Left or right? Big or small? Answering ad questions with RAMetrics

By Jessie Sampson


London, United Kingdom

When it comes to advertising in newspapers, there are a number of questions agencies and brands often ask us at Newsworks: Is advertising on the left- or the right-hand page better? Does size matter? Do price- or image-based ads work best? What’s the best time of the week to advertise?

Well, thanks to RAMetrics data, we can now give conclusive answers to all of the above questions. RAMetrics tests hundreds of ads and articles a year across multiple measures, providing a series of benchmarks that help us understand how newsbrand ads are likely to perform.

Publishers should consider factors such as size and placement on the page for print ads, but the quality of advertisements remains of utmost importance.
Publishers should consider factors such as size and placement on the page for print ads, but the quality of advertisements remains of utmost importance.

Here’s what we have found.

Left vs. right: Who wins?

In a nutshell, ads on right-hand pages are slightly better recalled. However, when ad size is taken into account, there is no difference:

  • 64% of readers recall ads on the right compared with 61% for left-hand pages.
  • When it comes to full page ads, 70% recall those on the right vs. 69% on the left.
  • Half-page ads see 57% recall on the right vs. 58% on the left.
  • And quarter-page ads rack up equal recall for right and left with 47% each.

The data also shows that any impact of ad position is vastly outweighed by the effect of creative and, to a lesser extent, ad category.

Does size matter?


Full-page ads are:

  • Given more attention: 29% compared with 19% for half-page ads and 14% for quarter-page ads.
  • Easier to understand: 47% found full-page ads very easy to understand while 38% felt the same about half-page ads and just 30% for quarter-page ads.
  • More appealing: 34% of readers found them personally appealing vs. 20% for half-page ads and 14% for quarter-page ads.
  • More likely to prompt action: 26% of readers would recommend the company/product advertised whereas half-page ads scored 16% and quarter-page ads came in at 6%.

However, the strength of the creative has a major part to play, too. A great idea in a small space can easily outperform a weaker idea in a big space.

Do price- or image-based ads work best?

Analysis shows that image-based ads outperform price-based ads on almost every measure. They are:

  • More instantly memorable (64% vs. 57%).
  • More likely to be paid attention to (26% vs. 19%).
  • More capable of achieving brand familiarity (43% vs. 32%).
  • Able to generate more positive feelings about the brand (brand positivity outscores price-based ads by +11% points).
  • Capable of triggering a more powerful rational response from readers (scoring +8% points higher than price-based ads when it comes to delivering more information and +6% points higher for ease of understanding).
  • Capable of triggering more actions, whether that is Web traffic, store/outlet visits, buying behaviour, or word-of-mouth recommendations and discussion.

What’s the best time of the week to advertise?

RAMetrics shows there is only a small difference in recall when we look at ads that appear on a Monday to Wednesday (63%) compared with ads appearing on Thursday to Saturday (65%). In fact, there are few differences in ad performance overall based on whether they appear at the front or back end of the week.

Brands that advertise toward the end of the week tend to be more familiar (+8% points), easier to understand (+4% points), and more likely to prompt actions that fit with being at the end of the buying process, such as visiting the advertiser’s Web site (+3% points), visiting the advertiser (+4% points), and buying (+5% points).

However, data for engagement measures suggests advertising earlier in the week (when, perhaps, there is less competition) is just as successful in delivering brand-building responses, both rational and emotional.

The above are just some of the questions we can answer with the help of RAMetrics. The data also allows for an in-depth look at how news brand ads perform on average within specific sectors, from retail to travel to finance.

Take a look at all of Newsworks’ analysis, and if you have a question you think we can help with, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

About Jessie Sampson

By continuing to browse or by clicking “ACCEPT,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance your site experience. To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our privacy policy.