A new study – admittedly by US publisher Time Inc – has found generations X, Y and Z actually prefer to see and read branded content over traditional advertising. And they trust it more, too.
The publisher (of titles including Time, People and Sports Illustrated) surveyed 17,000 people aged 15-45 to determine how they felt about custom content and how brands fit into their worlds.
Of those surveyed, 90 per cent agreed they liked the idea of custom content as a way of brands to engage with them, while 89 per cent agreed it was a great way for brands to break through all of marketers’ noise and clutter.
Two-thirds of the respondents said they actually trusted branded content more than traditional forms of advertising.
And it was the Zs (those born after 2000) who appeared most interested in branded content. Some 93 per cent of Z respondents said they wanted brands to do something clever and unique to try and connect with them rather than just blanket bomb them with ads.
Eighty eight per cent of the Zs said custom content was particularly useful for new brands trying to reach unknown consumers.
A further 84 per cent of Zs think custom content is a way to engage with them and 72 per cent want brands to use video and infographics for better storytelling or data exploration.
The study also found that 93 per cent of people prefer brands to share interesting things via custom content that they may not have otherwise seen, and 92 per cent of respondents felt that brands have expertise on topics and add value to the content they’re already consuming as readers.
Time Inc recommended brands wanting to play in the custom content space should try to understand their audience to align the brand story with the audiences’ needs and interests; provide value through being entertaining, informing or providing utility; and ensuring the brand is an organic part of the content narrative.