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Hearst UK unveils new research showing how its content affects and influences positivity in consumers

Hearst UK unveils new research showing how its content affects and influences positivity in consumers

Hearst UK, has unveiled research that shows individual interactions with its content (across digital, social and print) and how a respondent’s positivity levels are affected. 82% of its audience immediately experienced an uplift in positive feeling following an individual interaction with Hearst UK’s magazine media content. 

Conducted in partnership with Bournemouth University, the study used the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) methodology, and captures in real time and real life how print, online and social media magazine content affects consumers positivity. 

ESM has been extensively used for measuring mood variations across situations and is often regarded as the ‘gold standard’ in measuring mood variation in positive psychology. Using ESM allowed feedback from participants in the study to be gathered in real time, before and immediately after engaging with Hearst UK content using an app-based methodology.  

The app-based methodology ‘pinged’ or prompted respondents at random times of the day, so that their feelings could be assessed when engaging in other activities compared to engaging with Hearst.  This ‘pinged’ scenario also allowed for understanding the lasting effect of prior engagement with Hearst content.  It also removed any lab-tested or claimed response bias.     

Over a three-week period, 36,000 individual pieces of feedback and data were collected. 

More findings from the study include:  

  • 79% of respondents felt higher levels of enthusiasm
  • 76% felt higher levels of excitement and determination
  • 73% saw their happiness levels uplift after engaging with Hearst UK content  
  • On average, respondents felt more positive across three feelings after engaging with Hearst UK content  
  • 83% of positively uplifted people take immediate action (for example by talking to others or investigating what they’ve read further) after engaging with Hearst UK content 
  • Feelings of positivity generated by Hearst UK content are still enhanced up to 24 hours after engaging  
  • Levels of positivity grew stronger over time, with the respondents positivity levels rising on average by 29% from the start of the study to the end. Furthermore, when it came to respondents classed as ‘frequent engagers,’ this was even higher, with positivity levels rising to 67% by the end of the study

Faye Turner, Head of Commercial Strategy & Insight, Hearst UK said: “The research shows that when in a positive state of mind, consumers have a greater interest in brands and advertising delivering tangible results in terms of engagement and purchasing behaviour. This new research will enable us to offer solutions for clients to help better serve their needs.”  

Melanie Gray, Head of the Communication and Journalism Department at Bournemouth University said:  “We took a novel research approach to get ‘in the moment’ feedback from audiences engaging with media content. This allowed readers to give their immediate reflections and offer an honest appraisal of the mood the articles and content created. We were really struck by the relationship between positive stories and positive feelings, which developed as a core thread of this research with a very large sample size. It allows us to say, with confidence, that positive storytelling can have positive benefits to your mood.” 

About the study: 

This ESM study was conducted over a three week period between 6th November-28th December 2020.  

It was the largest study of its kind tracking media engagement and levels of positivity, involving 1,900 surveys and almost 36,000 individual data points assessing respondents’ positivity levels over a three week period. The number of individuals involved in the study was 156, the largest ESM study of its kind.   Eight Hearst UK brands were included in the study – Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, Good Housekeeping, Digital Spy, Cosmopolitan and House Beautiful.