‘The News Trust Halo:’ Research shows newsbrands benefit advertisers

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A new study from the IAB has found that advertising in news is brand safe, increases trust, and drives consumers to take action. 

The takeaways:
  • 84% of consumers surveyed said their trust levels for brands either increases or stays neutral when they see ads alongside news. This is regardless of the sentiment or topic of the news story.
  • The ‘halo effect’ – where trust in a publication increases trust in the brands advertising on those publications – is still effective with news publishing. The study found that advertising on news content can increase consumer trust by up to 6%.
  • This ‘news trust halo’ drives action too. 45% of consumers are more likely to visit the website of a brand that they saw advertising on their favorite news outlet. A further 43% would consider buying from a brand.

These findings contravene a popular belief that consumers are put off by brands who advertise on negative or controversial content; something that is prevalent in news coverage.

  • This focus on brand safety has given rise to ‘keyword blocking’, where advertisers stop their adverts appearing next to content related to key terms and topics like Trump, terrorism, or even LBGTQ+ coverage.
  • Keyword blocking related to ‘coronavirus’ topics was projected to lose UK news publishers £50m in ad revenue earlier this year.
A powerful platform

“Never has trusted news been more important in our society. Over the past year we have seen significant growth in news consumption as we increasingly rely on news to keep us safe, connected, and informed,” said the IAB’s CEO David Cohen. “While historically some brands have avoided news due to negative association concerns, the study found that those concerns were unfounded.” 

“If a consumer sees an ad in a news outlet they deem legitimate, they are more likely to consider trying the brand, telling a friend about it, visiting the brand’s website, and ultimately finding that brand more trustworthy. News outlets provide a powerful platform to connect with consumers. Put simply, news saves lives and news builds brands.”

A turning point

Trust in the news has been under attack for the past few years. But the pandemic particularly has proved a turning point in the public’s perception.

  • A ‘World Without News’ survey from Newsworks showed that 66% of news consumers say they “appreciate and value journalism more since the global coronavirus pandemic began.”
  • This is particularly notable among young people. 77% of under 35’s now value the work of journalists more in providing reliable information and news.
  • IPA TouchPoints data released in September backs this up, recording a 9% increase in trust in national newsbrands during lockdown, despite declining levels of trust in media and advertising over the last few years.

The last word: These findings confirm what publishers have long suspected. Associated brands benefit from a good, trusted relationship between news publications and their audience. Now, they just have to convince advertisers.


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