Consumers appear to be more open to discovering new content than ever before, after new research discovered we don't plan to find over a third of the online content we consume.

Content discovery platform, Outbrain, which surveyed over 1,000 UK consumers, said the importance of unintrusive, native content in marketing strategies is reaffirmed by the fact that, of the six forms of online content and advertising polled, respondents said that content recommendations on publishers’ sites are the most interesting, suggesting consumers are now more open to content discovery than ever before.

The report has revealed the types of content which consumers find the most interesting, as well as the sorts of environments they’re most likely to trust the content they find. On the whole, traditional publishers (e.g. The Guardian, The Sun etc) were a more trusted environment than social media or blogs, with two-thirds of respondents agreeing content found there is reliable.

In fact, traditional publishers were the most trusted environment for four out of the seven verticals polled, including travel and financial advice. Social Media was generally more trusted for more light-hearted types of content such as fashion and health & fitness. This provides useful insights for marketers in terms of where they should be placing their content to engage with consumers.

Stephanie Himoff, Northern Europe managing director at Outbrain, said: “As is shown throughout the report, marketers need to bear in mind the need for innovation and creativity. Given that consumers spend much less time reading service & product reviews than other types of content, marketers would be wise to use engaging content in the environment consumers trust most: publishers’ sites.”

While social networks are where people tend to spend the largest portion of their time online, it seems trust on social media has become harder to earn. Conversely, trust appears to have actually been bolstered in brands, as more consumers considered familiar brands a reliable source of information (77%) than content shared by their own friends on social media (67%). Even three in five said that useful & relevant content created by unfamiliar brands was trustworthy.

While the report’s findings show people browse content for entertainment and news, it also helps inform their purchases, suggesting that brands should focus on creating relevant content throughout the customer journey to move the customer along the path to purchase. Over half of respondents (54%) said they like being guided to content because it allows them to discover new products and services they find useful but didn’t know about. The amount of content read varies by vertical, with shoppers reading an average of three pieces of content before making a purchase, however, this climbs to almost five in the travel & holiday vertical and for financial advice.

The report also sheds light on the consumer “purchase journey”, by telling us when is the best time to supply a shopper with a piece of content. Three in five (59%) say they find content most helpful when comparing products, otherwise know as the “consideration stage”. Similarly, exactly one in two say that they find it helpful when searching for a solution to a particular need (the “awareness stage”).


By Jonathan Davies, editor, Digital Marketing Magazine

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