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1Copyright © 2014 The Nielsen Company
A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED
THE
ROLE OF
CONTENT
IN THE CONSUMER
DECISION MAKING PROCESS
MARCH 2014
COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED
A CUSTOM STUDY
2 THE ROLE OF CONTENT IN THE CONSUMER DECISION MAKING PROCESS
A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED
CONTENTS
Executive Summary........................................................... 3
Research Question and Methodology..................................... 5
Results of Experiment........................................................ 7 	
Conclusion and Recommendations....................................... 11	
References.....................................................................12
3Copyright © 2014 The Nielsen Company
A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED
EXECUTIVE
SUMMARY
The proliferation of digital and social media, including mobile, has made
information more readily accessible to prospective consumers.1
As we
can see in Figure 1, consumers report an increase in usage across all
sources of information in the past five years, including sources such
as brand websites, user reviews, and third party expert content, when
learning more about new products and services. This ability to easily
access information from a variety of sources has fundamentally changed
the way consumers research products and, ultimately, make purchase
decisions.
The purpose of this research, therefore, is to understand how
consumers use different sources of information and how the sources
impact them across a variety of product categories at each stage of the
purchase process. Results of the in-lab study show that expert content—
credible, third-party articles and reviews—is the most effective source
of information in impacting consumers along all stages of the purchase
process across product categories.
1 Advertising Research Foundation. Digital & Social Media in the Purchase Decision
Process. 2012. http://thearf.org/arf-arrowhead-digital.php.
4 THE ROLE OF CONTENT IN THE CONSUMER DECISION MAKING PROCESS
A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED
FIGURE 2. IMPACT OF CONTENT TYPES ACROSS PURCHASE PROCESS
8%
PURCHASE
CONSIDERATION
8%AFFINITY
8%
11%
12%
15%
6%
10%
10%
FAMILIARITY
USER REVIEWS BRANDED CONTENT EXPERT CONTENT
Source: Nielsen/inPowered MediaLab study, Dec 2013 - Jan 2014
Source: Nielsen/inPowered MediaLab study, Dec 2013 - Jan 2014
+83% Vs. User Reviews
+38% Vs. Branded Content
EXPERT CONTENT EFFECTIVENESS
+20% Vs. User Reviews
+50% Vs. Branded Content
+50% Vs. User Reviews
+88% Vs. Branded Content
52%
45%
40%
51%
44%
29%
54%
46%
11%
10%
15%
11%
13%
24%
10%
11%
SOCIAL MEDIA
USER REVIEWS
ONLINE
ADVERTISING
EXPERT REVIEWS
OFFICIAL BRAND
WEBSITES
TV ADVERTISING
RADIO ADVERTISING
WORD OF
MOUTH
LESS MORE
FIGURE 1. INFORMATION SOURCE USAGE IN THE CONSUMER DECISION PROCESS
5Copyright © 2014 The Nielsen Company
A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED
RESEARCH
QUESTION AND
METHODOLOGY
To evaluate the impact of expert content and branded (or owned)
content online and its role in the purchase process, an experimental
design was used to expose consumers to content and then measure
the impact of that content in creating product awareness/familiarity,
influencing perceptions (i.e. likeability) and increasing purchase
consideration. The goal of the experiment is to evaluate the relative
impact of content from users, experts, and brands themselves.
900 respondents were recruited off casino floors in Las Vegas, NV to
participate in the experimental design at the Nielsen MediaLabs. Each
respondent was identified to be in the target audience for the products
in the content they would be exposed to. Respondents answered an
online survey before and after the experience in order to measure the
impact of the content on their familiarity, perceptions, and purchase
consideration of the products.
CONTENT TYPES
Content was classified as one of three content types: expert content,
user reviews, and branded content. Expert content includes reviews and
articles selected from third-party websites and blogs dedicated to the
A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED
6 THE ROLE OF CONTENT IN THE CONSUMER DECISION MAKING PROCESS
A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED
relevant product category. User reviews were selected from the reviews
portion of major online retailers or forums. Branded content was content
taken directly from the official websites for each product.
CONSUMER DECISION-MAKING
PROCESS (KEY MEASURES)
Each online source was measured with three survey metrics aligned with
the three main stages of influence in the consumer purchase process2
.
