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November 30, 2010

Study shows shared news means more

Halo effect of social media approval

POWNAR comprised a global online study carried out on behalf of CNN by Ipsos OTX MediaCT, together with semiotic analysis, biometric testing and news tracking to demonstrate that shared news drives global uplifts in brand metrics. The Ipsos OTX MediaCT component of the study was unique in using an innovative, multi-stage approach to recreate the effect of sharing news content in a survey environment.

“The commerciality of the social media space is fast becoming apparent and this study means that for the first time, we are able to substantiate the value of shared news from an advertising perspective”, comments Didier Mormesse, Senior Vice President, Ad Sales Research, Development & Audience Insight at CNN International.

Through biometrics and eye-tracking techniques, POWNAR also aimed to measure emotional engagement associated with online news sharing. The results showed a “halo effect” of substantially higher engagement with “recommended” news content and embedded advertising, as opposed to “randomly” consumed content and advertising.

The overall uplift for brands who advertise around stories recommended in social media is significant. Data from the survey carried out for CNN by Ipsos OTX MediaCT showed that people who received news content from a friend or associate via social media were 19% more likely to recommend the brand that advertised around that story to others, and 27% more likely to favour that brand themselves.

More specifically, the survey included several advertiser case studies including one where a major European tourism board reported notably stronger campaign cut-through with aided ad re-call up 50% and brand favourability up 32% after advertising around news that was shared in social media.

The results from POWNAR also showed that video pre-roll advertising had overall a superior branding effect when appearing around news content shared in social media, in comparison to display banner advertising.

“Knowing the typology of shared content is significant as the information could be used by agencies as a guideline to mould creative and therefore make their advertising more effective to consumers”, added Mormesse.

What makes news “shareable”?
POWNAR identified a three tiered semiotic wheel that guides sharing patterns; comprising the three types of codes of narrative, theme and underlying message. For narrative, 65% of shared content comprises ongoing stories, 19% comprises breaking news and 16% of content falls into the “quirky or funny” category. In terms of theme, news recommendation is driven by content that is visually spectacular, stories about science and technology, human interest stories and money-related stories. The majority of stories being shared carry an underlying message of the “sharer” imparting knowledge.

Who is doing the sharing?
The 80/20 rule applies to the findings. 27% of all sharers* account for 87% of all news stories shared. Data from the survey carried out for CNN by Ipsos OTX MediaCT also showed that the average global user shares 13 stories per week and receives 26 stories through shared social media links or emails.

Which platforms dominate?
In peer-to-peer communication, 43% of news sharing comes from social media networks and tools e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, followed by email (30%), SMS (15%) and IM (12%).

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Mark Henry
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