As an advocate for written news publishing as a media channel (all digital and print news together), I spend a lot of time talking to media planners and buyers.
My key takeaway from conversations towards the end of last year was that 2023 had been tough.
This year, conversations have been more optimistic, however that optimism is offset by several challenges media planners and buyers have on their minds.
From my perspective, I’m excited for 2024. Because the perfect solution to overcome these challenges is written news publishing.
Challenge 1: How to deliver greater ROI for less.
With advances in technology, democratisation of media buying and tight marketing budgets, expectations on planners and buyers to deliver ROI have never been higher.
A recent nationwide study of more than 2000 Australians covering media perceptions and behaviours shines a light on how written news publishing can help.
The study found written news is the most relevant high reach channel for contextual advertising – more than search, social media, radio, online video or tv.
Relevance is important because consumers see the advertising as informative, trustworthy and less disruptive. This increases engagement which leads to brand memorability and propensity to purchase, key factors in achieving ROI.
Talking dollars and cents, another study by Group M and WPP Gain Theory found that written news delivers an average of $3.90 for every $1.00 invested.
Challenge 2: How to ensure brand safety.
Brand safety has become a big concern following high-profile cases of ads appearing alongside inappropriate or despicable content. Marketers have pulled campaigns and demanded answers.
And for good reason. A study by Integral Ad Science showed 7 out of 10 consumers are unlikely to purchase a product or service advertised next to unsafe content.
Unlike other advertising channels, Australia’s leading news publishers offer transparent and regulated environments that keep brands and their customers out of harm’s way.
And unlike the sea of questionable content that appears elsewhere, experienced journalists and editors create and fact-check written news, so brands can be confident their ads will appear alongside quality, safe content, and nothing inappropriate.
In a world where social licence and brand association can be deciding factors for consumers, written news offers media planners and buyers a risk-free channel for their clients.
Challenge 3: How to increase reach to the right audience.
Delivering greater reach is a perennial challenge.
In a recent industry survey ThinkNewsBrands conducted, scale of reach was the most important metric according to brands and media agencies when it comes to making investment decisions. This makes sense, as growing penetration is a sure-fire way to grow a brand.
The challenge is how to do it.
It’s hard to believe, but 96% of Australians aged 14+ read written news on a monthly basis and 16.7m Australians read it weekly. Those are staggering figures. It means written news has the power to reach any audience.
What’s more, written news is core to digital platforms like search and social media which amplifies its scale. When you consider written news publishing’s reach across websites, apps, search and social media, daily audience gets up to an enormous 67%.
For a high reach channel, that as we’ve seen delivers on relevance too, media planners and buyers need look no further than written news publishing.
Challenge 4: How to target in a world without cookies.
This is the year Google will phase out third party cookies. It announced the change in January 2020, but four years later there is still uncertainty among advertisers about how to operate in a cookie-free world.
The key question is how brands can still target segmented audiences efficiently and effectively. Once again, written news publishing can help.
Australia’s leading news publishers are sitting on a plethora of highly accurate first-party data based on users’ behaviours and interactions within their ecosystems. This data is already driving streamlined, efficient and cost-effective campaigns for brands. And because of the depth and breadth of the ecosystems, targeting can be done in a hyper-contextual way across content subjects, properties and formats.
What’s more, in a media landscape that is so fragmented, the ability to buy audiences within the one rich integrated media destination is incredibly powerful. It allows for synergies and ensures budgets and resources aren’t spread too thin.
As the saying goes, a new year brings new opportunities.
This year, I’m looking forward to seeing more media planners and buyers leaning in to written news publishing to create great opportunities and results for their clients.
Vanessa Lyons is the Chief Executive Officer of ThinkNewsBrands.
ThinkNewsBrands helps advertisers and their agencies understand how advertising in today’s news content drives real business results.
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