Branded content has limited impact in US

04 July 2012

NEW YORK: Branded content does not have a major influence on purchase intent among US shoppers, a study has found.

Matter, a unit of public relations network Edelman, and StrategyOne, the insights group, polled 1,000 adults, 34% of which agreed branded entertainment was "valuable", hitting 52% for 18–34 year olds, but just 26% where participants were aged over 35.

In terms of purchase intent, however, only 15% of consumers reported there was a greater likelihood they would buy an item promoted via this route, while 33% took the contradictory position, and 42% were neutral.

More broadly, 4% of interviewees believed branded entertainment offered "excellent value", standing at 6% for "very good value" and 24% for "good value".

A further 7% of the sample described such material as "poor" and 24% believed it held no worth whatsoever. An additional 15% of contributors had never knowingly seen branded entertainment.

Elsewhere, 31% expect "brands to provide free online content", and 30% "want brands to entertain them". Some 18% of individuals polled disagreed with the first statement, and 24% with the second.

Another 27% "wanted to hear more" from brands supplying free online content, with 23% taking the opposite view. These figures reached 22% and 24% for trusting brands generating such material more than those which don't.

Exactly 20% of respondents thought branded entertainment gave them access to content they could not otherwise see, and 23% adopted the contrary view.

On each of these measures, however, the highest number of people questioned, around 40%, were neutral.

When assessing branded entertainment, 47% of the survey community agreed it must "fit" the content, while 44% suggested it typically felt "forced" and 30% were "overwhelmed" by promotions in this material.

A 16% share of the panel would comment on social networks about this material before and during viewing or listening to it, rising to 34% after doing so, offering brands a chance to "stay involved" with consumers.

"There's an abundance of branded content in the marketplace – some is compelling, some not," Andy Marks, general manager of Matter, said.

"Creating and curating content, or integrating into existing entertainment must be approached strategically in order to ensure integration is organic and unobtrusive."

Data sourced from Matter; additional content by Warc staff