Trust in news media has a positive influence on the ads that appear in those media, and the recall of brands and ads is considerably stronger in trusted news media. Also, a reliable news brand creates more positive associations for the advertising brand. All of these findings come from new research by DVJ Insights for Dutch publisher NRC Media.
The research challenge
Since the coronavirus outbreak, the need for reliable information and quality journalism has risen considerably. News brands saw the number of readers and subscribers increase significantly.
What exactly is the influence of trust? What makes media consumers trust a news brand? And how does the advertiser profit? NRC Media has been able to find the answers to those questions thanks to an innovative experimental study. The research has explored the concept of trust, including the added value of trust for ads in news media.
A trusted journalistic brand has a reinforcing effect on the brand KPIs of advertisers, such as the brand recall and ad recall. A trusted medium also transfers positive and distinctive associations to the advertising brand. Regression analysis confirms the significance of these advertising effects.
Ads in news media appear to profit from a halo effect. This means that a reliable media brand has a positive influence on the advertising brand. Positive values are transferred from the news media brand to the advertising brand.
The made-up brand advertisement was experienced considerably more positively in the familiar newspaper environment than in the fictional news media brand. The advertisement can transfer positive and distinctive associations to the brand when shown in the familiar news medium. Regression analysis confirmed the positive effect.
The publisher is pleased with the insights. Madelon Fortuin of NRC Media said: “The research has produced a valuable resource of data. Not just about the concept of trust in journalistic news brands and how this arises; we have also obtained data on how advertisers can benefit from this. We will now analyse that data further and share it with relations.”
A new instrument for measuring trust
The study includes a literature study and an experiment. Literature and feedback from respondents revealed four dimensions that influence the perception of reliable journalistic brands. This includes selectivity in the choice of topics and news facts, the accuracy of these facts, and the quality of the journalistic assessment.
Based on this preliminary study, a new measuring instrument was designed to determine trust in journalistic brands. In the research project, 700 newspaper readers (including 400 NRC readers) were interviewed. Both existing and fictitious news titles were used in the experiment. In addition to existing brand advertisements, these media also included an ad for a made-up brand.
By questioning respondents before and after the reading experiment, reliability scores of newspapers were calculated. In this way, the advertising effects were also established.
The halo effect was determined by comparing the reader experiences with different news brands and ads. This effect is reflected here in the contribution of a news brand to the advertising brand.
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