This provided a consistent measurement in order to fairly assess source
influence at each stage.
•	 Stage 1: Familiarity with a new product
•	 Stage 2: Affinity toward a brand or product
•	 Stage 3: Purchase consideration of a brand or product
PRODUCT CATEGORIES
Respondents viewed content providing information on nine products
in different categories, ensuring a broad scope and the ability to assess
if the observed effects varied across different types of purchases.
Products that were included in the study are listed below and cover a
wide variety of categories, including:
•	 Auto insurance
•	 New car
•	 High-end HDTV set
•	 Smartphone
•	 Dryer (i.e. major home appliance)
•	 Child seat
•	 Digital camera
•	 Video game
•	 Electric toothbrush
PURPOSE FOR LABORATORY SETTING
A controlled-lab setting was critical in this experiment as the amount
of information to be digested by the respondent was such that it
introduced the possibility that respondents would not fully read the
content or information provided if exposed in an unsupervised testing
environment. Therefore, a proctored setting ensured that respondents
exposed to the different information sources had adequate time to
read and digest the content presented to them. The Nielsen MediaLabs
facility also draws from a nationally-representative population and is
the only lab facility to offer in-lab testing without relying only on locally
recruited respondents. These advantages were conducive to increasing
the reliability and projectability of the research findings.
 
2 Schiffman, L. G.  Kanuk, L. L. Consumer decision making and beyond. Consumer
behavior. Ninth Edition. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. 2007.
7Copyright © 2014 The Nielsen Company
A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED
RESULTS OF THE
EXPERIMENT
Figure 3 shows an at-a-glance summary of the experiment results. While
each content type had some success at increasing product familiarity,
affinity, and purchase intent, content written by credible experts
performed best overall.
Expert content was the only content type to exhibit a strong lift in all
3 areas of the purchase cycle. It provided the most familiarity lift for 7
out of the 9 products, the most affinity lift for 5 of the 9 products, and
the most purchase intent lift for 6 of the 9 products. On average, expert
content lifted familiarity 88 percent more than branded content and 50
percent more than user reviews; they lifted affinity 50 percent more than
branded content and 20 percent more than user reviews; finally, they
lifted purchase consideration 38 percent more than branded content and
83 percent more than user reviews.
BRANDED CONTENTUSER REVIEWSEXPERT CONTENT
Smartphone 22 13 16 9 6 2 7 10 13
Smart TV 8 6 7 1 9 4 0 7 0
Video Game 30 22 11 25 28 20 17 3 12
Car Seat 28 19 14 11 16 19 19 15 16
Electric Toothbrush 3 12 9 2 16 0 11 10 7
Dryer 18 10 16 21 9 0 10 12 9
New Automobile 6 4 15 4 0 8 6 2 4
Auto Insurance 3 6 5 0 1 2 0 4 1
Camera 19 12 6 11 6 6 16 12 12
Lift presented as difference between pre and post measures, provided in percentage points; darker highlighting indicates relatively
strong lift for category
pB2. / B2. How familiar are you with the following brands or products?
pB3. / B3. How do you feel about the following brands or products?
pB4a. / B4a. How likely are you to consider purchasing [PRODUCT]?
FAMILIARITY AFFINITY PURCHASE FAMILIARITY AFFINITY PURCHASE FAMILIARITY AFFINITY PURCHASE
FIGURE 3. POSITIVE LIFT BY CONTENT AND PRODUCT TYPE (IN PERCENTAGE POINTS)
PRODUCT TYPE
Source: Nielsen/inPowered MediaLab study, Dec 2013 - Jan 2014
8 THE ROLE OF CONTENT IN THE CONSUMER DECISION MAKING PROCESS
A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED
There appear to be two key differentiators that help to explain why expert
content was the only type that exhibited this strong lift across all three
areas of the purchase funnel. The perceived partiality of the source
was especially critical in setting expert content and branded content
apart. The third-party element was important to consumers: 50 percent
indicated that they wouldn’t trust a product’s branded website for an
unbiased assessment of a product, and 61 percent were less likely to
trust product reviews paid for by the company selling the product. Expert
content can provide an unbiased and honest assessment of a product,
which is particularly important during the final stage of purchase
consideration. The other key differentiator was how informative the
respondents perceived the content to be. Consumers perceived expert
content to be 10 percent and 8 percent more informative than both user
content and branded content respectively. Thus, expert content’s ability
to provide the greatest breadth and variety of information compared
to branded and user content, combined with a perspective that it was
perceived as unbiased, appears to be driving its consistently high
performance in all areas of the purchase process.
