Consumers cynical over content marketing motivations

Consumers cynical over content marketing motivations
Liz Morrell is a freelance business journalist and content creator with more than 20 years writing experience, including 15 in retail and associated sectors. She is a regular contributor to MarketingTech but also covers a number of other industries in her freelance capacity. Contact her via LinkedIn or at

Branded content is one of the hottest topic in marketing just now but a new report suggests that consumers are beginning to distrust branded content and the motivations behind it.

The research, from international content company ONE TWO FOUR, found that more than half (55%) of consumers believe that brands produce content just to make money. YouGov surveyed 2,000 UK consumers to assess their views on branded content.

Whilst of course that is the underlying business motivation the figures suggest brands have to be subtler in their content marketing strategies. The study seeks to identify how UK consumers perceive branded content – and enable brands to better target their audiences with content as a result.

The cynicism of customers is worrying. 44% of those surveyed said that they felt that brands used content to convince them the brand was better than others.

How and when brands target consumers is also turning them off, according to the study. 50% said that when brands produce intrusive content they are likely to think less of a brand whilst 43% said that content that makes assumptions about who they are and what they think will also turn them away.

The research shows that one of the biggest content marketing strategies is for content that entertains – since that is the most memorable. Being entertaining, useful or informative all increases the likelihood that consumers will think more positively about a brand rather than if they simply feel sold to. The study showed that Facebook was the most popular digital platform for consuming content for 38% of respondents whilst 30% viewed content through YouTube.

Sandra Peat, strategy director at ONE TWO FOUR, said consumers are firmly in the driving seat when it comes to communications. “They are both savvy and cynical when it comes to brands and communications, making the challenge ever more difficult when it comes to producing content that cuts through. From our research, it is clear that brands need to give more attention to ensuring that they add value to their consumers, while of course meeting the required objectives for their brand,” she said.

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