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Branded Content Boosts Purchase Intent, Study Says

Consumers know that branded content is part of a marketing campaign, but high-quality branded content is effective at, among other things, increasing brand favorability and intent to purchase, according to what’s being billed as the first global study of branded content.

The study was conducted by the IPG Media Lab and Google, which surveyed 14,780 consumers and looked at brands in 19 categories in 10 countries.

Branded content is becoming a bigger part of marketing efforts as consumers find more ways to evade and block commercials and have an increasing array ad-free information and entertainment sources.

Among the study's conclusions:

  • Consumers found branded content more entertaining, uplifting, educational, novel and exciting than standard video ads.
  • “Our data indicates there are clear best practices marketers can take advantage of when creating and deploying branded content. 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,” said Kara Manatt, VP Consumer Research Strategy at the IPG Media Lab.
  • The companies defined branded content as content that lives on its own, produced by and for the brand, as opposed to content produced by someone else that the brand affixes it to.
  • The study found that high-quality content led to a 10% greater increase in purchase intent, compared to lower quality content. According to the study, it’s worth investing the extra time, effort and money to make better content.
  • Mentioning the brand more often increased the perception that the content was designed to “sell a product,” but the information was still trusted.
  • For high-price purchases purchase intent was higher with more brand mentions.
  • Placing content on a premium site can have a halo effect on brand preference and intent to purchase. The more consumers liked the site, the greater the impact the branded content had, the study found.

“Branded content, in the right context, is a great way for brands to engage with their customers,” said Torrence Boon, VP, global agency sales and services at Google. ”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."

The two companies intend to study branded content further. Among the questions they hope to answer include: Does running branded content as a pre-roll influence perceptions and/or effectiveness? Does including “influencers’ in branded content create a bigger impact?

(Photo via Pictures of Money's FlickrImage taken on Sept. 17, 2015 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 3x4 aspect ratio.)