Asked to choose which of 3 options is most true concerning their general attitude towards advertising, 66% of British adults chose the option that they “tolerate” advertising from brands, while more said they have a negative (24%) than positive (10%) attitude, according to [download page] a recent study from Seven. Survey respondents showed more positive reactions towards content marketing: almost 6 in 10 either definitely agree (16%) or tend to agree (41%) that they feel more positive towards those brands that generate content for people like them.
While it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, the results suggest that brands will find more favorable responses from content marketing than paid media. About half of the respondents also agreed that they want to be talked to and have a discussion with brands rather than just listen to what brands have to say.
Marketers should be wary of getting ahead of themselves, though. A separate survey of 71 senior marketers found them overestimating consumers’ preferences for content. Almost 8 in 10 agreed that consumers want to be talked to rather than just listen to brands – a sentiment shared by only half of the consumers surveyed.
Interestingly, some paid media tended to fare better than content-led websites in net consumer preferences. Magazine and newspaper ads scored highest, with a net positive score 29%, followed by outdoor ads (25%) and consumer magazines (19%). Content-led websites also were in the positive (7%), as were TV ads (2%). By contrast, branded social media pages (-22%), original branded video content (-28%), and online display ads (-47%) were among the majority of channels in the red.
Paid media and content marketing are important for different reasons, obviously, and responses to the study make that quite clear. When it comes to the best ways for brands to make them aware of their products and services, a plurality of respondents rated TV ads as most important for each of the 5 verticals (travel, telecoms, retail, automotive, and finance) tracked. Content-led brand websites were a common second- or third-most important choice.
When it came to the the best ways for brands to help consumers find out more about their products and services, though, content-led brand websites overtook TV as most important for travel and telecoms, while sitting a close second to TV in the retail, auto, and finance verticals.
Finally, in terms of the best ways for brands to enable consumers to compare products, content-led websites were voted most important, while content-led emails topped the list for ways in which brands could enable consumers to select and make purchases of products and services.
In other words, paid media – especially TV ads – are most important for the start of the customer journey, while content takes over towards the end, for conversion.
About the Data: Seven worked with YouGov to survey members of the UK’s Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) as well as a representative sample of 2,000 British consumers.