Just 1.5 per cent of media spend currently goes on total news, however with 96 per cent of Aussies consuming the news on a monthly basis, is this too little?
Fresh research from ThinkNewsBrands looks at how advertisers can better leverage today’s media consumption patterns for maximum impact.
The research, made in partnership with market research consultancy, Fiftyfive5, shows that Australians are continuously consuming news publishing throughout different parts of the day, underpinning its mass reach as a media channel. They also show how consumers are engaging with and sharing diverse news content more frequently than most other media, highlighting relevancy and engagement.
The survey includes responses from 2000 consumers nationwide; consumption diaries covering more than 8,300 occasions to reflect media usage motivations and behaviour; and digital media monitoring of 2.5 million digital minutes and impacts.
“Ultimately, what we want to do is unearth the moments that really matter for an advertiser when harnessing media channels today,” says ThinkNewsBrands CEO, Vanessa Lyons.
“To get there, we must understand the moments that matter to consumers as they go about their day. How do different media channels fit into their lives, why are they choosing these channels, and where do these channels have the greatest impact from their perspective? Understanding this is critical if brands are to land on the best way to not only spend their advertising dollars, but ensure they deliver commercial dividends.”
Finding 1: News is always with the consumer
Fiftyfive5’s research firstly reiterates the competitive position held by news against other media channels for reach. News publishing owns the morning as a channel alongside social media, with 1 in 4 Aussies reaching for news before breakfast.
Notably, the research shows Aussies continuing to engage with news throughout the day. As the day builds, news publishing remains a top three media source, delivering reach all day, every day. By comparison, radio (only) owns the often-short commute window in and out every day, then tapers to single digits outside these timeframes, while Total TV dominates the evening and late evening yet is low earlier on in the day.
News was shown to clearly move with consumers as they go about their day, as they engage with it at home (87 per cent), as well as out and about (56 per cent). Significantly, news is a leader in ‘at work’ media consumption (26 per cent); more than double the incidence of most other comparable media channels.
Finding 2: News is immersive.
In addition to enviable reach, this research demonstrates how highly engaged consumers are with news publishing compared to other media channels. For example, consumers are consuming more categories of content in news, up to 2X more than any other channel.
Trailing in second place after news for broad content consumption is magazines, which lack the reach offered by news.
75 per cent of news readers are fully engaged when reading news content, regardless of whether it’s print or digital.
Top reasons consumers choose news include staying up to date and seeking out the latest information (72 per cent), followed by learning or finding useful information (55 per cent).
As well as being the first choice for breaking news, consumers exhibit diverse category consumption in the
news environment. Popular topics include politics (33 per cent), sport (28 per cent), business and finance (27 per cent), environment and sustainability (20 per cent), and technology (16 per cent).
What’s just as interesting is what consumers aren’t engaging with news for. One in four consumers say they’re tapping into news to pass the time and lighten the mood, a substantially lower ratio than those engaging with social media, (48 per cent) or radio (48 per cent). These figures reiterate the majority of news readers are looking to absorb information, rather than be distracted, underscoring high attention and motivation to engage.
Finding 3: News is highly shareable.
While the lean-in nature of news is something many advertisers are familiar with, what has been less apparent is news’ shareability compared with other media channels.
This myth is firmly busted, with news publishing taking centre stage amongst consumers as a highly talked about and shared media.
News is in the top three recommended media types for sharing content and information (45 per cent) after magazines (55 per cent) and podcasts (55 per cent). This contrasts with radio (31 per cent) and social media (31 per cent).
Frequency further elevates the shareability status of news. Australians are twice as likely to talk about news versus something they saw on TV, saw outdoors, or heard on the radio. 2 in 5 have shared or talked about news on their last occasion. What’s more, half of consumers are discussing news articles shared on social media at least once a week.
What’s perhaps most interesting about the shareability factor is the core role that news plays in digital platforms such as search and social. News content is accessed via search daily by 43 per cent of readers, and social weekly by 53 per cent of readers. Search and social provide a key access point for consumers to read news.
Finding 4: News enables impactful advertising.
Perceptions of news publishing relevancy extends through to how consumers rate advertising they’re exposed to in news. Nearly one third of consumers say the ads they see are very or extremely relevant, putting news publishing 4th behind advertising at the cinema, in magazines or in podcasts.
This makes sense given the high customisability of these platforms. What is noteworthy is how performance stacks up against other mass reach media. Scoring much lower comparatively for relevancy are online videos, social media, search, and radio.
When relevancy is combined with reach, the positive impact available for advertisers through news is amplified. Fiftyfive5’s research shows news outperforming other media channels relative to its size, over-indexing by +20 per cent against the average.
This puts news ahead of other high relevance channels such as social media (+12 per cent) and online video (+9 per cent).
And because of such relevancy, consumers are finding advertising across news less annoying and more relevant compared to other media sources.
Lyons adds: “We know Total News has reach, but what has been missing from the industry narrative is the impact news has in the consumer’s context and against their motivations, behaviours, and media consumption.
This research provides a valuable way of understanding what news publishing means to consumers beyond basic reach, as they go about their day, and where the moments of most importance exist for advertisers to engage with them to best effect”.
By viewing media channels in a like-for-like way across multiple variables, we hope to inspire marketers and advertisers to stop measuring opportunity and success in isolation, or in favour of just an attention or reach score, and truly comprehend the holistic effectiveness of their campaigns and programs of work”.
She adds, “This research reconfirms that Total News Publishing is likely undervalued, relative to investment in other media channels. The slice of the pie needs to be much bigger towards news if you’re taking a holistic picture of media through a consumer lens.”
Rob Highett-Smith from Fiftyfive5 said “There has been a lot of discussion about the role of attention in advertising effectiveness recently. The insights from this study help us to think more broadly about the context within which advertising is consumed, and potentially challenge the idea that an impression has the same potential impact regardless of the media in which it is placed.”