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News UK study finds tablet ads and content ‘as memorable’ as print for Times readers

A neuroscience-based research study conducted by News UK’s commercial arm has found that print and tablet ads and content deliver the same levels of engagement and memorability as print amongst consumers of The Times.

The independent project was designed to understand how people consume content and advertising in print and on tablet.

The study revealed that while there are some minor physical differences in how people access newspaper content on different platforms, if it is presented consistently, the way they process the information and what they take out is similar across both content and advertising.

The research discovered that tablets generate more immediate visual attention, while print is a ‘slower burn’ medium, eliciting stronger levels of emotional intensity. However, both deliver the same levels of memory encoding – the first step to creating a new memory –which was consistent across print and tablet.

According the results of the study, tablet ads in newspapers are seen for a shorter period of time than print ads (due to their positioning away from competing ads), but still deliver the same levels of memorability. The study also found that the position on the page - right versus left - had no impact on attention levels.

Abba Newbery, director of ad strategy for News UK Commercial, said the research suggests that news brands should charge the same for tablet and print advertising.

“This research challenges the common held belief in our industry that people behave differently based on which platform they are consuming content. What it actually shows is that behaviour is driven by content and not platform. If memory encoding for ads on print and tablet are the same despite people spending shorter time on tablet ads then maybe news brands should be charging the same?”

The research was conducted on behalf of News UK by neuroscience research companies, Neuro Insight and Decode Implicit Marketing.

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