Content production levels are steadily increasing, but consumers still desire accurate, informative and relevant blogs and videos more than anything else, according to an extensive new report on branded content published by computer software company Adobe.
When asked to rank six characteristics of content from the most important to the least important, “accurate” came out on top, with 38% saying it was a primary factor and two-thirds placing it into their top two. With the recent rise of fake news, it seems consumers are eager for brands to serve up content that is error-free. This notion is supported in other recent studies, which found that mistakes can lead to a loss of consumer trust.
“Informative” was next on the list, which isn’t surprising, but the fact that “simple” content was the third most important factor for respondents – ahead of “entertaining,” “interactive” and “beautifully designed” content – suggests many consumers prefer more basic written word blogs and articles over flashy and media-rich formats. However, the report found that Millennials do like to see more beautiful content when compared with baby boomers.
Adobe then asked consumers about the most annoying aspects of brand content. Four in ten said they didn’t like pieces that were not relevant to them or their life situation, while a similar number said any content that was poorly written or too wordy was a common pet peeve. This result ties into the notion of “simple” content identified earlier.
These annoyances are also potentially disastrous, as two-thirds of respondents said their presence would lead them to consider not purchasing from a brand in the future. Mobile-optimised content is also important, as almost half said they abandon content online if it takes more than a few seconds to load up. A further 45% said they leave a site if it is difficult to interact with on a smartphone.
Finally, the study found that most consumers do not share content on a regular basis, but a third said they would if it was raising awareness for a good cause. Content that offers an incentive, and is informative and not promotional, is also deemed more shareable. People are more cautious about sharing content compared to five years ago, but they still trust content served by online news sources and traditional publishers.
A separate study by GlobalWebIndex has found that content plays an increasingly bigger role in the lives of Gen-Z teens, with 45% claiming they use social platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, as a content consumption tool rather than to meet and talk with friends.
“Above all, social media serves as a content consumption tool for this young generation,” GlobalWebIndex’s report adds. “Our data shows an unexpected motivation for Gen Z – they are more likely to be using social media to fill up spare time and find entertainment, rather than to stay in touch with friends.”
Both studies indicate that marketers have a lot of work to do to deliver the right content and messages, but a common theme is that there is an ever-growing desire for engaging and relevant forms of content.