Is Branded Content Working? Yes, Says Joint Research From Ipsos Connect & Polar

May 16, 2017

The big question on the minds of every publisher and advertiser these days – does branded content really work?

The short answer? “Yes!” But what do we mean by “work?”

Over the next five years, premium branded content is expected to mature into a $13 billion opportunity for publishers. Given the heavy investment advertisers will make in content advertising, it’s increasingly important for publishers to provide evidence and proof that these dollars are having a positive impact.

Earlier this year we partnered with the Ipsos Connect team to answer the question of how effective branded content is. More importantly, we wanted to find out if there were opportunities for publishers to make the content even more impactful.

Our research objectives were twofold; does branded content work? And, are there specific best practices that publishers can employ to further improve its impact. With that in mind, we have produced A Guide to Brand Measurement, a joint research paper how premium publishers can make branded content more effective.

The “effectiveness” of branded content centers on these brand KPIs:

  • Unaided Awareness (“Brand Awareness”)
  • Purchase Intent (“Persuasion”)
  • Brand Equity (“Value”)
  • Retransmission (“Shareability”)
  • Content Descriptors (“Uniqueness)

“It’s now essential for publishers to have the strong brand lift data available. Marketers now expect us to demonstrate a meaningful impact from any branded content program. Different marketer objectives require nuanced executions, regardless of the format.”

– Josh Stinchcomb, Chief Experience Officer, Condé Nast

How we conducted our research

Polar identified a variety of branded content that had run on its platform in three different content formats. (Article, Video, and Image) categories (CPG, Financial Services,Technology, Home Goods, B2B, and brand integrations (Sponsored Editorial, Custom Content: Light Integration, Custom Content: Heavy Integration).

Using an Ipsos Connect owned and curated website, potential respondents were sent to view the content in a natural viewing experience and then answer a series of brand key-performance-indicator (KPI) questions.

Here is a snapshot of the insights we found:

  • Consumer awareness of a brand increased to 69 percent after engaging with branded content; purchase intent increased to 51 percent.
  • Incorporating companion display ads alongside branded content improved purchase intent by 17 percent and did not have any negative impact on brand perception.
  • Purchase intent was slightly higher when consumed on desktop, yet certain categories, like consumer packaged goods, performed better on mobile.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words – infographics and image galleries performed the strongest among content formats; video is not always needed to tell the story.
  • Less is more with branded content – publishers don’t always need to heavily incorporate brand messaging and products to make an impact for the advertiser.

The full research report dives deep into these 5 key findings, further describes the methodology and provides examples of the content we used to experiment.

[Full Report] Click Here To Get Your Free Copy



JULY 2017

Polar’s Snapshot of Global Branded Content Performance presents the complete picture for major markets and publishers this past quarter.