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Branded Content vs. Pre-Roll Ads

Jul 26, 2016

Your business may be at a point where significant marketing decisions are being made.  The question of where, how, and how much may also be top of mind when laying out a strategic road map for your marketing activities.  As you explore your options (and there are many) you may come to a point where you are questioning whether branded content, content marketing, native content, or whatever or name you call is a flavour of the month or the new standard.

While this type of marketing that provides consumers and prospective clients with engaging, entertaining and informative content that stands alone without a hard sales pitch is not new, it is becoming incrementally important to the overall marketing mix.  A study published by Nielsen reveals some stunning insight into the effectiveness of branded content in relation to pre-roll ads. The study revealed three key takeaways that can help you get the maximum performance from the content you create regardless of the format or medium.

1. Branded content delivers higher brand recall than pre-roll ads

Nielsen’s study looked at 100 pieces of branded content to study their effectiveness in a few key performance indicators (KPIs).  According to the report, “branded content generated an average of 86% brand recall among viewers, compared with 65% from the pre-roll ad.”  Branded content also ranked higher on affinity, intent to purchase, and intent to recommend.

2. Consumers respond to great content

It should come as no surprise that good content makes consumers more receptive to the brand.  The challenge is how “good” or even “great” content is defined.  For the purposes of their study Nielsen measured the quality of the content based on the intent to view future episodes.  The results were a correlation between the level of intent to view future episodes and whether the impression on the consumer was positive or negative.  Achieve a positive influence on the consumer, brands must create content with their core audience in mind.  Nielsen found that that the “for people like me” description of a piece of content was most indicative of the intent to view.

3. Location matters

The final factor that can boost the performance of your branded content is where it is published, and more importantly by whom.  Nielsen found that brands that published their content with a third party publisher saw a 50% increase in brand lift over those who published the content on their own.  Finding publishers like blogs, popular Instagram accounts, or YouTube channels allows to leverage the attention and the trust of the audience you are trying to reach.

Make Dinner, not Rolls.

When you go to a restaurant and order dinner you are often given some rolls before the courses are served.  These rolls, much like pre-roll ads, offer little substance or nutritional value, and you often regret having so many before a delicious meal.   Branded content is about making dinner. Creating the reason people gather.  Create branded content that puts your guests first, that will give them no reason to regret trusting you with that time.  If you do so, not only will they return to try everything on the menu, they will talk about you to their friends, family and coworkers.