What Consumers Want From Branded Content

December 23, 2016

This article is included in these additional categories:

Brand Loyalty & Purchase Habits | Content Marketing | Creative & Formats | Digital | Personalization

Consumers prefer branded content that informs (40%) and educates (28%) rather than entertains (17%) or inspires (11%) them, according to a study [download page] from OneSpot and the Marketing Insider Group, which surveyed almost 1,600 adults who at least sometimes consume branded content.

The preference for content that informs and educates brings to mind separate research indicating that how-to and instructional videos are consumers’ preferred type of brand video to watch. The results appear to stand in contrast, however, with a broad AOL study that found consumers’ primary motivation for engaging with online content to be inspiration. In that case, though, inspiration referred to consumers’ search for new ideas and desire to try something new, as opposed to brands inspiring consumers.

Returning to the OneSpot and Marketing Insider Group study, the results demonstrate that quality is the most important characteristic of branded content for respondents, with upwards of 8 in 10 considering it at least somewhat important. Relevance and channel (“available where I need it”) are of relatively equal importance, cited by almost 8 in 10.

Interestingly, brand familiarity ranks as being of lesser importance – though it’s a more powerful force among executives consuming content. And while attractiveness of the content is relatively low in the rankings, it’s considered important by 7 in 10 consumers. That’s worth remembering in light of recent study results suggesting that in the US more than 6 in 10 consumers judge companies based on the design quality of their marketing materials. Separate survey research has also found almost 4 in 10 respondents saying they would stop engaging with content altogether if the content were unattractive in its layout or imagery.

Keying in on content relevance, the OneSpot and Marketing Insider Group study notes that almost half or more consumers (depending on the category in question) feel that it’s important to get content personalization right. Many agreed that personally relevant branded content improves how they feel about the brand, makes them more interested in the brand’s products and services, increases their intent to purchase from the brand, and lifts their likelihood to recommend the brand.

About the Data: The study was fielded in October 2016 among 1,582 adults in the US who reported consuming branded content Sometimes, Frequently or Very Frequently.

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