USER REVIEWS AND BRANDED CONTENT
While user reviews and branded content did not exhibit the same
pattern of consistency in performance across all categories and phases
of the purchase cycle that was observed with expert content, there were
instances where their impact was strongest. With branded content, for
example, lift was strongest with categories where product specs were
a critical part of the part of the decision making process. Specifically,
branded content provided the most lift to purchase intent in one product
category: cameras. This could be attributed, in part, to the importance
of specs in the final decision making process for this product and the
perceived trust that brands know their own product specs best. Branded
content was also effective at lifting familiarity and affinity for other spec-
heavy products: smartphones, automobiles and dryers.
User reviews were found to be successful in categories where users
tend to have a higher degree of product expertise. For example, video
game affinity and purchase intent were lifted the most by user review
content—possibly because video game consumers see other gamers
as knowledgeable enough to provide reliable, trustworthy reviews. That
said, expert content was also effective at lifting these measures and was
most effective at creating initial product awareness or familiarity. In a
similar case, we found for car seats that, even though expert content
was most effective at increasing familiarity and affinity, user content
provided the strongest lift to purchase intent. This may be another
product category where the consumer themselves are highly regarded as
expert users—and mothers perceive other mothers as “experts.”
9Copyright © 2014 The Nielsen Company
A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED
PRICE POINTS
Expert content was most effective at influencing high price point
purchases (i.e. $1,000+). Table 1 below depicts the role of the
information source on these types of high price point purchases. It
is important to note that branded content was effective at driving
familiarity and affinity for big ticket purchases, but it was not as
effective at persuading purchase consideration. User reviews had even
less relevance for these types of purchases. Ultimately, expert content
influenced all three phases and was most effective at driving final
purchase consideration. The higher the price point, the more efficient
expert content was in educating and persuading consumers.
High Price Items ($1000+): High-end HDTV, Dryer, New Car
BRAND IMPACT:
HIGH-PRICED ITEMS (INDEX)
EXPERT
CONTENT
USER
REVIEWS
BRANDED
CONTENT
TABLE 1. CONTENT IMPACT ON HIGH-PRICED ITEMS
1 Familiarity Lift 122 33 144
2 Affinity Lift 153 47 127
3 Purchase Intent Lift 186 57 57
Source: Nielsen/inPowered MediaLab study, Dec 2013 - Jan 2014
10 THE ROLE OF CONTENT IN THE CONSUMER DECISION MAKING PROCESS
A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED
For mid-priced items, all three sources increased brand familiarity
relatively well. Perceptual changes appeared to happen much more for
branded content; however, expert content clearly impacted purchase
consideration over the other sources. Once again, user reviews played
less of a role across these purchases while the expert content was
effective at influencing consumers across the purchase decision process.
Lower-priced item familiarity and affinity were more impacted by user
reviews, while branded content was less effective along these measures.
Expert content, on the other hand, was still effective across all phases of
the purchase cycle even for these types of lower-priced purchases.
Low Price Items ($50-399): Video Game, Electric Toothbrush
BRAND IMPACT:
LOW-PRICED ITEMS (INDEX)
EXPERT
CONTENT
USER
REVIEWS
BRANDED
CONTENT
TABLE 3. CONTENT IMPACT ON LOW-PRICED ITEMS
1 Familiarity Lift 110 150 40
2 Affinity Lift 141 100 71
3 Purchase Intent Lift 113 75 125
Source: Nielsen/inPowered MediaLab study, Dec 2013 - Jan 2014
Mid Price Items ($400-999): Digital Camera, Car Seat, Smartphone, Car Insurance
BRAND IMPACT:
MID-PRICED ITEMS (INDEX)
EXPERT
CONTENT
USER
REVIEWS
BRANDED
CONTENT
TABLE 2. CONTENT IMPACT ON MID-PRICED ITEMS
1 Familiarity Lift 103 94 99
2 Affinity Lift 107 -- 196
3 Purchase Intent Lift 120 70 90
Source: Nielsen/inPowered MediaLab study, Dec 2013 - Jan 2014
11Copyright © 2014 The Nielsen Company
A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED
CONCLUSION AND
RECOMMENDATIONS
Overall, our research suggests that there is a higher degree of trust from
consumers when they are reading content from credible, third party
experts. This trust is demonstrated by the higher lift scores with regard
to product familiarity, affinity and purchase intent and its perception
of being highly informative and unbiased. This level of trust further
suggests that expert content is more efficient at pushing consumers
along the consumer decision-making process because it is more
effective at consistently lifting these measures across each phase of the
purchase process. While expert content was impactful across product
categories, its impact seems to be even more pronounced with higher-
priced items.
