Consumers are engaging with significantly more branded content on their smartphones compared to desktop and tablet, according to a new report by tech platform provider Polar. The report recommended that publishers should opt for a “mobile first” strategy when optimising their brand content experiences.
Polar aggregated the performance of branded content programmes on its platform from the past 12 months, which covered premium publishers such as AOL, Discovery Channel, The Economist and the Los Angeles Times. It found that users spent an average of 132 seconds with each piece of branded content, which is defined as the landing page or post-click destination within a publisher’s environment, with smartphones being the clear leader for consumption.
The report noted: “Several factors can be attributed to the smartphone’s dominance in time spent. The linear path of the reader ensures there are less distractions and less chances to click away from the sponsored content. As well, content is increasingly tailor-made for the format.”
Reach and engagement
In addition, the click-through rate on smartphones was 127 per cent higher than that of other channels, which indicates that advertisers now have a “big opportunity” to reach more people on mobile. The focus on mobile is now becoming a common trend in SEO and advertising, with Google making concerted efforts to push content tailored for smaller devices.
When looking at branded content by publisher vertical, finance saw the most engagement with a substantial 323-second average, which was almost twice as much as the health (189 seconds) and special interest (176 seconds) sectors. Polar went into further detail about content campaigns, revealing that “advertisers that align closely with the publisher’s core audience and editorial nature are seeing significantly greater engagement with branded content.”
The report also found that audiences in Australia and the UK are currently consuming more branded content for longer periods of time compared to other regions, while countries outside of the US and Canada will continue to see a rise in engagement. Polar concluded that “there is little doubt that sponsored content is cemented as a consistent revenue source for the largest publishers in North America, Europe and Australia.”