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Digital adverts in era of fake news: impact and performance

In an era dominated by fake news and increased focus on campaign effectiveness, the World Media Group (WMG) commissioned a report to explore whether adverts seen on trusted media websites were viewed more attentively by consumers.

The WMG brands comprise The Washington Post, Bloomberg Media, The Economist, Forbes, Fortune, National Geographic, Newsweek, The New York Times, TIME and The Wall Street Journal.

The overall aim of the analysis was to identify whether digital ad campaigns that appear in respected premium media brands – that invest in both quality journalism and quality campaign delivery – outperform industry benchmarks.

The results revealed that ad campaigns across the WMG inventory outperformed every single benchmark for that time period. Attention and viewability rates saw lifts up to 92% in some instances.

The analysis identifies a significant performance uplift for WMG inventory across all forms of digital advertising compared to Moat’s Q3 benchmarks (see full table below). However, the greatest effect is seen for desktop video and mobile advertising:

Desktop video

Desktop videos seen on WMG inventory achieve viewability rates 21% higher than average against the industry standard for viewability (50% viewable for 2 seconds). Compared to the popular agency standard, it achieved a staggering 92% uplift. Consumer attention to videos seen on WMG titles was also high, with completion rates coming in 86% higher compared to the Moat Q3 benchmarks on one measure.

Mobile display

When it comes to earning customer attention on mobile, the WMG mobile inventory also fares very highly. Compared to Moat’s Q3 benchmarks, it achieved viewability rates 40% higher, engaged consumers for 12% longer and encouraged 43% more interactions.

Matt McAllester, Global Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek, a member of the WMG, explains: “Readers across all World Media Group titles have always trusted, valued and engaged with the high quality content we provide – and that trust is more important than ever when ‘fake news’ is, itself, making the headlines. The analysis results have validated the link between well written, properly

researched journalism and the ‘halo effect’ brands experience when their ads are seen alongside it.”

These prestigious titles have received over 1000 major journalism awards, including 190 Pulitzer Prizes, between them.

Emma Winchurch-Beale, International Sales Director at The Washington Post and President at the World Media Group, comments: “Marc Pritchard of P&G has put campaign effectiveness into the spotlight this year, with his headline-grabbing comments about only accepting industry-standard-validated viewability for media transacting.

“Advertisers should push for viewability rates that are even higher than this and should be confident their ads appear in trusted environments. We believe our analysis shows that premium media brands offer this and drive greater value for advertisers.”

The independent study was carried out by SaaS analytics and measurement company Moat. Altogether, WMG prestigious titles have received over 1000 major journalism awards, including 190 Pulitzer Prizes.

As well as offering award-winning journalism, WMG members also provide high-tech techniques for optimising ad viewability and device-agnostic solutions to ensure that ads are always viewed at the appropriate size.

(WMG, image by Blue Fountain Media)

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