The Golden Age of newspapers approaches

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Source: Getty

It has never been a more challenging or exciting time for the advertising industry. Daily discussion surrounds technology’s influence on consumer behaviour, brand safety, ad fraud, content quality and viewability. We continuously hear about Google and Facebook and the strength of targeted online advertising.

So much for digital issues, but what of the newspaper? We are in the age of murky, fraudulent online sites and even murkier fake news and poor quality content, and my instinct is that, against that backdrop, newspapers are about to experience a renaissance and perhaps even enter a new golden age.

Ensuring a clean and safe online advertising campaign can be a headache for brands.

At GroupM, the leading global media investment management company, we are leading the way in best practice around programmatic media buying. In reality though, marketers take a multi-channel approach during a campaign and print advertising’s share of budget is rapidly diminishing.

I see this as a huge negative, because print advertising is a safe harbour for advertisers at a time when so many brands have found themselves in very uncomfortable online environments.

There’s a common perception that people don’t read newspapers anymore. That’s not even slightly true. Research by Newsworks, the organisation which represents the newspaper industry, cites that newsbrands reach 95 per cent of ABC1s every month. In addition, print publications reach 64 per cent of adults across the UK and campaigns that include newsbrands deliver a 58 per cent uplift in the effect on business.

One of Newsworks’ statistics, with which I totally agree, states that 82 per cent of people believe that newspapers have “power and influence” over their readers – a power not to be underestimated.

There are of course challenges within the print publishing industry, not least ensuring they efficiently give advertisers what they want. Ongoing discussions surround setting up a joint industry advertising sales house to gain scale and simplify the offering which is an exciting prospect.

At GroupM, we see this as an exciting initiative which we strongly support.

I have to declare an interest as an executive who has spent a lifetime on the print side of advertising, but it would be both sad and deeply worrying if the future did not include superb journalism from a raft of trusted newsbrands, whether via the crinkle of paper or a swipe of an iPad screen.

Advertising campaign planners need to consider a more balanced media approach with more consideration given to the print publication institutions, which have a proven long term positive impact on building brand.

Still not convinced? Well I’ve got a number of reasons, as to why print publishers should be given a greater share of advertising revenue, and the first is the gold standard audience measurement that newspapers can offer as well as a stamp of trust. The Audit Bureau of Circulations Ltd (ABC) delivers industry-agreed standards for media brand measurement across print, digital and events.

Newspapers also offer quality content, trusted environments and brand safety – in safe editorial environment, created by real journalists and curated by qualified editors. They guarantee high levels of engagement, and Newsworks cites that 60 per cent of newspaper readers do not consume any other media at the same time as reading newspapers. There are no distractions with newspapers!

Newsbrands reach 47m people each month across all platforms according to Newsworks, compared to 42m on Google, so they still have huge scale.

Newspapers provide advertisers with the opportunity to place advertising near relevant content, as well as increased effectiveness and benefits across an entire advertising campaign.

They also supercharge the effectiveness of other media when they are included in the mix.

Plus, nothing gets in the way of a positive consumer experience because there are absolutely no ad blockers.

Every advertiser deserves a safe, trusted, quality media space and for that, newspapers are second-to-none.