Submitted by: Jess Taylor 04/01/2017
Insight Director of Newsworks, reflects on ground-breaking research that proves the value of newspaper advertising
Some things never go out of fashion: little black dresses, The Beatles and Harry Potter, to name a few. In contrast, many in the world of media would be quick to say that print newspapers have witnessed a fall from favour of late. Yet, what hasn’t been reported by industry forecasts and trade headlines is that, amongst all the noise heralding their demise, print newspapers have been quietly continuing to do what they have done so well for the past 200 years: engage their readers and deliver effective advertising for brands.
Print circulations have declined but not as much as people often think, and certainly not as much as advertisers have been reducing print budgets. National newspapers sell seven million copies every day and are read by young people who are supposedly all digital – 60% of millennials still read a paper every month, according to NRS (March 2015-April 2016). Interviewed at Cannes Lions 2015, WPP’s Martin Sorrell noted that “the pendulum swings too far” when it comes to advertisers’ balance between new media and print. Fast forward a year and we now have the categorical evidence to prove that Sir Martin is right.
Not only do newspapers boost overall campaign ROI by three times on average, according to a Benchmarketing study commissioned by Newsworks, but BDRC Continental found they also deliver a multiplier effect when combined with digital newsbrand platforms. These studies make up two parts of Newsworks’ new effectiveness research, along with Peter Field’s analysis of the IPA Databank. While there have been many individual case studies over the years that prove the effectiveness of newsbrands, we had no definitive largescale proof of the brand impact and return on investment that newsbrands deliver when part of a mixed media schedule – until now.
From the three studies, one of the key points that emerges is the integral role that print plays in boosting ROI, brand health and business effects. Benchmarketing’s work, which analysed the results of 500 econometric studies over the past five years, found that print boosts campaign ROI across a range of sectors – most significantly in the automotive and finance sectors – while also positively impacting the performance of other media. Improvements in ROI range from two times (for TV), four times (for online display) to 10 times (for radio) when print is in the mix.
As Benchmarketing’s Sally Dickerson said when launching the research at Newsworks’ Effectiveness Summit, the pendulum has indeed swung too far and advertisers would see a better return on their investment if spend returned to 2013 levels. The world has changed and there’s a crucial role played by digital advertising, but there should be “a shift back to when print was being used at the correct rate”.
To date, the effectiveness studies are the most viewed research projects that Newsworks has ever produced – indicative of the appetite there is for quantifiable proof of effectiveness. In a world where there are so many platforms through which advertisers can communicate with consumers, knowing the impact print has on overall campaign ROI, as well as other media such as social and TV, is a game changer. It may be one of the oldest media on the block, but as an industry we need to move with the times and value the enduring power of print.