Knowing this power of expert content, advertisers may want to consider
increasing consumer exposure to expert content to build greater trust
while also supplementing with branded content and users reviews
to build familiarity and influence opinions about the product. Our
findings suggest that such a strategy could be more effective at
influencing consumers, particularly with their final purchase decision.
In the end, the impact of expert content on consumer decision making
demonstrates the important role that objective and credible information
from trusted sources play in the purchase process.
 
12 THE ROLE OF CONTENT IN THE CONSUMER DECISION MAKING PROCESS
A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED
REFERENCES
Page 3: Advertising Research Foundation.
Digital  Social Media in the Purchase Decision Process. 2012.
http://thearf.org/arf-arrowhead-digital.php.
Page 6: Schiffman, L. G.  Kanuk, L. L.
Consumer decision making and beyond. Consumer behavior.
Ninth Edition. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. 2007.
CONTRIBUTORS
Research Directors: Harry Brisson (Nielsen), Mike Hay (inPowered)
White Paper: Tommy Cheng (Nielsen) with Harry Brisson (Nielsen) 
Mike Hay (inPowered)
Additional Contributions: Michele Slack (inPowered), Michael
Rasmussen (inPowered)
ABOUT NIELSEN
Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and
measurement company with leading market positions in marketing
and consumer information, television and other media measurement,
online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in
approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and
Diemen, the Netherlands.
For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.
Copyright © 2014 The Nielsen Company. All rights reserved.
Nielsen and the Nielsen logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of
CZT/ACN Trademarks, L.L.C.
Other company names, products and services may be trademarks or
registered trademarks of their respective companies.
This documentation contains the intellectual property and proprietary
information of The Nielsen Company. Publication, disclosure, copying,
or distribution of this document or any of its contents is strictly
prohibited, without the prior written consent of The Nielsen Company.
13Copyright © 2014 The Nielsen Company
A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED

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The role of content - nielsen

  • 1. 1Copyright © 2014 The Nielsen Company A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED THE ROLE OF CONTENT IN THE CONSUMER DECISION MAKING PROCESS MARCH 2014 COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED A CUSTOM STUDY
  • 2. 2 THE ROLE OF CONTENT IN THE CONSUMER DECISION MAKING PROCESS A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED CONTENTS Executive Summary........................................................... 3 Research Question and Methodology..................................... 5 Results of Experiment........................................................ 7 Conclusion and Recommendations....................................... 11 References.....................................................................12
  • 3. 3Copyright © 2014 The Nielsen Company A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The proliferation of digital and social media, including mobile, has made information more readily accessible to prospective consumers.1 As we can see in Figure 1, consumers report an increase in usage across all sources of information in the past five years, including sources such as brand websites, user reviews, and third party expert content, when learning more about new products and services. This ability to easily access information from a variety of sources has fundamentally changed the way consumers research products and, ultimately, make purchase decisions. The purpose of this research, therefore, is to understand how consumers use different sources of information and how the sources impact them across a variety of product categories at each stage of the purchase process. Results of the in-lab study show that expert content— credible, third-party articles and reviews—is the most effective source of information in impacting consumers along all stages of the purchase process across product categories. 1 Advertising Research Foundation. Digital & Social Media in the Purchase Decision Process. 2012. http://thearf.org/arf-arrowhead-digital.php.
