All The News That's, Well, Fit: Nielsen Finds Little Negative Impact


News, even politically charged or “negative” coverage, has little negative impact on brands advertising adjacent to it on a publishers’ website. That’s the conclusion of a Nielsen study released this morning by big newspaper and website publisher News Corp

The study, “Advertising With News: Examining The Impact of Consumer Brand Perception & Purchase Intent,” utilized the Nielsen Media Lab to survey an online panel of 5,833 persons ages 18 to 64, utilizing a method that replicates the experience of reading a website article. Each article had two display ads (a 728x90 and a 250x300 banner) adjacent to it. Following the exposure, respondents answered up to 20 questions that included standard ad effectiveness as well as custom metrics queries based on the sites and ads.

Overall news content averaged just a 0.5% negative impact on the advertisers appearing adjacent to it. Political news averaged a 0.7% negative impact, while “negative news” averaged only a 0.3% negative impact. 

That was well within the range of other forms of website content (see chart).

“For some marketers, today’s political climate or catastrophes can make the news space seem like a perilous space to navigate,” the report concludes, adding: “However, it’s important to remember that millions of consumers are reading or watching news every day, and they see tremendous value in staying engaged and informed. As the Nielsen data shows, this value to consumers drives what marketers seek most — positive connections with consumers that ultimately lead to sales. There will always be extreme news content to avoid that is contextual to a brand (e.g. an airline and a plane crash), which is why it is key for brands to find a partner that can pair their messaging with content that doesn’t harm their brand and ultimately drives results. But, as the results indicate, even some perceived negative content (e.g. politics) does not negatively affect consumer brand perception or even purchase intent.”


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