Advertising on news websites is good for brands, reports the IAB in the US. Picture: 123RF/RAWPIXEL/BUSINESSLIVE
Advertising on news websites is good for brands, reports the IAB in the US. Picture: 123RF/RAWPIXEL/BUSINESSLIVE

Contrary to popular belief, advertising in digital news publications is safe for brands and improves trust in such brands, according to new research conducted by the IAB in the US.

The IAB is a trade group representing the media and marketing industries, counting among its US members more than 650 media companies, brands and technology firms. Locally, the IAB SA is affiliated to the global organisation.

Advertising in the news drives consumers to act, the IAB said in its research report issued in September, titled “The News Trust Halo: How Advertising in News Benefits Brands.”

Key findings also show that advertising in the news is brand safe, increases trust and drives consumers to take action. More than 40% of respondents indicated they would be willing to try a brand after seeing its ads via a news outlet.

Brand safety refers to the need to protect a brand’s reputation when it advertises online — for example, by not placing its ads next to inappropriate content such as news reports containing graphic material.

“SA publishers also go to great lengths to ensure they offer a brand-safe, quality-driven environment for advertisers,” said Riaan Wolmarans, head of digital: media at Arena Holdings and chair of the IAB SA’s publishers’ council.

“Combined with the trust that readers place in this country’s long-established news publications with their massive reach in print and online, it means our readers will have a similar positive view of advertising in their favourite news publication.”

The IAB found that consumers liked brands more when they advertised in the news:

  • 49% of respondents saw these brands as relevant to them;
  • 47% saw these brands as customer focused; and
  • 46% believed these brands were of high quality.

Also, as a result of seeing a brand advertising with their favourite news outlet:

  • 45% of respondents were more likely to visit the brand’s website;
  • 43% said they would consider buying from the brand; and
  • 39% were comfortable recommending the brand.

Only 16% of respondents said that advertising in news made them trust brands less.

Consumers who took part in the research showed a high degree of trust in the news publications they read. Three quarters of respondents said they read national or international news weekly, while on average they followed four news sources — and 7 out of 10 found their chosen news sources to be trustworthy.

“Never has trusted news been more important in our society,” said IAB CEO David Cohen. “Over the past year, we have seen significant growth in news consumption as we increasingly rely on news to keep us safe, connected and informed.

“The IAB study sought to understand the brand impact of advertising in the news. While historically some brands have avoided news due to negative association concerns, the study found that those concerns were unfounded. If a consumer sees an ad in a news outlet they deem legitimate, they are more likely to consider trying the brand, telling a friend about it, visiting the brand’s website, and ultimately finding that brand more trustworthy.”

Cohen added: “News outlets provide a powerful platform to connect with consumers. Put simply, news saves lives and news builds brands.”  

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