  • 4. 4 THE ROLE OF CONTENT IN THE CONSUMER DECISION MAKING PROCESS A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED FIGURE 2. IMPACT OF CONTENT TYPES ACROSS PURCHASE PROCESS 8% PURCHASE CONSIDERATION 8%AFFINITY 8% 11% 12% 15% 6% 10% 10% FAMILIARITY USER REVIEWS BRANDED CONTENT EXPERT CONTENT Source: Nielsen/inPowered MediaLab study, Dec 2013 - Jan 2014 Source: Nielsen/inPowered MediaLab study, Dec 2013 - Jan 2014 +83% Vs. User Reviews +38% Vs. Branded Content EXPERT CONTENT EFFECTIVENESS +20% Vs. User Reviews +50% Vs. Branded Content +50% Vs. User Reviews +88% Vs. Branded Content 52% 45% 40% 51% 44% 29% 54% 46% 11% 10% 15% 11% 13% 24% 10% 11% SOCIAL MEDIA USER REVIEWS ONLINE ADVERTISING EXPERT REVIEWS OFFICIAL BRAND WEBSITES TV ADVERTISING RADIO ADVERTISING WORD OF MOUTH LESS MORE FIGURE 1. INFORMATION SOURCE USAGE IN THE CONSUMER DECISION PROCESS
  • 5. 5Copyright © 2014 The Nielsen Company A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED RESEARCH QUESTION AND METHODOLOGY To evaluate the impact of expert content and branded (or owned) content online and its role in the purchase process, an experimental design was used to expose consumers to content and then measure the impact of that content in creating product awareness/familiarity, influencing perceptions (i.e. likeability) and increasing purchase consideration. The goal of the experiment is to evaluate the relative impact of content from users, experts, and brands themselves. 900 respondents were recruited off casino floors in Las Vegas, NV to participate in the experimental design at the Nielsen MediaLabs. Each respondent was identified to be in the target audience for the products in the content they would be exposed to. Respondents answered an online survey before and after the experience in order to measure the impact of the content on their familiarity, perceptions, and purchase consideration of the products. CONTENT TYPES Content was classified as one of three content types: expert content, user reviews, and branded content. Expert content includes reviews and articles selected from third-party websites and blogs dedicated to the A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED
  • 6. 6 THE ROLE OF CONTENT IN THE CONSUMER DECISION MAKING PROCESS A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED relevant product category. User reviews were selected from the reviews portion of major online retailers or forums. Branded content was content taken directly from the official websites for each product. CONSUMER DECISION-MAKING PROCESS (KEY MEASURES) Each online source was measured with three survey metrics aligned with the three main stages of influence in the consumer purchase process2 . This provided a consistent measurement in order to fairly assess source influence at each stage. • Stage 1: Familiarity with a new product • Stage 2: Affinity toward a brand or product • Stage 3: Purchase consideration of a brand or product PRODUCT CATEGORIES Respondents viewed content providing information on nine products in different categories, ensuring a broad scope and the ability to assess if the observed effects varied across different types of purchases. Products that were included in the study are listed below and cover a wide variety of categories, including: • Auto insurance • New car • High-end HDTV set • Smartphone • Dryer (i.e. major home appliance) • Child seat • Digital camera • Video game • Electric toothbrush PURPOSE FOR LABORATORY SETTING A controlled-lab setting was critical in this experiment as the amount of information to be digested by the respondent was such that it introduced the possibility that respondents would not fully read the content or information provided if exposed in an unsupervised testing environment. Therefore, a proctored setting ensured that respondents exposed to the different information sources had adequate time to read and digest the content presented to them. The Nielsen MediaLabs facility also draws from a nationally-representative population and is the only lab facility to offer in-lab testing without relying only on locally recruited respondents. These advantages were conducive to increasing the reliability and projectability of the research findings.   2 Schiffman, L. G. Kanuk, L. L. Consumer decision making and beyond. Consumer behavior. Ninth Edition. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. 2007.
