Monthly Archives: August 2011

Riots Swell TV Viewing Figures

London Riots Boost TV ViewingLondon’s ongoing riots have re-highlighted the importance of social media as a news and wider communicative tool, with Twitter, Facebook, and Blackberry Messenger being used for good and ill across the capital and UK.

Less reported, however, is the affect the rioting has had on the viewing figures for TV news channels.

According to BskyB, Sky News achieved a reach of 6.81 million viewers for its coverage on Monday (based on viewers who tuned in for at least 15 minutes).  This gives the channel its highest daily audience figure since 7.3 million tuned in to watch the Iraq war coverage in 2003.

With a reach of 8.8 million, BBC News channel attracted a record-breaking audience, with 3.3 million of the audience viewing in London.

The BBC’s news website also recorded it’s second highest level of UK usage on Tuesday with 6.8 million users – an audience figure only second to the day following last year’s general election.

State of the Sunday Papers

The State of Sunday Papers

Sunday Papers

It has been a month now since the News of the World closure, and estimates place the Sunday mid-market and popular titles’ circulation as half a million down from June’s ABC figures.

Advertisers and newsagents fears were briefly allayed the weekend immediately following the closure, when sales actually rose by 100,000.  Each week since, however, the circulation has slipped.  Indeed, the latest estimate (for 31st July), show that the Sunday market is down by 280,000 on the previous week.

However, individual publications have benefited from this rare occasion to mop-up the previous market leader’s readers.

Selling an average of just over 1.9 million before the News of the World’s closure, the Mail on Sunday has since enjoyed a significant boost of around 800,000 copies, taking it to a circulation of 2.2million. However, this has come at a cost – reducing copy prices to £1 and heavy advertising.

Since July 31st, this figure dropped slightly by 60,000, while the Sunday Mirror has gained the same amount between July 31st and August 7th to bring its circulation to 2 million.

Price battles are giving way to front-page promotions as the two mid-market and Sunday popular leaders jostle for News of the World’s readers.

Elsewhere, the Sunday Express, People, and Daily Star on Sunday have also made considerable gains in the aftermath of the phone-hacking scandal, although all three have also recorded slight dips since the circulation highs on July 31st. The recent riots will help boost Sunday 14th August figures.

Now that the new pecking order has been established, two questions remain.

Firstly, are News International going to launch a new Sunday paper to replace News of the World and win back their old readers?  Most commentators suggest that it is not so much a case of if, but when, with Sun on Sunday,, and also registered in the immediate aftermath of the News of the World closure.

As one media commentator points out, in 1978/9, for just under a year, the Times and Sunday Times failed to publish as the staff went on strike.  Competitors gained much, but not all of, the circulation.  While the gains did not disappear immediately when the Times and Sunday Times came back, over a period of time the circulations returned to normal.  This historical model suggests that if an essentially re-named News of the World was launched, it would gain much of the old News of the World’s circulation.

However, a new ‘Sun on Sunday’ would carry with it the tarnish of the News of the World and its related scandals.  With newspaper circulations already on the decline, the danger for both News International and the newspaper industry at large, is that a proportion of the old News of the World audience will simply stop reading newspapers.

So, while the remaining mid-market and popular Sunday papers are currently enjoying a circulation rise, when the new Sun on Sunday is launched, it may be case of dividing-up a Sunday newspaper circulation that has had an accelerated decline – a situation far from ideal for any of the Sunday papers.

Through with Click-Through?

Through with Click- Through?

Growth of Digital Advertising

Constantly growing, and with nearly one in four advertising pounds in the UK now spent on it, digital has become  an indispensible part of almost any advertising campaign.

While now established (if continually evolving), digital advertising’s measurability is, however, still in its infancy.

In its early days, the USP of online advertising was its ability to allow consumers to act on the advertisement immediately through clicking on it and to invariably be led to the website of whatever product was being advertised.  From a campaign measurement perspective, this was gold-dust.  Advertisers were able to accurately measure exactly how successful an online campaign was through solid data: the click-through rate.

At first, online advertising was a novelty, with about one in seven users who saw an ad clicking on it.  Fast-forward over a decade, and the click-through-rates have plummeted to a fraction of 1% (0.03% – 0.09% is considered an average).  It’s not that advertising creative has declined in quality – far from it – but the initial novelty has worn off. Crucially, recent ComScore data shows that just 8% of US users account for 80% of clicks.  Most people just don’t click any more.

This doesn’t mean that online advertising has stopped working, just that we need to reconsider how we expect users to engage with it.  When someone sees a Cadbury advert on TV or on a poster, advertisers do not necessarily expect them to immediately purchase a chocolate bar, or log onto the Cadbury website to find out more about the advertised product.
Both of these would in fact be regarded as fairly unusual responses for most forms of traditional advertising.  Instead, what the advertiser in traditional media is largely hoping to achieve is an increase in brand awareness and recall so that when the viewer of the advert decides to make a purchase decision further down the line, they will be favourably influenced by the advert.

Therefore, this line of thinking reasonably progresses, this is how we should view online advertising: as a propagator of brand awareness and influencer of purchasing decisions.  Not as a way to drive viewers immediately to the advertisers website.
The next question, of course, is how do we measure this new definition of online advertising success?

Last year, Microsoft, ComScore and Eyeblaster issued a report in which they analysed the correlation between dwell time (the time a user spent engaged with a rich-media online advert) and campaign success.  Conducted across twenty different campaigns over six months, the report calculated a ‘dwell score’ by multiplying the amount of time a user spent engaging with the advert with the rate of engagement.

The report found that the higher the dwell score, the more positive a viewer’s behaviour will be towards the brand after seeing it.  In particular, the data showed that high-dwell campaigns delivered a 69% improvement in a campaign’s effectiveness at increasing brand site visits.  Those exposed to the high-dwell campaigns were also 39% more likely to make a branded search when they came to purchase a particular product.

These are impressive results, and an impressive, quantifiable measurement method that goes beyond the simple click-through to give more holistic, and therefore infinitely more useful, campaign reporting.

The only catch is that this method relies on rich-media adverts.  However, video adverts are on the rise, with Cisco estimating that in two years 90% of all web traffic will be video.  As online advertising, particularly brand advertising, continues to employ video, advertisers have the potential to revolutionalise how they approach, how they measure,  and therefore how they  improve, online advertising.