Daily Archives: July 1, 2015

National Newspapers Update

Newspaper Update

Declining circulations
2014 saw the continued decline of print newspaper circulations, a decrease of 9% overall. Due to the rise in mobile device ownership and shift to consuming news online, circulations are predicted to drop by more than a third over the next five years.

Trends in UK Newspaper Circulation

In terms of dailies, it is the popular titles that have seen the most dramatic declines, averaging a 25% decrease since 2011 compared to 12.7% for the qualities. This is likely due in part to the full or partial online paywalls implemented by titles such as Times/Sunday Times and Financial Times.

Furthermore, print readership continues to shift to an increasingly mature demographic with over half of over-65s regularly reading print newspapers compared to an average of 29%.

Digital innovation
On a more positive note, digital growth over the past year has been strong with five of the largest newsbrands reporting a combined 25% increase in browsers in 2014. In contrast to print, users tend to be younger with nearly 75% of those aged 25-34 having accessed news online within the last three months compared to an average of around 60%.

Despite this, print still accounts for the bulk of revenues as newsbrands continue their mission to grow digital profits. Developing exclusive content such as videos and podcasts is central to brands’ strategies, be it as an incentive to subscribe for those using paywalls or an additional revenue stream for free content providers.

What this means for advertisers
New products will ultimately offer innovative ways of targeting and engaging niche audiences which is good news for advertisers.

Also important to consider are the changes in how online news is consumed, with smartphones now the device most commonly used to read news online.

Device Breakdown

A reduced share of browsers does not mean that targeting desktop or laptop users should be avoided, but creative format and potentially messaging should be adapted for each device. So while almost three-quarters of print newspaper readers consume the paper at home with time to browse, those reading on smartphones are far more likely to be on the move, making more direct messaging appropriate.

Digital Display Advertising – Beyond CTR

Before the digital boom, many brands were happy to advertise on TV, in newspapers and billboards without having any solid evidence on the exact source generating a sale. However, since the global financial crisis, the emphasis and pressure has grown on marketing professionals to quantify the value of any ad spend. With the infinite list of statistics digital media provides, it has become somewhat an easy option for marketers to justify.

There is one fundamental flaw that most advertisers are guilty of with this approach. This is focusing specifically on display advertisings “last event” role (i.e. CTR, last click or last view before purchase or action), rather than its overall business value. This approach doesn’t take into consideration the customer journey online or the brand awareness benefits that reaching an audience online can produce.

This holds more truth when advertising a product that requires a lot of research, such as a property. Focusing on last event results encourages advertisers to invest too much of their budgets in optimising towards reaching consumers who are near the end of the buying cycle. Of course this is a great time to reach someone, however why not expand this and efficiently use digital display for the same purposes that print, TV, outdoor and radio are used, and target consumers who are at the start or early on in the buying cycle to raise awareness, which will ultimately deliver a better ROI?

It may be stating the obvious but how can an ad influence a consumer to purchase if it is not seen? The answer is of course it cannot.  However, the majority of digital advertisers optimising towards the last event will not focus on, or report on, achieving viewability.

On average, around 40% of display network ad impressions in a campaign would be classified as un-viewable, for example if it is below the fold. The IAB defines an ad as visible if it has at least 50% of it in view for at least 1 second.

A case study undertaken by Waitrose, who teamed up with Infectious Media, a programmatic advertising specialist, goes someway into showing a better way to measure the real value of display ads. They do this by focusing heavily on viewability, combined with other targeting data points.

The test measured the behavioral differences, such as website behavior and purchasing, between people who were shown at least one viewable ad and those shown at least one non-viewable ad in the same campaign.

Initially, there was no identifiable difference in results between users who had a viewable or non-viewable ad served. However, after extensive optimising and analysis, which can only be done programmatically, it became apparent that the largest impact of sales was related to the number of viewable ads a user was served.

More specifically, sales significantly increased when a user was served at least 5 ads within a 1 month period. There was a plateau when users were served over 10 ads in a month, however a clear optimum number had been identified.

On this basis, not only contextual, environment and behavioral targeting should be considered, but equally, if not more important is frequency. Campaigns that reach the correct audience segments but at low frequency levels are almost as wasteful as displaying non-viewable ads.

Optimising campaigns towards CTR may reduce the frequency an ad is served because if a user hadn’t clicked after being served the ad a number of times, they may be deemed irrelevant.

There are still many discoveries to be made into delivering the optimum digital campaign, however moving further away than purely measuring the last event is a good first step.