  • 7. 7Copyright © 2014 The Nielsen Company A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED RESULTS OF THE EXPERIMENT Figure 3 shows an at-a-glance summary of the experiment results. While each content type had some success at increasing product familiarity, affinity, and purchase intent, content written by credible experts performed best overall. Expert content was the only content type to exhibit a strong lift in all 3 areas of the purchase cycle. It provided the most familiarity lift for 7 out of the 9 products, the most affinity lift for 5 of the 9 products, and the most purchase intent lift for 6 of the 9 products. On average, expert content lifted familiarity 88 percent more than branded content and 50 percent more than user reviews; they lifted affinity 50 percent more than branded content and 20 percent more than user reviews; finally, they lifted purchase consideration 38 percent more than branded content and 83 percent more than user reviews. BRANDED CONTENTUSER REVIEWSEXPERT CONTENT Smartphone 22 13 16 9 6 2 7 10 13 Smart TV 8 6 7 1 9 4 0 7 0 Video Game 30 22 11 25 28 20 17 3 12 Car Seat 28 19 14 11 16 19 19 15 16 Electric Toothbrush 3 12 9 2 16 0 11 10 7 Dryer 18 10 16 21 9 0 10 12 9 New Automobile 6 4 15 4 0 8 6 2 4 Auto Insurance 3 6 5 0 1 2 0 4 1 Camera 19 12 6 11 6 6 16 12 12 Lift presented as difference between pre and post measures, provided in percentage points; darker highlighting indicates relatively strong lift for category pB2. / B2. How familiar are you with the following brands or products? pB3. / B3. How do you feel about the following brands or products? pB4a. / B4a. How likely are you to consider purchasing [PRODUCT]? FAMILIARITY AFFINITY PURCHASE FAMILIARITY AFFINITY PURCHASE FAMILIARITY AFFINITY PURCHASE FIGURE 3. POSITIVE LIFT BY CONTENT AND PRODUCT TYPE (IN PERCENTAGE POINTS) PRODUCT TYPE Source: Nielsen/inPowered MediaLab study, Dec 2013 - Jan 2014
  • 8. 8 THE ROLE OF CONTENT IN THE CONSUMER DECISION MAKING PROCESS A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED There appear to be two key differentiators that help to explain why expert content was the only type that exhibited this strong lift across all three areas of the purchase funnel. The perceived partiality of the source was especially critical in setting expert content and branded content apart. The third-party element was important to consumers: 50 percent indicated that they wouldn’t trust a product’s branded website for an unbiased assessment of a product, and 61 percent were less likely to trust product reviews paid for by the company selling the product. Expert content can provide an unbiased and honest assessment of a product, which is particularly important during the final stage of purchase consideration. The other key differentiator was how informative the respondents perceived the content to be. Consumers perceived expert content to be 10 percent and 8 percent more informative than both user content and branded content respectively. Thus, expert content’s ability to provide the greatest breadth and variety of information compared to branded and user content, combined with a perspective that it was perceived as unbiased, appears to be driving its consistently high performance in all areas of the purchase process. USER REVIEWS AND BRANDED CONTENT While user reviews and branded content did not exhibit the same pattern of consistency in performance across all categories and phases of the purchase cycle that was observed with expert content, there were instances where their impact was strongest. With branded content, for example, lift was strongest with categories where product specs were a critical part of the part of the decision making process. Specifically, branded content provided the most lift to purchase intent in one product category: cameras. This could be attributed, in part, to the importance of specs in the final decision making process for this product and the perceived trust that brands know their own product specs best. Branded content was also effective at lifting familiarity and affinity for other spec- heavy products: smartphones, automobiles and dryers. User reviews were found to be successful in categories where users tend to have a higher degree of product expertise. For example, video game affinity and purchase intent were lifted the most by user review content—possibly because video game consumers see other gamers as knowledgeable enough to provide reliable, trustworthy reviews. That said, expert content was also effective at lifting these measures and was most effective at creating initial product awareness or familiarity. In a similar case, we found for car seats that, even though expert content was most effective at increasing familiarity and affinity, user content provided the strongest lift to purchase intent. This may be another product category where the consumer themselves are highly regarded as expert users—and mothers perceive other mothers as “experts.”
