Consumers getting savvy about branded content: Google study
By Digital News Asia November 16, 2015
- New Google-IPG study looks at what works with branded content
- Marketers should be thoughtful about where their content lives
CONSUMERS have a savvy point of view when it comes to branded content – they realise it is part of an overall marketing strategy, but see it as distinctly different from standard video ads, according to a new study by Google Inc.
Consumers view branded content as providing more consumer-centric information, as opposed to brand-centric. They also see branded content as more stimulating and providing more depth than traditional video ads.
The study by Google, in conjunction with the IPG Media Lab, a division of IPG Mediabrands, defines ‘branded content’ as content that lives on its own, produced by and for the brand, as opposed to content produced by someone else the brand affixes itself to.
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With the increased emphasis on cross-screen viewing, and digital at the core of brand communications, branded content has become a core part of many brand campaigns, IPG Media Lab said in a statement.
The closed study set out to assess how branded content is perceived in different parts of the world and how this translates into branding effectiveness, to understand consumer perceptions and to compare the effectiveness of branded content and video advertising.
It surveyed 14,780 consumers and looked at 50 brands across 19 verticals in 10 countries, including Malaysia and Thailand. The findings were released in a report titled Deconstructing Branded Content: The Global Guide To What Works.
“Branded content, in the right context, is a great way for brands to engage with their customers,” said Google vice president of Global Agency Sales & Services Torrence Boone.
“We see examples of this on YouTube every day, with more brands creating original content like how-to videos and tutorials, or collaborating with a YouTube creator to reach their audience.
“This research from IPG Media Lab and Google gives marketers some insights into the best ways to incorporate branded content into an overall campaign,” he added.
Contrary to what marketers might think, the entertainment factor in branded content is simply table stakes, according to the study.
Providing content that is trustworthy and informative, while staying authentic to the brand, is much more important for building brand metrics, it added.
Marketers should be thoughtful about where their content lives. The same piece of branded content performs very differently depending on the website on which it appears.
In other words, the website has a halo effect on the brand, IPG Media Lab said.
Consumers know the difference
“Our data indicates there are clear best practices marketers can take advantage of when creating and deploying branded content,” said IPG Media Lab vice president of Consumer Research Strategy Kara Manatt.
“Naturally, marketers spend more time and budget creating this custom content, so having these guidelines based on improving brand perceptions and driving purchase intent is invaluable,” she added.
The study showed that consumers understood that branded content is part of brands’ advertising strategies.
However, perceptions varied by country. Consumers in the Middle East were least discerning about branded content, whereas countries such as Portugal, Thailand, Chile and Poland were the most.
While consumers show similar levels of trust in branded content and standard video ads, branded content is clearly viewed differently – more entertaining, uplifting, educational, novel and exciting.
And while the study found that, on average, branded content increases brand favourability by +14% and purchase intent by +9%, the findings go much further by showing how brands can optimise based on:
- Level of quality: High quality content led to +10% greater increase in purchase intent compared with low, indicating it is worth investing the extra time and effort during the curation phase.
- Type of content: Providing trustworthy information was a much stronger driver of effectiveness than other commonly perceived drivers, such as originality and entertainment.
- Brand mentions: While videos with higher levels of branding were more likely to come across as trying to ‘sell a product,’ trust in the information conveyed was the same. Impact on brand metrics was also greater, particularly for high consideration categories, such as auto and finance, where purchase intent was over four times higher.
- Location of content: Premium sites can have a halo effect on preference and intent. The more consumers liked the site, the greater the impact the branded content had on brand KPIs (key performance indicators).
For the full report, click here. Click on the infographic below to enlarge.
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