Research: Quality online environments = better advertiser engagement

By Jessie Sampson


London, United Kingdom

Quality trumps quantity, or so the old adage goes. But what if you can have both?

Newsworks and GroupM recently released ground-breaking new research proving quality online environments deliver substantially better results, with cost effectiveness, audience engagement, and brand response all positively impacted. So, in that sense, quality equals quantity when it comes to effective, tangible results.

According to new research, publishing ads in quality brands is much more effective.
According to new research, publishing ads in quality brands is much more effective.

Here is a closer look at the numbers. Ads appearing in quality online environments are:

  • 42% more cost effective for advertisers based on levels of engagement, viewability, above-the-fold placement, and dwell time.
  • 58% more likely to be 100% in view (which is GroupM’s global viewability standard) for at least five seconds.
  • 98% more likely to be placed fully above the fold.
  • 273% more likely to prompt a hover from a user.

In addition, they also produce stronger response rates across the board with average uplifts of +10.5% for brand awareness, +19.2% for ad recall, +9.7% for brand perception, and +10.3% for recommendation intent.

That’s a lot of numbers, but you get the idea. When it comes to online ads, those appearing in quality environments — such as on a news brand Web site or sports Web site — are better value for advertisers and more effective, at the very least because they are more likely to actually be seen. The research showed 48% of the measurable ads on the open exchange were never actually viewed, meaning advertisers paid for, well, nothing.

As Robin O’Neill said when presenting the results of the study at Newsworks’ 2018 Effectiveness Summit last month: “We wouldn’t pay for a poster that contractors have only put up half of. Or if a TV break consisted of 30 ads all playing the first two seconds of a 30-second execution, and we were expected to pay in full for every client. We’d probably just laugh. Well we’d do more than laugh. And yet in the digital world we pay, and I’m fed up with it. It’s not right and we need to change it.”

By comparing the digital ecosystem to the “real word,” Robin drives home an important point, one that Hamish Nicklin, the Guardian’s CRO, agrees with. Speaking at ISBA’s conference last year, he drew on a powerful analogy to underline the disparity in approach between online and offline advertising:

“If we apply that principle of low-cost advertising to branding in the real world, what you might get is, say, Rolex wanting to target ‘city boys,’ putting an ad in a urinal in a boozer in the city, because you’re targeting that individual in a very cheap way ... Rolex would never be happy with that, but that’s what happens every single day on the Internet.”

It might sound like common sense, but sometimes it’s the simplest things we need reminding of. Newsworks’ work with GroupM is a big step as it quantitatively proves what we instinctively know to be true. In doing so, it provides the evidence needed for action.

Not only do quality sites such as news brands’ Web sites provide brand-safe, contextually relevant environments, they also deliver more back to the advertisers’ bottom lines.

About Jessie Sampson

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