The vast majority of US adults are very or somewhat familiar with social media (88%) and public relations (73%) and a majority are also familiar with product placement (56%) and editorial content (52%), per survey results from The Harris Poll. But terms like content marketing (29% familiar), earned media (15%) and native advertising (15%) leave most in the dark, with fewer than 1 in 3 having even heard of earned media and native advertising.
There are some interesting generational differences in adults’ familiarity with these media types. Older adults are more likely than their younger counterparts to be familiar with public relations and editorial content, but Millennials (18-35) are more familiar with terms such as paid media, content marketing, earned media and native advertising, the latter of which are virtually unknown to Matures (70+).
In gauging respondents’ attitudes to paid media, the study finds that 83% agree that if a company pays to place an article in a newspaper that does not look like an ad, the newspaper should disclose the name of the company that paid for it. More than 6 in 10 agree that:
- Ads should be restricted to a certain time or place in TV, movies, magazines and other media (62%);
- Paid product placements in movies and on TV should be disclosed to viewers (62%); and
- They are comfortable with companies paying publish articles that look like news as long as there’s a disclaimer (61%).
Interestingly, most respondents feel confident that they can tell the difference between paid content and editorial or news content, with this sentiment higher among older respondents.