Placing digital advertising in a relevant editorial context can significantly increase the attention it receives, according to new research from News UK and attention technology company Lumen Research.

In the research, which analysed 980,000 impressions on The Sun’s website, Lumen calculated that putting an ad in a relevant editorial context can increase attention on that ad by 31%, from 25 minutes per 1,000 impressions to 33 minutes. The average viewing time for the ad also increased by 28%, from 1.8 seconds to 2.3 seconds.

The research compared advertising in a relevant editorial context – for example an ad for a Sports TV package placed against sports-related content – non-relevant context and a branded context, where the ad appeared against relevant sponsored content. The branded context improved attention per 1,000 impressions by 20% (25 seconds vs 30 seconds) and average viewing time by 11.1% (1.8 seconds vs 2 seconds).

The research further underlines the importance of editorial context in driving enhanced advertising value, supporting earlier work by Newsworks which found that consumers are 50% more likely to engage with advertising found in a quality environment and that long-term memory encoding is 42% more efficient on premium sites than on social media.

Ben Walmsley, Commercial Director of Publishing at News UK, said: “This underlines what we know instinctively to be true, that advertising performs better when placed against content that is relevant to it. It’s also further evidence of the broader story that editorial context more generally is a hugely powerful driver of attention – premium environments drive better engagement and contextual relevance within that environment further enhances attention.

This just shows that despite the influx of brand new publisher types that we’re seeing enter the space, the more traditional publisher types that we know and love still provide huge benefits for brands.

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