Study: Ads in News Are More Effective

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NEW YORK—While advertisers have traditionally been concerned about associating their brands in news content that might prove upsetting, depressing or controversial to some viewers, Disney Ad Sales and Magna have partnered on a new study (opens in new tab) that found ads appearing in news are perceived by viewers as being more relevant (+8% versus a control group), more valuable (+6%) and more trustworthy (+4%).   

The study also found that the credibility of the news source mattered more than the news story. Ads on a high-quality, trusted and well-respected news source led to increased research intent (+25%), brand favorability (+21%), and purchase intent (+21%).

In addition, ads in news were effective across all genres, the study found, with purchase intent up 4% in hard news, up 7% in news about race and culture, entertainment news (+6%), sports (+2%) and human interest (+3%). 

Purchase intent was slightly lower in political news (down 1% versus the control group), but brand favorability ratings in political news were up 5% and researcher intent was up 2%. 

The study also concluded that the type of ad message was important in advertising in different types of news. For example, a more direct product-focused ad worked very well in hard news, boosting brand favorability by 10%. In contrast a more storytelling approach in the ad worked better in race and culture news, boosting brand favorability by 11% and improving purchasing intent by 10%. 

"Advertisers who avoid news content are missing out on a curious audience that is actively looking to learn about the world around them,” the study concluded, stressing that advertisers needed to “seek out trusted news sources” and “tailor the advertising message to the type of news in which it will appear….With this strategy in place, advertising in news content is key to delivering on campaign KPIs. More simply put, No News is Bad News.”

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.