Branded Content Global Trends – How Do You Stack Up To Other Publishers?

February 22, 2018

2017 was a successful year for the publishing industry! We estimated that global branded content spend was approximately $5 billion USD, and is expected to reach $7 billion in 2018. Anticipating this strong growth, we are releasing our branded content benchmarks report that looks at aggregate data for 2017. This newest report deep-dives into global trends, device performance and a geo-specific analysis for major markets such as Australia, United Kingdom, and United States.

At Polar, we are dedicated to supporting the premium publishing industry. We work extensively to ensure publishers get the attention and recognition they deserve by providing a technology solution that aims to grown premium publisher’s branded content business. Our platform offers insights reporting that allows our publishing partners to action on best practices that will help drive branded content performance and growth.

In Case you Missed It, Here’s A Look At Our Best Performing Content Marketing In 2017

2017 Branded Content Benchmark Report Highlights

Global Highlights:

  • Global average click-through rate to branded content was 0.24 percent.
  • Readers spent an average of 110 seconds reading branded content.

Device Highlights:

  • Smartphone accounted for more than 50 percent of total branded content views.
  • Time-spent with branded content on smartphones was the longest, 70 percent stronger than desktop.
  • Smartphone CTR was 82 percent stronger than desktop.

Regional highlights:

  • Australia: Smartphone outperformed desktop overall average time spent engaging with branded content by 102 percent.
  • United Kingdom: Tablet saw the highest overall average click-through rate of 0.34 percent, outperforming smartphone by 17 percent.
  • United States: Q1 and Q2 had the strongest click-through rate of year, beating the overall average of 0.23 percent by 26 percent in Q1 and 21 percent in Q2.

What Our Benchmark Data Analyzes

Before we dive into the benchmarks data, it’s important for you to understand the reader experience and how this is measured. In this report, the reader experience is measured by two metrics, click-through rate (CTR) and average engagement time (ATS) or dwell time.

Pre-Click Experience

  • Pre-click refers to a promotional unit or native ad for the branded content.
  • Benchmark success data analyzes click-through rate (CTR).

Post-Click Experience

  • Post-click refers to a branded content landing page after the click.
  • Benchmark Success data analyzes average engagement time (ATS).

Global Branded Content Performance & Trends

CTR Performance Peaked In Q2 Last Year, beating the global average of 0.24 percent by 11 percent. The remainder of the year stayed consistent, hovering around the overall global average click-through rate.

Users Spend Almost 2 Minutes Reading Branded Content

As you can see, the first 3 quarters of 2017 were all above the global average of 110 seconds. Q1 proved to be the champion, beating the global overall average by 8 percent.

Smartphones Drive The Most Views To Branded Content

Smartphone proved itself worthy in 2017, demonstrating its strong performance as the prominent device for branded content consumption. Below shows a breakdown by quarter of share of views between desktop, smartphone and tablet.

Smartphones & Tablets Had The Strongest CTR Performance

Over the past year, mobile has continued to be the primary driver of views to branded content. As you can see, smartphone and tablet had the strongest click-through performance, both outperforming the global average CTR of 0.24 percent.

Users Are Most Engaged While On Their Smartphones

Readers that consume branded content on their smartphones surpassed readers that consume on desktop and tablet. Smartphone outperformed the global average engagement time of 110 seconds by 17 percent.

Learn More In The Full Report

Polar’s newest benchmarks provides an in-depth look at how branded content is performing across different device types, publisher verticals and geographies for major markets including Australia, United Kingdom and United States.

Get the full 26-page report right here.

Have an idea for a future blog post or want more insights on an existing topic? Let us know, we’re always looking for new content.



Polar’s Snapshot of Global Branded Content Performance presents the complete picture for major markets and publishers this past year. This benchmarks report presents a detailed look at global aggregate performance data, as well as specific performance across Australia, United States, and United Kingdom.