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Study: advertisements on premium websites 29% more effective than on social media

by on 9th February 2018

A study from Newsworks and the Association for Online Publishing has found that advertisements on premium websites are viewed 17% longer and attract 29% more engagement than advertisements on social media websites.

The study is one of a number over the last few years which question the commercial viability of organic or paid social media activity – it also comes in the midst of Procter and Gamble’s decision last year to cut $140 million of digital spending.

Procter and Gamble, which maintains a significant media spend of $2.4 billion, also announced in 2016 it was moving from ads that target consumers directly on Facebook, stating the practice showed ‘limited effectiveness.’

This latest study from Newsworks and the Association for Online Publishing relied on a sample size of 139 participants aged between 18 and 60. Participants’ brain responses were measured throughout a three stage approach, which included viewing advertisements in different environments, to determine levels of response to each advertisement in context.

The idea was to explain the impact of advertisements from a physiological perspective and found that advertisements in a premium context generate higher levels of ‘left-brain encoding’ (42% higher) than the same advertisements placed on social media websites.

Newsworks also argues that left-brain encoding is key to decision-making and purchase intent.

A similar study was undertaken by research firm Neuro-Insight in 2017.

In that study, Neuro-Insight analysed content from 4 large publishers including The Atlantic, Forbes, Time and Conde Nast, and discovered subjects of the study were 16% more likely to find posts relevant or engaging than similar content on social media websites.

The Neuro-Insight study relied on a sample size of 100, and concluded that advertisements served in the context of a premium website were more memorable – they had 19% more impact on the rational left side of the brain and 8% more impact on the emotional right side of the brain.

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