What people really think about native advertising [Research]

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As part of our recent brand storytelling research, we asked UK consumers a handful of questions about their experience and opinion of native advertising and brand-sponsored content.

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What people really think about native advertising [Research]

  1. 1. Native Advertising © 2015 Headstream © 2015 Headstream www.headstream.com Photo credit: Stinging Eyes What people really think about native advertising What people really think about native advertising
  2. 2. Native Advertising © 2015 Headstream Contents 1. Executive summary 2. Introduction and methodology 3. The results ● Transparency trumps cunning placements ● Younger audiences demand authenticity ● People are open to brand sponsored content ● Appetite for brand sponsored content highest among 18-34s ● Quality and value maketh the ad 4. Conclusion 5. About Headstream
  3. 3. Native Advertising © 2015 Headstream Executive summary Headstream commissioned independent research into the distribution of brand sponsored stories via native advertising to help to determine key considerations relating to this type of approach. The results suggest that transparency is paramount and that any sponsored content should be easily identifiable as such. While audiences can be put off by the knowledge that a story was created to support a brand message, if the content is perceived to be valuable and relevant, these reservations can potentially be allayed. ● 71% of UK adults believe that it is important for brand-created stories to be clearly distinguishable from editorial stories when they appear on online news sites ● Transparency in terms of brand sponsored content is especially important to younger audiences, with over half (54%) of 18-24s considering it to be very important, if not vital ● 53% of UK adults are willing or very willing to read / view a story that has been sponsored by a brand ● 38% of UK adults would be put off by the knowledge that a story was created to promote a brand, while 41% said it would depend how good / entertaining the story was
  4. 4. Native Advertising © 2015 Headstream Introduction and methodology The digital revolution of the past twenty years – and the associated content revolution – has thrown the need for relevant, valuable content into sharp focus for brands. As important as the quality of the content though is its visibility. While good content and stories will always generate some level of organic conversation and engagement among existing brand communities via owned and borrowed media, in order to achieve real scale, brands often need to invest in paid solutions. The rise of mobile, increased use of AdBlock style software and the major media owners and publishers continued efforts to nurture effective revenue streams via digital have all helped bring native advertising to the fore. With such appetite among the marketing community and all manner of solutions on offer, we wanted to get a simple customer view of native advertising to understand how effective it can be in reaching and engaging consumers. As part of our broader brand storytelling research, we asked UK consumers a handful of questions about their experience and opinion of native advertising and brand-sponsored content. So for example, how important is it that brand-created stories are clearly differentiated from editorial content when appearing on news sites? Headstream’s survey was conducted independently among 2,000 UK adults in April 2015. The sample was selected from our partner research agency’s panels, which are balanced across regional age, and gender demographic factors.
  5. 5. Native Advertising © 2015 Headstream 71%believe that it’s important that brand-created stories are clearly differentiated from editorial stories
  6. 6. Native Advertising © 2015 Headstream How important is it to you that brand-created stories are clearly differentiated from editorial stories when they appear on an online news site? The majority of respondents (71%) believe that it is important to some extent for brand-created stories to be clearly distinguishable from editorial stories. This suggests brands should be mindful of placement and delivery options when selecting native advertising partners and solutions. Transparency trumps cunning placements
  7. 7. Native Advertising © 2015 Headstream How important is it to you that brand-created stories are clearly differentiated from editorial stories when they appear on an online news site? This transparency is especially important to younger audiences, with over half (54%) of 18-24s considering it to be very important, if not vital. Just 17% of 18-34s indicated that they placed little or no importance on clear differentiation. It’s crucial therefore to select native placements relevant and valuable to both your brand and audience. Younger audiences demand authenticity
  8. 8. Native Advertising © 2015 Headstream People are open to brand sponsored content How willing are you to read/view a story that’s been sponsored by a brand? So if people know a story is sponsored by a brand, will they still read it? Our research suggests they will - just 17% of respondents indicated that they categorically refuse or are unwilling to look at brand sponsored stories. The willing are not without reservation though, with a further 30% expressing a predilection for non-sponsored stories. So while competition for audience attention appears healthy, so does the opportunity for brands.
  9. 9. Native Advertising © 2015 Headstream Appetite for brand sponsored content highest among 18- 34s How willing are you to read/view a story that’s been sponsored by a brand? Younger audiences are more open to engaging with brand sponsored content, with approximately two-thirds of 18-34 year olds indicating that they are willing or very willing, compared to just one-third of people in the 55+ age group. This suggests that younger audiences potentially want more from brands, beyond straightforward product and service messages.
  10. 10. Native Advertising © 2015 Headstream Would you be put off if you found out a story was created to promote a brand message? Over one-third (38%) of respondents indicated that they would be put off by the knowledge that a story was created to promote a brand. This negative effect can however be offset by the perceived quality and / or entertainment value of the content. This is most pronounced in the 18-34 age group where almost half of respondents could be influenced, although it’s still a consideration for over one-third of the 35-44 and 55+ age groups. Simply put, relevant and valuable content are important factors in helping to land your brand message via native advertising. Quality and value maketh the ad
  11. 11. Native Advertising © 2015 Headstream 65%of 18-34 year olds would willingly engage with brand-sponsored stories
  12. 12. Native Advertising © 2015 Headstream Conclusion So consumers in the UK are open to content distributed via native advertising, but handle with care. Audiences understand that their favourite sites and feeds incorporate ads into the experience, but there is a level of expectation that these will be clearly distinguishable from editorial content. While it appears a minority will always decry the presence of brand sponsored content, the majority are either willing or open to being convinced of its value. As with all story led advertising there is a barrier to overcome in terms of people being put off by the thought that the underlying purpose of the content is to promote a brand message. This research does however suggest that the perceived level of quality and entertainment value can certainly influence the audience’s view of branded content distributed via native advertising.
  13. 13. Native Advertising © 2015 Headstream About Headstream We’re the content marketing agency for ambitious brands. We believe that in today’s connected world a content-led approach to marketing is the only way brands can remain visible and relevant to their customers. It all started in 2006 when we launched as one of the UK’s first social media marketing companies. We built a talented team and helped those early adopters understand and take advantage of social media. We contributed to the debate on social media performance by creating the Social Brands 100 research, which measured and ranked the best brand performance across social media channels. As the years have rolled on the agency has grown into the successful, and modest, marketing agency you see today by evolving our capabilities to ensure our clients get what they original came to us for – results for the modern marketer. Through Headstream, ambitious brands such as GSK, BBC, National Trust, Fat Face, Schuh and P&O Cruises have increased their visibility and relevancy with content.
  14. 14. Native Advertising © 2015 Headstream 023 8082 8575 headstream.com @headstream +headstream

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