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Trust in news publishers extends to advertising brands, IAB survey finds

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Advertising on news content can be beneficial to a brand’s image, according to a new IAB report, The News Trust Halo: How Advertising in News Benefits Brands.

84% of consumers surveyed for the report said that their trust levels for brands either increases or stays neutral when they see advertisements alongside news. The sentiment holds across different types of news stories whether they are entertaining, serious or opinionated.

Trust levels are much higher among professionals. There can be as much as a 26% lift in trustworthiness among executives compared to general consumers.

The survey covers 2,029 US consumers aged between 18-54 years. 3 out of 4 general consumers follow national/international news weekly. The figure rises to 9 out of 10 among executives. On average the respondents follow four news sources and 7 in 10 (8 in 10 among executives) find their chosen news sources trustworthy. 

This trust transfers to brands advertising on such publications (the halo effect). It was seen that advertising on news content can increase consumer trust by up to 6%. 

We asked respondents how advertising within news would impact their trust in different brand product/service categories. The impact was positive. This is the News Trust Halo.

The News Trust Halo: How Advertising in News Benefits Brands

Drives positive consumer action

The findings allay the fear of advertisers who are reluctant to place ads beside news stories like it happened earlier this year when keyword blacklists were implemented on online content connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was an added blow to publishers who were already suffering from pandemic induced declines in revenue. Newsworks estimated that news publishers were set to lose around £50M in online ads from April to July, due to brands’ overzealous use of keyword blocking on any content related to Covid-19 – positive, negative and educational.

The assumption that news negatively impacts other brand attributes is incorrect. Perceptions of the advertised brand see an increase when ads appear in preferred news sources and adjacent to news topics of interest. These lifts are virtually the same regardless of the specific news topic.

The News Trust Halo: How Advertising in News Benefits Brands

It drives positive consumer action as well. Among consumers who see a brand advertising on their favorite news outlet: 

  • 45% are more likely to visit the brand’s website
  • 43% would consider buying from the brand
  • 39% are comfortable recommending the brand

“News saves lives and news builds brands”

“Never has trusted news been more important in our society,” says David Cohen, CEO, IAB. “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.

“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.

David Cohen, CEO, IAB

Executive summary of the survey can be downloaded from IAB:
The News Trust Halo: How Advertising in News Benefits Brands