logos of some of the world's biggest brands
logos of some of the world's biggest brands

The tldr; content that is consumed, disclosed and has calls to action will drive business outcomes.
 
Getting to content that is consumed, is the hard part. More on that below.
 
Before we indulge in this post, there are a few provisos I need to give.
 
These are, level setting, branded content can easily drive business outcomes when you have effective measurement in place.
 
If you don’t have that – you can and will lose money very quickly. Think of clicks, like the stock market, if you don’t have an acute understanding of the stock price at any point in time, you will only miss the market.
 
That may sound scary – but it’s not. You just need to act from a solid baseline, then the rest is easy.
 

Content that gets consumed drives results

This should be obvious, you need your content to be consumed BEFORE it can have any impact.
 
Merely setting content in the wild doesn’t guarantee it will get consumed. In many instances content gets no eyeballs and/or it may get a few but no one is reading the content.
 
This is the second proviso, make sure your content is getting consumed.
 
How can you ensure, that content, once consumed will drive results?
 
 
Check out our continuously updated resource, The State of Content, for the latest trends and analysis of the fast evolving branded content landscape.
 
 

Here are some best practices from Nudge

Include multiple calls to action in the content. Each content experience is slightly different but tends to fall in to a few buckets.
 
1/3,2/3 and 3/3.
 
Think of these as low, medium and highly engaged users. If you have no CTA and/or a nice little next step. You lose these people as they just hit the back button.
 

1) Optimise to benchmark

Level setting and making sure that your content is to the industry benchmark (at the very least) is vital.
 
If it’s not, how can you expect outcomes.
 

2) Iterate your content

Consumer do not need hundreds of pieces of content. Sure over a lifetime maybe, but not each year.
 
So rather than new, invest in iterating and improving your content. Examine why it’s below benchmarks, where people are dropping off and seek to address those.
 
This helps eliminate waste very very quickly.
 

3) Think about distribution

Distribution has a MASSIVE impact – and it can also change very quickly. Per our traffic benchmark studies, we can see the value of a click changing 20% every quarter.
 
But so, ensuring that you continually tweak and adjust your distribution based on data drives consumption.
 
 
Subscribe to This Week in Native Ads – every Friday, we share the latest analysis, trends and commentary from the past week.
 
 

4) Context cannot be forgotten

How, where and what time people consume your content is very important.
 
A gaming company, identified that between 2&3 am, attention on their content went up significantly (20-30%), ironically they had stopped promoting their content at midnight. They were able to adjust and continue during the wee hours of the night.
 
Or a technology company found two particular sites, that during lunchtime got people to spend 70% longer on their videos.
 

5) Master the art of owning and leasing content

A smart property portfolio manager will suggest owning a mix of property and leasing some. Giving you a balance of returns.
 
Sometimes real-estate like the NYTimes is where you need to be, so be open to leasing that. You acquire context and distribution this way.
 
However – equally building up your own assets is always a solid long term strategy.
 
Right, so, we have level set, you are getting the basics right. Here’s how it can drive business outcomes.
 
If you’re thinking about weighting, here’s a couple:
 

  • Aggressive growth: Skew 80% leasing
  • Medium: 50/50
  • Conservative: 30/70

The consideration here, of course, is internal resourcing.
 

Brand

Brand recall on branded content is easy to obtain, if you have the aforementioned in place.
 
Think about disclosure upfront, people need to know WHO to associate the content with.
 
Sometimes this is obvious, i.e the content sits on Apple.com, sometimes it’s not.
 
Where it’s not obvious, disclose upfront and in the content.
 
When you do this, your brand recall is up to 88% higher.
 
– Consumer awareness of a brand increased to 69% after engaging with branded content, while purchase intent was 51%.
 
Branded content has 69% unaided awareness and 51% persuasion, in a recent IPSOS + Polar report.
 
Time Inc study reveals 2/3 consumers trust branded content more than traditional advertising. – MediaPost (June 30, 2017)
 
^The same study concluded that 92% believe brands have expertise on topics and add value to content.
 
89% believe custom content is a great way for brands to break through the clutter.
 
88% indicating that custom content feels like a good way for new brands it hasn’t heard of to reach them.
 
90% of those polled like the idea of custom content as a way for brands to engage them.
 
84% agreeing that custom content is a way for brands to engage them, and 72% wanting video and infographics to better explore a story or data.
 
Gen Z-> 93% saying they want to see brands do something new, unique, or creative to get their attention.
 

Purchase intent or actual purchase

Same as before, to achieve purchase intent and consideration, ensure the brand is disclosed.
 
Then ensure the content is consumed.
 
One extra layer here, ensure the *right* audience is consuming the content.
 
When this is in place, we see 1-3% of consumers of the content take the next step, whether it’s a product page visit, a whitepaper download.
 
– 1/3 of millennials have purchased from a brand after seeing a sponsored post. – Business Insider (May 22, 2017)
 
Stash saw more than 5% of sponsored content readers made a deposit (i.e. converted) in their recent program.
 
When engaging with content accompanied by companion display ads, users demonstrated 17% more purchase intent.
 
Readiness to buy increases by 50%.
 

Return on Ad Spend

This is a metric which can be super useful. Understanding how you have had an improvement by doing content.
 
The aforementioned support more of content in the mix.
 
But this is also how you can evaluate the investment in technology and iterating your content.
 
For example if you see 30% of people leave the content straight away, fixing that, means they have stayed. Improving your ROAS by
 
How did I calculate this

  • Scenario 1: Buy 142 clicks, 30% drop off, 100 read your content.
  • Scenario 2: Buy 100 clicks, 100 read your content.

You’ve just improved your ROAS 42%.
 
For example…
 
– One brand had 88% ad fraud on their content campaign, and they were able to catch this and reclaim the lost investment.
 
– Another found that 60% of people were leaving their content without consuming it, so they adjusted their headlines and ad placements to optimize to people clicking through AND consuming the content.
 
 
Visit The State of Content to keep up with the latest industry trends.

 
 
This article was first featured here.