Trusted News Content Drives Higher Consumer Engagement

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With an upcoming Presidential election people are leaning in more than ever in news content. They look for it, read it, and try their best to keep up with it. Yet some advertisers pause before leveraging the news space for their marketing campaigns. We decided to uncover what consumers really think, and what this means for advertisers in today’s digital age.

This spring, Verizon Media partnered with Insights Now to conduct an online survey of over 2,000 U.S. consumers to determine their attitudes, preferences, and behaviors related to news consumption. The research found that there is a huge opportunity for brands to engage with consumers in the news space. 

Consumer engagement is up

Consumers are more engaged with news content today than they were a couple of years ago.  In comparison to 2017, 41% of consumers surveyed expressed that they’re getting more news coverage now. This is supported by a Comscore finding showing a 28% increase — more than one quarter — in time spent on general news sites, in that same time frame.

Why is engagement up? Consumers are visiting news sites to connect. 61% report using news to stay informed locally, 33% check the news to know what everyone is talking about, and 25% want to stay up-to-date to keep up with social conversations. Half of consumers are choosing their favorite news sources based on credibility. 

The opportunity for brands

Increased consumer engagement around credible news sites presents a great opportunity for brands to get involved, relate to consumers, and generate positive sentiment. 

The value of news content isn’t lost to brands. Earlier this year, Advertiser Perceptions found that the majority (58%) of advertisers are already incorporating news into their media plans. Advertisers reported benefits such as the ability to target affluent, higher-income audiences (50%), a higher concentration of consumers for their products (49%), and that news has higher audience engagement than other content (48%).

Some advertisers still have reservations. Advertiser Perceptions also found that 42% of advertisers avoid advertising alongside news content because of unpredictable content (45%) and/or they’re worried about being seen alongside news that is too heavy (41%). 

Despite these concerns, the vast majority of consumers (90%) say heavy news does not negatively impact their perception of the brands that align with the content. Furthermore, it’s not news that is eroding brand favorability — it’s offensive content. Almost 40% of consumers would have a negative perception of a brand that advertises near offensive content. Verizon Media’s research found that news sites are not the dominant source of offensive content, but rather user-generated posts on social media, citing Facebook (59%), Twitter (55%), and Snapchat (48%) as the platforms where they encounter offensive content on a weekly basis. This leaves reputable news sites as an excellent option for those concerned with brand safety.

Key takeaways

The findings show that consumers have been increasingly turning to trusted news sources. If you have been avoiding or not thinking about leveraging premium news content in your marketing mix, you’re missing an opportunity to connect with users who are increasingly staying informed and who feel more favorable towards advertisers on trusted news sites. 

Publishers and DSPs that offer news content can help advertisers feel more confident in marketing across this type of media by putting technologies in place to deliver greater transparency and control, and minimize risks. This includes third-party blocking, verification, and targeting tools for even greater security and brand safety. In doing so, media providers ensure brand integrity and can drive greater interest among advertisers in trusted news content. 

Furthermore, we found that 88% of our news readers associate “trust” with our Verizon Media news properties, such as HuffPost and Yahoo News.1 Align your brand with premium content environments that earn consumer trust and help your message stand out. Connect with your audience in the moments they’re connecting with the world around them. Learn more about what drives users to our news sites.

Find Verizon Media at Advertising Week New York this year: see event schedule.


1 Verizon Media, Trust & Content Study, 2019

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