Content marketing is ineffective! At least that’s the tweet that prompted my visit to a PRNewser post. Notice the URL touts the finding:
How effective is content marketing: Not very
Many of you are likely disturbed by this — after all, you’ve been spending nearly $2 billion a year (collectively) on content marketing, up over 13% year over year. If content marketing is ineffective, you’ve just wasted billions of dollars and a lot of time.
Despite its sensational headline, the post doesn’t deliver — an overused tactic that might easily backfire by decreasing reputation and the effectiveness of future content marketing efforts.
When reading the post, which was a total waste of 10 minutes of my time, you find the article only addresses the effectiveness of SPONSORED content. I’ve never been a fan of using sponsored content for just the reasons identified in the article — sponsored content seems a little spammy and not trustworthy.
Sponsored content marketing is ineffective
Of course, using this as the title isn’t quite as sexy as hinting that the content marketing we’ve all done, especially since changes to Google’s algorithm that basically mandate content marketing if you want to show up in search, doesn’t work. Is content marketing a total fail? Yikes!
So, what are sponsored posts?
Also called native advertising, sponsored content involves paid stories and videos usually posted on high-traffic news sites, like Buzzfeed. But, ask marketing professionals and internet users to define sponsored posts and you get a lot of different answers from the definition above (fewer than 50% of users agree with this definition) to sponsored tweets to various kinds of content.
Often, the content isn’t even written by the company sponsoring the post, according to the Chartbeat study.
Regardless of how you define it, users DON’T like it — sponsored content. In the chart above, you see only 24% of readers scroll through sponsored content, versus 71% who scroll through “normal” content produced on websites.
To investigate attitudes toward sponsored content further, Contently surveyed nearly 550 adult internet users. Their finding show the poor reputation built by sponsored content:
- Two-thirds of readers have felt deceived upon realizing that an article or video was sponsored by a brand.
- 54 percent of readers don’t trust sponsored content.
- 59 percent of readers believe a news site loses credibility if it runs articles sponsored by a brand.
- As education level increases, so does mistrust of sponsored content.
Do consumers think content marketing is ineffective?
NO! In fact, users like normal content — both in terms of their engagement, sentiment about the brand creating the content, and buying behavior.
If you want to see a cute animated video I created containing facts about the value of content marketing, I think you’ll enjoy it and learn something, too.
Or, take a look at some facts that lay to rest an notion that content marketing is ineffective.
- Improved sentiment. 61% of consumers “feel better” about brands posting valuable content and are more likely to buy from them
- Increased engagement. Content marketing is one of the top reasons why consumers “follow” a brand on social networks
- Better search results. Brands with blogs have 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links. And, better close rates. Search closes 14+% versus 1.7% for traditional marketing
- Lower costs. Brands with blogs have an average cost/ lead of $143, compared with $373 from traditional marketing
- More leads. Brand with blogs generate 67% more leads
- Trustworthiness. 58% of consumers trust content.
If you aren’t convinced theirs a difference in the effectiveness of sponsored content versus normal content check out this 2014 State of Native Advertising from Copyblogger and you’ll learn why sponsored content marketing is ineffective:
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