Brand Content Just as Trustworthy as Editorial Content

New research from Vibrant Media suggests that consumers are less cynical about branded content than previously assumed. Vibrant reports that in a survey of 1,000 Americans between ages 13 and 64, approximately 33 percent said they trust brand content, while a similar 35 percent reported they trust content from publications.

When it comes to finding information about a product, consumers tend to trust information from an advertiser itself. The study found that one in three consumers rate the advertiser’s own website as the most useful source of information after seeing a product—that’s five times the number who would go to articles written by journalists about the brand or product. Advertorials also ranked higher than articles written by journalists.

Consumers also reported strong receptivity to branded content, particularly images. Sixty-four percent stated they were receptive to brands’ images, and 57 percent were receptive to video. Forty-six percent stated they were receptive to articles written by brands.

Interestingly, consumers were least likely to respond to brands’ social media posts. Thirty percent of consumers say they are not receptive to brands’ social media posts, compared to 42 percent who are receptive to such content. But 44 percent said they were still receptive to online advertising like banner ads.

The findings align with earlier research on consumers’ eagerness to consume brand content. A WP Engine survey found that that the majority of US consumers want content from their favorite brands, and 46 percent read their favorite brands’ blogs.

The results suggest that firms’ increased spending on content marketing strategy is paying off.

“The findings have reassured us that publishers who offer branded content, or are considering doing so, are not compromising their relationship with consumers—as long as they do so responsibly,” said Craig Gooding, executive chairman and founder of Vibrant Media.

While consumers’ openness to branded content can open doors for brands, trust in branded content is fragile. Skyword earlier reported on just how quickly consumers will abandon branded content that disappoints or makes a poor first impression. Content that pitches too hard or includes unverifiable facts fosters doubt among consumers. When branded content is discovered through a friend or family member, it gains credibility.

This article originally appeared on Skyword.

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