This year, Quartz surveyed 1,357 executives in 97 countries and 31 industries. Some 50% of respondents were C-level executives.
Mia Mabanta, Quartz’s director of product marketing, told Publishers Daily that executives are an interesting demographic to study because they are “by nature strapped for time. This has created an even greater desire for high-quality experiences that are delivered efficiently,” she said.
Mabanta said the survey made it clear that mobile is "becoming more and more dominant." In the 2014 study, 41% of the executives surveyed said they consumed the news primarily on mobile devices. This year, that number has risen to nearly 60%.
Awareness of mobile ads has also grown: 40% of executives report that the last ad they remember interacting with or seeing was on mobile. In Quartz’s 2014 study, that number was 18%.
Interestingly, October was the first month ever when mobile and tablet Web page views exceeded the number of views from desktop and laptop computers, according to Web analytics firm StatCounter.
Executives are also open to advertising, especially if they find it valuable. Eighty-four percent of executives are open to content from brands, as long as it is high-quality and clearly labeled. Seventy-four percent found the last piece of sponsored content they read interesting, informative and valuable.
Mabanta said this is most likely due to the fact that executives recognize brands have deep expertise in their respective industries. Eighty-five percent of those surveyed said sponsored content with industry analysis would interest them.
While publishers are investing heavily in video these days, executives are twice as likely to get news from email than video. Nine out of 10 executives subscribe to an email newsletter. But executives are selective about what they are subscribing to -- 89% notice the source of the links they click, and 55% of executives click links because they trust the news brand.She added the popularity of newsletters with executives is tied to their busy schedules, as well as the “consistent experience” of emails and newsletters and the value they extract from it.
Executives are much more likely to intentionally interact with sponsored content than pre-roll or interstitials, the study found. When asked when was the last time the respondent had interacted with an ad on purpose, 33% said that ad was an article produced by a brand, compared to 29% who said a display ad, 17% who said a video produced by a brand and 8% who said pre-roll video and interstitials.
Executives did not respond well to ads that interrupted them — 28% found auto-play audio or video ads the “least effective” type of digital advertising.
The study also looked at executives' news consumption habits in different types of business. For example, media executives were more likely to get news from social media, especially from Twitter; 52% of media executives get their news from Twitter compared to 34% of finance executives, for example.“What that speaks to is to really pay attention to the nuances between your different readers — not just take trends at face value but to really understand what those deeper habits are,” she said.