Two-thirds of consumers prefer content marketing to educate and inform them about a subject and product, and 81 per cent believe that quality is a somewhat or very important characteristic for branded content, according to a new study published by OneSpot and Marketing Insider Group.
More than 1,500 consumers in the US were surveyed to better understand how personalised content has shaped their expectations and preferences for the written content and videos that they consume across the Internet. The study found that almost half of consumers will not even read any branded content if it is not tailored towards their particular interests, which suggests that marketers must focus on personalisation to reach a larger target audience.
While social sites and apps have soared in popularity in recent years, desktop websites are still one of the primary digital channels used by consumers to access and consume content marketing. Fifty-one per cent picked desktop websites as one of their top two channels, which puts this option level with social sites and mobile apps (51 per cent) and way ahead of email (26 per cent), mobile and tablet (18 per cent) and other (three per cent).
When it comes to characteristics that consumers like to see in their branded content, quality came top of the charts, with 42 per cent claiming that it is very important and a further 39 per cent saying that it is somewhat important. Relevance was next with 36 per cent and 42 per cent, and channel came in third with 37 per cent and 40 per cent.
Channel types have become more important for consumers, as 50 per cent said that Facebook is their main outlet for discovering branded content. However, other social sites did not fare as well, and email (29 per cent), search (29 per cent), YouTube (26 per cent), advertising (21 per cent), advertorial/native (20 per cent) and word of mouth (12 per cent) all featured in the top seven channels for content.
Finally, consumers value education over entertainment for content, as 66 per cent want to be informed or learn something new when reading or viewing an article or video. Surprisingly, just 17 per cent said that entertainment is their most valued factor, and only 11 per cent like to be inspired first and foremost. This suggests that consumers often prefer to use content to help them solve a brand problem.