advertising in news” against “non-premium run of the internet sites” including TechRadar, the Daily Mail, Yahoo, Mamamia and Buzzfeed.
The study is described as the first of its kind properly comparing news versus social media in terms of ad impact. “The results fill an important void in understanding the larger media landscape,” Varan said.
Newly-released findings show ads such as quarter, half and full-pages in print outperform Facebook ads of all types by up to four times
Whether comparing print ads with display, six or 15 second Facebook ads, news offered a superior level of unprompted recall.
Combined news formats were found to be twice as effective as combined Facebook formats, and advertising across a combination of news in print and digital was twice as effective as Facebook display and video for unprompted recall.
Ads in newsmedia were as good as (or better than) ads on YouTube, delivering 1.7 times the unprompted recall of six-second YouTube ads, and on par with 15-second YouTube ads, whether on desktop or mobile.
Research conducted with GroupM Australia and global marketing effectiveness consultancy Gain Theory as part of the Payback Series research found news offered a greater return on media investment than social media.
ThinkNewsBrands general manager Vanessa Lyons said the research was a wake-up call for marketers. “Investing heavily in social media advertising isn’t the answer you’ve been led to believe,” she said.
Funded to the tune of $12 million by TV networks, advertising brands and technology enablers, the Murdoch University Audience Labs closed in 2015 when Dr Varan returned to Austin to concentrate on his MediaScience business.
ThinkNewsBrands is part of the Premium Content Alliance, stakeholders of which are News Corp Australia, Nine Entertainment and Seven West Media.