Last week, comScore released the results of a research study that examined the branding effectiveness on digital display ads appearing on Digital Content Next sites, of which USA TODAY NETWORK is proudly a member, compared to non-member sites.
This study can be interpreted as a way of understanding the value of premium publishers versus all other publishers and, not surprisingly, the data point proved that the premium segment of publishers delivered significantly better branding results across a number of measures. You can find the entire study here.
While the outcome of the research might seem obvious -- certainly logical -- it completely validates and upholds what many of us throughout the industry (media owner, brand, media agencies and creative agencies) so passionately believe: That the trusted environment that we create through investments in journalism and journalists, technology, user experience, distribution and syndication is highly valuable for both readers and advertisers.
There is much talk in the industry about the need for a third option to the digital monoliths Facebook and Google, and I would argue that premium publishers with large and growing digital footprints become a very strong option for an advertiser's third dollar. (For instance, the USA TODAY NETWORK had 107MM UVs in June 2016 comScore, just a few million from surpassing Twitter in U.S. reach.)
It's a symbiotic relationship: If aligning with highly trusted sources of journalism information and entertainment is important to a brand, then partnering with premium publisher digital advertising businesses can help to drive growth for both. As reiterated by comScore's recent study, "the primary driver of this increased effectiveness is the halo effect that comes from the value of the contextual environment in which these ads are seen."
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