Consumers engage with branded content for longer when the sponsored organisation is mentioned only one or two times later in an article or blog piece, according to new research from Pressboard.
After assessing over 300 forms of brand content, Pressboard found that overt promotion is likely to deter readers from reading an entire article. When the sponsor was mentioned during the first 100 words, the average reading time was just over 56 seconds, but this increased to 68.1 seconds when it was mentioned after 300 words.
While it is better to employ brand mentions sparingly, waiting too long can also be detrimental to engagement. When a piece mentions a brand for the first time after 600 words, reading time actually dips to 66.3 seconds.
It seems the best time for a first mention is between 300 words and 600 words, as readers will consume around 80% of an article with this placement, compared to just 72% when a sponsor is included within the first 100 words. The amount of time consumers spend scrolling through a piece is also maximised with the 300 to 600 word placement.
Overall, using brand mentions sparingly and strategically is the best course of action to pursue, as is being transparent but not overselling sponsored involvement.
“This is consistent with most marketers’ expectations,” Pressboard noted in the study. “If a reader feels that the focus of the article is more on your brand than on the story you’re telling, they’re less likely to engage with it.”