Advertisers using News International’s Times website have seen significant lifts in user engagement and brand recall, according to the results of a three-month qualitative and quantitative study by the publisher.
The findings are based upon a three month study conducted by research firm Promise.
The study compared user behaviour on the paid for Times, an unidentified free to access quality news site and an online portal.
The study found that both brand and message recall were 21% and 18% higher respectively on the Times site as opposed to free sites.
The study attributed the uplift in brand recall to Times’s paying subscribers being more engaged.
This in turn lead to them harbouring higher expectations from the publication and being more receptive toward ad content on the site as a result.
Alex Hole, digital director of News International, said: “This research shows that The Times website offers clients a premium environment for their advertising and that brands that advertise have a higher perceived value”.
Critics point out however that the anonymity of the other studied news sites makes accurate comparison impossible.
The research comprised responses from 1,000 subscribers and 900 non subscribers of The Times website between October 2010 and January 2011.
The research explored reactions to three types of online environments – paid-for (The Times), a free-to-access quality news site, and an online portal.
Findings from the study are currently being presented to media agencies.