Content Mythbusting: What Content Do Consumers Really Want? Jennifer Taylor March 10th, 2016 How do consumers interact with content and how can marketers reach them? We’re diving into the data to shed light on the myths that mislead content strategies, and learn how marketers can craft strong content that moves the needle.Reaching An Audience With Built-in AdBlockToday you’re more likely to complete Navy Seal training, climb mount everest, or get a full house while playing poker before clicking on a banner ad. These stats shouldn’t be too surprising since consumers are increasingly frustrated by mobile ads, download ad blocking software, and believe that that advertising is “all spin and not authentic.”So what are audiences looking for? How can marketers deliver real value to audiences that switch to a different screen during commercials? To break through the noise, brands like Redbull and GoPro are playing the role of the publisher and supplementing traditional advertising with engaging content. But are consumers willing to trust brands to entertain and engage them?Do Consumers Trust Brands?To help marketers better understand what it means to “deliver value,” we surveyed 670 adults in the U.S. about their attitudes and behaviours towards online content. When asked if they were more or less likely to trust online content when it comes from a brand instead of a traditional publisher, the answer was a (very qualified) “yes.”We found that for a small segment of respondents, the strength of the brand name was enough to make them receptive to content. However, an overwhelming 43% of respondents replied that they were less likely to trust brands, and another 40% were unmoved by brand-published content.These results reinforce the notion that content marketing isn’t just about pushing products or producing the most content, but about building a relationship with the consumer over time through engaging content.The Rise of the Second ScreenBefore brands can begin developing a relationship with their audience, they need to know when, where, and how to reach them. However, pinning down precisely which channels and devices your target audience is using to connect to content can be difficult when browsing habits span multiple screens and vary widely by age.→ Myth #1: People are too busy to spend more time online.Our data revealed that on an average weekday, consumers reported spending over 17 hours engaged with content (which often exceeds the number of waking hours!). Consumers are Tweeting while they watch TV, listening to Spotify as they scroll through Instagram, and texting while streaming videos on YouTube. Their attention is rarely focused on a single screen or social channel.The table above represents the number of hours per day respondents reported spending on a given device. Although there’s a lot of chatter in the marketing world around the rise of mobile, the reality is that laptops and desktop computers are still leading the pack in total hours spent on a device. Many professions require people to spend the majority of their working day in front of a computer, and the rise of Netflix means younger demographics are spending more time watching TV on their laptops instead of the TV.→ Myth #2: The most important type of content is...video, infographics, podcasts, etc.To better understand how marketers can capture their audience’s attention we dove into the data to find out what types of content respondents were gravitating towards. When asked what kind of online content they had read or looked at in the past week Email came out on top.Email - 95.82%Articles - 90.45%Social Media - 79.85%Videos - 77.31%Infographics - 55.07%When forced to choose a “favourite” type of content, email and social media posts were most popular, with articles landing in third place.Social Media Posts - 23.43%Email - 22.54%Articles - 17.76%→ Myth #3: Everyone should be thinking mobile first.The medium also has a significant influence on user experience. Audiences preferred reading infographics, email, videos, and interactive content on laptops or desktops with responsive window sizes, while mobile was the preferred medium for quickly consumable content like social media or portable content like eBooks.The Million Dollar Question: Will content make the sale?What’s the takeaway? Our data revealed that the “always on” audience is certainly not an exaggeration. Audiences are browsing across multiple platforms to consume varying types of content throughout their day. In the midst of all this “noise” they appreciate channels that have the potential to deliver highly personalized and relevant content.We asked consumers how likely they would be to use different types of content to help them when making a major purchase. Our data revealed that choosing the right type of content plays a role in building trust and winning the sale.According to the data, respondents were more likely to rely on articles, videos, and social media posts when making a purchase. Consumers want to read peer reviews on blogs, get recommendations from their friends via social media, or watch unboxing videos before committing to a purchase.Audiences also want to form a connection with the brand before they take out their wallet. Faceless brands won’t forge a sense of trust with the audience. If social media and video content conveys a personality or gives consumers a glimpse behind-the-scenes, consumers will be more inclined to invest time and (eventually) money in that brand. Finally, it’s not surprising that email repeatedly came out on top. Today’s audiences are oversaturated with content, and they’re looking for highly personalized experiences that target their specific needs and interests. Email gives marketers the opportunity to deliver relevant content directly to their inbox, cutting out the clutter found on social.As marketers shift from interruptive forms of advertising towards more subtle forms of engagement, delivering value is the key to both successful marketing and a successful business. Just because we’re creating more content doesn’t mean the audience is growing. At the end of the day, producing the right content is more effective than producing the most content.