Newsbrand campaign impacts are underestimated – study


New research from News UK and leading independent media agency Medialab has found that the impact of newsbrand campaigns is being significantly underestimated by standard advertising attribution metrics.

Newsbrand study

Using an advanced econometric model, Medialab found that the sales impact of a print and digital campaign in The Sun was being underestimated by 14.5x when compared to traditional last click attribution.

Whilst standard attribution models look at the trackable online clicks that lead to a sale, econometric modelling takes a far wider view, looking at all of the drivers of a consumer action to try and isolate the contribution of an individual channel.

Using this approach, Medialab was able to capture the contribution of offline and upstream consumer content consumption in The Sun far more effectively than is possible using standard digital attribution.

The econometric model identified 14.5x more sales than the traditional attribution model, resulting in a 90% lower Cost Per Acquisition than initially reported.

The research found that, whilst the campaign activity in The Sun delivered valuable online results, it also had a significant impact in terms of driving offline consumer interest via call centres, with up to 70% of responses being recorded via this channel.

This campaign impact has traditionally been ignored by digital attribution, resulting in a significant under-reporting of success in cross-platform newsbrand campaigns.

Print activity also had a longer lead time than digital, again making it harder to attribute directly.

Emma Pipe, Senior Commercial Insight Manager at News UK, said: “We’ve long known that newsbrands in general, and print in particular, make a valuable contribution to upper- and mid-funnel marketing activity.

“This has tended to make their impact harder to measure when using standard tools but today’s research really highlights the scale of that underreporting.

“Medialab’s insight suggests that brands and agencies are massively underestimating the power of newsbrands in terms of driving commercial actions and that standard last click attribution models are heavily biased towards digital CTA media.

“Accurate attribution is only going to become harder with the disappearance of third party cookies – that makes understanding the real value of premium media even more important.”

Anthony Pey, Head of Marketing Effectiveness, Medialab, said: “It was great to partner with News UK to unlock the true performance and uplift that this inventory had on clients’ KPIs.

“We are strong believers in using different measurement techniques to interrogate the impact different marketing channels have on our clients’ businesses.

“The uplifts from this campaign were clear when we looked away from linear-based attribution, and instead across the wider consumer journey.”