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Download The Works Q1 Newspaper Audience Report

In the latest issue of our quarterly audience report, The Works, we take a look at 2016’s spending hot spots, the importance of trust in advertising and whether social ads are missing the mark.


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The increasingly complex world of advertising has never provided so many opportunities to get it right – and get it wrong.

Concerns around digital advertising are dominating the thinking of marketers and media agencies currently. The demand that advertisers pay only for the ads that appear on screen is at the centre of industry debate and change.

Media agencies, blighted by slimming margins and increased workloads, are on a determined path to automate, or minimise human intervention in scheduling campaigns while trying to ward off an emerging client philosophy that all this has become so simple it can be done in-house by a couple of people.

On the media owner side, publishers respond to these challenges by launching or reinvigorating content and developing their own premium programmatic exchanges to stem the tide of dollars flowing towards Facebook, Google Ads and programmatic placement in general.

Often forgotten in this hurlyburly is the audience.

If their sensibilities are ignored, then the impact of all those marketing dollars tipped in to digital, regardless of how many blearyeyed internet users are reached, is significantly diminished. Which is why the latest findings of the bi-annual Global Trust in Advertising Report (2015) by Nielsen has particularly salience in the current climate.

All manner of digital advertising is left eating the dust of newspapers, TV, radio and magazines.

Some 58 per cent of Australians surveyed say they completely or somewhat trust advertising that they see in newspapers. Similar results are achieved by TV (56%), magazines (53%) and radio (51%).

It seems illogical that the market has moved away from “traditional” media with such speed when they continue to hold the trust of their readers as an advertising medium.

For advertisers, this would seem to be a high price to pay for efficient buying processes, or fashionable social media strategies.

Respondents to the Nielsen survey were twice as likely to trust an advertisement in a newspaper as a marketing message on a social networking site.

These findings indicate the views on the effectiveness of media may substantially differ between the average Joe and those who professionally purchase media.

The Newspaper Works commissioned Research Now to ask 500 individuals which two media channels were most influential and trusted, and then compared those results with a similar question that is part of a media-i survey conducted every six months with staff of media agencies.

The findings highlighted substantial differences of opinion on the degree to which media influenced, and was trusted by, society.

Taking newspapers, only 10 per cent of media buyers considered that sector to be one of the two most influential media on society, compared with 27 per cent of the Research Now respondents.

The comparison found significant disparity on digital advertising.

Some 82 per cent media buyers said online had great influence compared with 57 per cent of the general public, who were 2.7 times more likely to consider newspapers one of the top two media channels for influencing consumers.

The findings do not provide an answer on what is the best media channel – because, obviously, there is no such thing as “the best”.

Yet, they demonstrate a significant detachment between how the public and media buyers view newspapers.

What is fashionable, and what might be measured, may not always be the most effective investment.

Even as Facebook counts its first $US5 billion revenue quarter, and Google overtakes Apple (if momentarily) as the world’s most valuable company, the general public is still saying that when it comes to trust and influence, newspapers and magazines have an important role to play in society.

Mark Hollands
CEO, The Newspaper Works 

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