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IPG study correlates quality media with ad effectiveness

Newsguard filtered out thousands of dubious websites from IPG’s test campaign to focus exclusively on trustworthy news pages

A case study undertaken by ad agency IPG in conjunction with Newsguard, a tech firm responsible for ranking the credibility of online sources of information, has quantified the tangible benefits associated with responsible advertising.

The pairing saw Newsguard filter out thousands of dubious websites from IPG’s test campaign to focus exclusively on trustworthy news pages. The results were striking, with IPG’s effective costs per thousand impressions ranking 9% lower and a corresponding click-through rate 143% higher than a control campaign.

The power of trust

  • Quantifying the power of trustworthy associations to amplify campaigns, the case study claims to connect how the host directly impinges on the reach, efficiency and performance of ads.

  • A filtered list of 1,034 trusted US news sites were chosen by Newsguard to be added to IPG’s existing list of 1,675 news sites.

  • Newsguard-selected sites accounted for 19% of all impressions served, with cost per thousand impressions some 9% lower, while cost per reach was 81% more efficient than the overall list.

  • Overall viewability was comparable at 84% for both lists, but click-through rates were 143% higher among sites selected by Newsguard.

More than brand safety

  • With the onset of Covid-19 misinformation, advertisers have become acutely conscious of the potential for harm brought about by unintended associations.

  • This follows previous Newsguard research that found that over 4,000 brands including Pepsi, Starbucks, Pfizer, Comcast and Verizon had inadvertently funded Covid-19 misinformation websites during the pandemic.

  • Brands have been stuck between a rock and a hard place however, forced to choose between risking ad placements alongside questionable sources or choose blanket blocks on keywords such as ‘Black’ or ‘Gay’, cutting off credible news sites associated with those communities.

  • With Newsguard’s journalist-curated news credibility rankings, IPG believes advertisers can now step into a chaotic digital bear pit with confidence, reaping the benefits such as lower cost per thousand ad impressions in the process.

Responsible advertising for news methodology

  • Newsguard employed a team of journalists to manually rate thousands of news and information sources spanning the US and Europe, accounting for 95% of online current affairs engagement.

  • Assessments were conducted looking at nine criteria based on transparency and credibility to produce a 0-100 point-based trust scale or ‘nutrition label’, which is then adopted by Newsguard customers including BT, Microsoft and the World Health Organization.

  • Key credibility factors include whether news platforms avoid deceptive headlines, correct or clarify errors and differentiate between news and opinion.

  • Sites must also demonstrate transparency by labeling advertising, identifying authors and disclosing ownership and financing.

  • Any site ranked 60 or above received a green shield tick to prove its reliability, with anyone falling below this hit with a red exclamation mark shield to warn of its generally untrustworthy nature.

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