Panelists explored the innovations and data behind advertising campaigns at the INMA World Congress on Monday.

Trevor Fellows, head of global media sales at The Wall Street Journal, said news brands have the power to cut through the digital noise. This is crucial for advertising partners.

Wall Street Journal partnered with BAV consulting to run Brand Asset Valuator, measuring brand strength and brand stature. Brand strength explores brand differentiation and relevance. Brand stature includes esteem and knowledge of the brand.

The survey focused on three types of people: all non-readers, WSJ readers, and “comparable” non-readers.

The research found that Wall Street Journal advertisers are more compelling to readers. The company also learned something surprising, Fellows said: “For our readers, print performed better.”

Invest in your growing audience, said Michael Zimbalist, senior vice president advertising product, research and development at The New York Times. Advertisers want two things: to reach audience at scale, and have a high degree of engagement with that audience.

What advertisers really want, Zimbalist said, is the same level of engagement your audience has with your news content. That’s where news media company’s audience relationship is key.

“You have to bring a big audience to the table,” he said. Branded content combines the advantages of news companies’ audience relationship and content expertise.

Branded content means building ad segments around the winning solution of engagement.

Zimbalist shared a case study based on an advertisement campaign run for The Imitation Game. The game was shared on social media, and sometimes spent four minutes on the page, Zimbalist said.

“Shareability is a key indicator of success for advertisers,” he said.

The most important thing is to keep the audience relationship based in a foundation of trust with your news media brand, Zimbalist said.

“We spent a lot of time making sure that what we did raised the bar for disclosure and transparency.”

Mark Hollands, CEO of The Newspaper Works, shared the process of re-designing and re-imagining his company’s readership survey for the integrated audience news brands strive to have.

The Newspaper Works’ Enhanced Media Metrics Australia (emma) survey creates a huge knowledge bank of how readers and non-readers behave as a consumer. Emma offers potential ad partners the opportunity to add their audience knowledge as well.

“This database has the ability to fuse other data,” Hollands said.

The Newspaper Works also uses geoemma, which uses location information as well as consumer behaviour data to determine propensity to buy based on location compared to the national average.

The company releases benchmarking studies every two weeks, tracking impact of ad campaigns. Studying how components of an ad campaign affected an audience, research found headlines drive sales, copy creates environment where people will trial a product, and images prompted consideration and reconsideration of a product.

In a real estate case study, 850,000 home sales were tracked over two years. Homes were sold faster and for a higher price when they were advertised in both digital and print.

Siddarth Suri, senior researcher at Microsoft Research, shared findings about annoying and time-based ads.

Research done on cost of ads and the potential audience lost showed bad ads cost roughly US$1CPM.

Research on ad recall found increased exposure raises its memorability, but with the first 10 seconds being the most crucial. Time after those first 10 seconds leads to diminishing returns.

When considering the choice between multiple, shorter ads and fewer, longer ads, Suri said swapping out ads more frequently created more value for brands.