We were recently looking into a study on content conducted by Nielsen and InPowered, the results of which were very interesting and actually quite insightful – so we thought we'd share them with you.
Our research looked into the different types of content available and found that consumers tend to find credible, third-party content more reliable than branded content when deciding whether to make a purchase or not.
The report also revealed that consumers rely on this type of content more than on independent user reviews; as experts in content marketing, this is something we have long suspected, but we will certainly be taking this report on board!
The study employed 900 consumers and studied their reactions to three different forms of marketing – content from experts (such as credible, third-party reviews), branded content which is produced by the company itself, and user-generated content (such as individual reviews). The aim of the experiment was to record the impact of each of the strategies throughout the three main stages of the purchase process: familiarity with a product, affinity towards a brand or product and finally considering the purchase of a brand's product. The results showed that expert content was the only method to have a consistently strong influence in every stage of the process. At the 'familiarity with a product' stage alone expert content performed 88% better than branded content and 50% better than user reviews.
Reviews increase buying possibility
The study revealed a number of impressive figures; for example, a total of 85% of respondents in the survey said they preferred to base their purchasing decisions on expert content from a reliable source, such as news articles and product reviews. Nearly 70% said they relied on product reviews written by trustworthy experts when they were making a purchasing decision and some 67% admitted that if an objective, external expert endorsed a certain product, they were more likely to buy it.
The study also looked into the most trusted sources of information when making a purchasing decision; 54% of respondents trusted information shared on social networks, 52% looked at user reviews, 51% considered online advertising and 46% relied on expert reviews. A similar proportion – 45% – relied on word-of-mouth recommendations, and 44% visited an official brand website before deciding to buy.
Trust is important
We believe the main conclusion to be drawn from the study can be formulated quite simply: content marketing works best when the focus lies on building and maintaining consumer trust. This can be achieved in various ways – first and foremost (judging by the above percentages) companies should concentrate on publishing credible content from known experts. Next, businesses can look into sharing branded content and encouraging users to take part in the content generation process by offering their own product reviews. Using these three different approaches is guaranteed to build a strong and diverse – but most importantly, a trusted – consumer base. As professional content marketing specialists, we are able to provide the expert content that consumers crave.