  • 9. 9Copyright © 2014 The Nielsen Company A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED PRICE POINTS Expert content was most effective at influencing high price point purchases (i.e. $1,000+). Table 1 below depicts the role of the information source on these types of high price point purchases. It is important to note that branded content was effective at driving familiarity and affinity for big ticket purchases, but it was not as effective at persuading purchase consideration. User reviews had even less relevance for these types of purchases. Ultimately, expert content influenced all three phases and was most effective at driving final purchase consideration. The higher the price point, the more efficient expert content was in educating and persuading consumers. High Price Items ($1000+): High-end HDTV, Dryer, New Car BRAND IMPACT: HIGH-PRICED ITEMS (INDEX) EXPERT CONTENT USER REVIEWS BRANDED CONTENT TABLE 1. CONTENT IMPACT ON HIGH-PRICED ITEMS 1 Familiarity Lift 122 33 144 2 Affinity Lift 153 47 127 3 Purchase Intent Lift 186 57 57 Source: Nielsen/inPowered MediaLab study, Dec 2013 - Jan 2014
  • 10. 10 THE ROLE OF CONTENT IN THE CONSUMER DECISION MAKING PROCESS A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED For mid-priced items, all three sources increased brand familiarity relatively well. Perceptual changes appeared to happen much more for branded content; however, expert content clearly impacted purchase consideration over the other sources. Once again, user reviews played less of a role across these purchases while the expert content was effective at influencing consumers across the purchase decision process. Lower-priced item familiarity and affinity were more impacted by user reviews, while branded content was less effective along these measures. Expert content, on the other hand, was still effective across all phases of the purchase cycle even for these types of lower-priced purchases. Low Price Items ($50-399): Video Game, Electric Toothbrush BRAND IMPACT: LOW-PRICED ITEMS (INDEX) EXPERT CONTENT USER REVIEWS BRANDED CONTENT TABLE 3. CONTENT IMPACT ON LOW-PRICED ITEMS 1 Familiarity Lift 110 150 40 2 Affinity Lift 141 100 71 3 Purchase Intent Lift 113 75 125 Source: Nielsen/inPowered MediaLab study, Dec 2013 - Jan 2014 Mid Price Items ($400-999): Digital Camera, Car Seat, Smartphone, Car Insurance BRAND IMPACT: MID-PRICED ITEMS (INDEX) EXPERT CONTENT USER REVIEWS BRANDED CONTENT TABLE 2. CONTENT IMPACT ON MID-PRICED ITEMS 1 Familiarity Lift 103 94 99 2 Affinity Lift 107 -- 196 3 Purchase Intent Lift 120 70 90 Source: Nielsen/inPowered MediaLab study, Dec 2013 - Jan 2014
  • 11. 11Copyright © 2014 The Nielsen Company A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS Overall, our research suggests that there is a higher degree of trust from consumers when they are reading content from credible, third party experts. This trust is demonstrated by the higher lift scores with regard to product familiarity, affinity and purchase intent and its perception of being highly informative and unbiased. This level of trust further suggests that expert content is more efficient at pushing consumers along the consumer decision-making process because it is more effective at consistently lifting these measures across each phase of the purchase process. While expert content was impactful across product categories, its impact seems to be even more pronounced with higher- priced items. Knowing this power of expert content, advertisers may want to consider increasing consumer exposure to expert content to build greater trust while also supplementing with branded content and users reviews to build familiarity and influence opinions about the product. Our findings suggest that such a strategy could be more effective at influencing consumers, particularly with their final purchase decision. In the end, the impact of expert content on consumer decision making demonstrates the important role that objective and credible information from trusted sources play in the purchase process.  
  • 12. 12 THE ROLE OF CONTENT IN THE CONSUMER DECISION MAKING PROCESS A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED REFERENCES Page 3: Advertising Research Foundation. Digital Social Media in the Purchase Decision Process. 2012. http://thearf.org/arf-arrowhead-digital.php. Page 6: Schiffman, L. G. Kanuk, L. L. Consumer decision making and beyond. Consumer behavior. Ninth Edition. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. 2007. CONTRIBUTORS Research Directors: Harry Brisson (Nielsen), Mike Hay (inPowered) White Paper: Tommy Cheng (Nielsen) with Harry Brisson (Nielsen) Mike Hay (inPowered) Additional Contributions: Michele Slack (inPowered), Michael Rasmussen (inPowered) ABOUT NIELSEN Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com. Copyright © 2014 The Nielsen Company. All rights reserved. Nielsen and the Nielsen logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of CZT/ACN Trademarks, L.L.C. Other company names, products and services may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. This documentation contains the intellectual property and proprietary information of The Nielsen Company. Publication, disclosure, copying, or distribution of this document or any of its contents is strictly prohibited, without the prior written consent of The Nielsen Company.
  • 13. 13Copyright © 2014 The Nielsen Company A CUSTOM STUDY COMMISSIONED BY INPOWERED