Premium Environments Are 42 Percent More Cost Effective for Advertisers says GroupM


Group MPremium digital environments which consumers have a deeper relationship with are 42 percent more cost effective for advertisers, according to research from GroupM UK and Newsworks. The research lists a host of benefits for advertisers of buying placements from higher quality environments, giving support from the industry world to the claims publishers have been making for a long time. It could spark significant action too, as GroupM has pledged to work on ways to take the research into account in programmatic trading.

GroupM defines quality digital environments as websites where consumers have a deeper relationship or affinity for the brand, for example established news or sports brands. The study analysed 84 campaigns and over 398 million impressions to identify any benefits to advertisers of buying premium publishers’ inventory.

The research found placements in quality environments to be more cost effective as they tend to have higher levels of engagement and viewability than elsewhere.  GroupM says that ads in quality environments are 98 percent more likely to appear above the fold (meaning they can be seen without the user having to scroll down), and are 273 percent more likely to prompt a hover from the user. They are also 58 percent more likely to be 100 percent in view for at least five seconds, while the study found that 48 percent of measurable ads on the open exchange were never seen at all.

Ads in quality environments also leave more lasting and positive impression on those who saw the ad according to the study, with uplifts of +10.5 percent for brand awareness, +19.2 percent for ad recall, +9.7 percent for brand perception and +10.3 percent for recommendation intent.

This is by no means the first study to tout the benefits of premium digital environments, but the fact that its coming from an agency rather than a media owner is interesting. GroupM has no obvious vested interest in promoting quality environments, and as an agency has the power to enact change by investing more in high quality publishers.

Indeed GroupM has pledged to do this, saying it will build “an industry-wide quality exposure factor for programmatic buying systems”. This could be very good news to publishers who have spent the last few years proclaiming the benefits of quality environments, potentially giving premium publications’ inventory preferential treatment by recognising its comparative cost effectiveness.

GroupM UK’s managing director of digital trading Robin O’Neill said that while many already assumed quality environments had benefits, this research makes those assumptions actionable by quantifying exactly what those benefits are. “This study provides conclusive evidence that when it comes to ad environments, not all digital is equal and advertisers stand to benefit hugely from seeking quality online contexts,” he said.

Newsworks’ CEO Vanessa Clifford meanwhile went even further, arguing that the evidence was great enough to support the idea of high-quality placements being classed separately from other forms of digital advertising. “For years now, digital advertising has been used as a catch-all term in our industry, encompassing a myriad range of contexts. Now we have the insight to differentiate the value of a high-quality placements – such as on a newsbrand website – from general free browsing,” she said.


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