Branded content a powerful tool in purchase decision-making for Aussies, News Corp reports

New research commissioned by News Corp Australia reveals that branded content has become a powerful tool in the purchase decision-making process for everyday Australian consumers.

Unveiled at News Corp Australia’s virtual event, The Purchase Funnel is Dead: How Brands Killed it with Content, detailed the value to marketers of premium content.  

 The main findings, undertaken by global cultural insights and strategy consultancy firm Crowd DNA, uncovered statistics that showed awareness of brand content and engagement is high, with 43% of Australians surveyed engaging with brand content at least daily.

However, only 34% of Australians surveyed believe brands are truly meeting their content needs, opening up a huge opportunity for brands and content marketers to improve their offering.

Nearly three quarters of those surveyed engage with brand content weekly, and that figure rises to 90% for 18 to 24 year-olds. It is also driving brand preference, with three in four consumers feeling more positively towards a brand that provides them with valuable content.

Source: News Corp’s The Purchase Funnel is Dead: How Brands Killed it with Content presentation 

In addition, the report showed that brand content now sits at the very centre of what the research defines as a “new purchase cycle”, with the ability to consistently connect a consumer to a brand.

Brand content is a key entry point to a brand ecosystem for 70% of consumers. It aids in the consideration or evaluation of brands with two in three agreeing that brand content makes it easier to decide what brands/products to buy. 84% took some form of action (buy, share, follow, save) and 34% purchased a product, after engaging with a recent piece of brand content.

The research also found that brand content can drive advocacy for a brand, with 48% of respondents feeling proud to share a great piece of content that comes from a brand they like, while 60% of consumers look forward to receiving content from brands they like. It also aids brand loyalty, facilitating an ongoing emotional connection and affinity with brands. Meanwhile, six in ten look forward to receiving content from brands they like.

One in two consumers believe staying connected to a brand through its content makes them feel part of a community. One in five say brand content adds value to their everyday life, and 70% are proud to support a brand that aligns to their values and beliefs.

News Corp Australia’s managing director, commercial content Mike Connaghan, said the research validates why content marketing spend continues to grow, and how the Australian government has really “under-utilised content marketing”. 

“Consumers understand and truly value content marketing. They have given brands permission to present them with premium content directly on their own channels. They expect it to be useful, educational, inspirational and even entertaining – and, if it fulfils this criteria, brand content will flatten the path to purchase,” said Connaghan. “Make no mistake, the rise of content marketing represents the kind of opportunity for brands to turn their customers into fans. As the research tells us, consumers are now marketing savvy and they see the two way exchange of utility content as a win-win. ‘Advertising is the sell, content is the tell’.”

Connaghan commented: “I have done a lot of work over the years with government, and I think content marketing for government is absolutely under-utilised, as we have seen with the new research, there’s permission and an expectation from the consumer out there, and there is no bigger consumer group than what the government has and delivering its message from government through fantastic utility content, is a wonderful opportunity for governments and a really powerful avenue for them to take.”

Connaghan added that one brand who has successfully embraced content to help establish a market-leading position amid the COVID-19 pandemic is Qantas.

“Qantas has continued to produce the magazine and send it to its frequent flyers members. It’s keeping their relationship with its customers alive. Qantas are so smart at using content to keep the conversation going with the customer,” he said.

At this year’s Mumbrella Publish Awards, News Corp’s content agency Medium Rare scooped five wins; among them, Kate Barnett for Designer of the Year, and Qantas Magazine for Best Sustained COVID-19 Initiative.

Crowd DNA managing director for APAC, Elyse Pigram, said rapid and recent shifts in consumer expectations, accelerated through COVID-19, are driving demand for brand content.

“In a post-COVID world, exploring new ideas and experiences has never been more important, and brand content is becoming key to facilitating new discoveries. 70% of consumers agree that brand content helped them discover new brands and three quarters expect brands to deliver relevant content,” said Pigram.

This study, conducted by Crowd DNA, consisted of three phases: cultural landscaping to uncover social conversations around brand content, remote mission-based research to uncover the role of brand content in consumers’ everyday lives, and a quantitative study of 1,000 Australians to substantiate the findings. 


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