Consumer Perceptions of Branded Content: Trusted Channels and Leading Influencers

July 16, 2015

AcquityGroup-Consumer-Trust-Brand-Content-by-Channel-July2015Consumers are more likely to trust brand content found in a print newspaper and on TV than in a variety of social platforms including Instagram, Twitter or blogs, according to results from an Acquity Group survey [download page]. Even so, social does have its place, as Facebook beats all other channels in brand content trust, per the study.

That’s largely the result of younger respondents, with the 18-22 (29%) and 23-30 (32%) age brackets about twice as likely as Baby Boomers (52-68; 16%) to give Facebook the top rank for brand content trust. Print, not surprisingly, gets the vote among older consumers.

Traditional media’s continued influences comes to the fore when looking at drivers of new product or service trials. In fact, 57% of respondents reported having tried a new product or service as a result of a campaign or ad on TV, far ahead of print magazines or newspapers (38%) and social media (34%). TV was also a top paid medium in a recent Nielsen study examining drivers of new product awareness.

Again, though, there are generational divides at play. While TV was the top medium influencing new product and service trials for each age group in the Acquity Group survey, it was rivaled by social media among 18-30-year-olds, for whom print is a lesser influence. Unsurprisingly, print is a greater influence than social media for older Americans (particularly those older than 50), as is direct mail.

The results support findings from a recent MarketingCharts study on advertising influence. That report found a significant increase in purchase influence ascribed to social media ads among youth, though TV ads topped social in each generation. Print and direct mail were also found to hold significant sway among older Americans. (The study – which examines attention to advertisers and purchase influence trends across 16 channels, by demographic group – is available for purchase here.)

Meanwhile, the Acquity Group study finds that respondents are considerably more likely to view on social media a link sent directly to them by a friend or family member than a post by a favorite brand. (Recommendations from family and friends continue to hold sway…) As for the types of content that consumers are most likely to share with their network? The pervasive “funny video” is top of the heap, echoing earlier research, although it’s closely followed by a video that spreads awareness for a cause. By comparison, respondents report being far less likely to share a video that evokes negative emotions or a link to a product they’re excited to have just purchased.

The report notes that brand matters in social amplification: 63% of respondents said that the brand or organization producing the content is a factor they take into account when deciding to share content such as a blog post, video or link with their social network.

About the Data: The study from Acquity Group – part of Accenture Interactive – is based on a survey of 2,035 consumers aged 18 and older from across the US.

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