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Content marketing pays dividends

News, 26 January 2016

GLOBAL: Content-led marketing can significantly improve consumers' positivity towards advertising brands, according to a study by the BBC.

BBC Storyworks, the content marketing arm of BBC Advertising, used facial coding technology with 5,153 digital consumers of English language international news across Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, USA, Canada and Germany. They were asked to view content on bbc.com, with second-by-second facial movements tracked in order to understand the emotional impact and effectiveness of content-led marketing.

The results, published in The Science of Engagement report, indicated that exposure to such material resulted in a 77% increase in explicit positivity and a 14% increase in subconscious positivity.

Around two thirds of respondents (64%) said they were happy to read content-led marketing as long as it was clear which brand was presenting it; the same proportion were happy to read it as long as it was clearly labelled.

And that transparency appeared to be a crucial factor. In the facial coding study, BBC Storyworks reported that rejection for labelled brand-presented content was 7% below the average benchmark, while rejection for non-labelled content was 18% above the average.

Quality was equally important: 63% of respondents were happy to see the content as long as it mirrored the quality of the provider's editorial content.

And consumers were 30% more likely to believe content-led marketing on premium news providers would be more informative and accurate than on non-premium news providers.

The study also found that content-led marketing enhances brand perceptions, with a +10% uplift for familiarity and a +14% uplift in average brand image between test and control.

It also drives brand amplification, with a +14% increase in recommendation and a +16% lift in consideration.

"In a time when advertisers are increasing their spending on content-led marketing, it is important that they also feel confident in its effectiveness and understand the significant positive impact this kind of content has on their brand," said Richard Pattinson, SVP/Content, BBC Advertising and head of BBC StoryWorks.

Data sourced from BBC Worldwide, Biz Community; additional content by Warc staff