Consumers Look to Company Websites First for Brand Content, Study Finds

Molly Soat
Marketing News Exclusives
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Key Takeaways
  • ​Consumers prefer to go to company websites rather than social media for product information, according to a survey by WP Engine Inc. and Taylor Nelson Sofres.
  • Fifty-two percent of respondents go directly to a company's website for branded content and product information, while 25% turn to social media, 22% go to third-party sites and 8% read company blogs.
  • For content formats, 25% of respondents prefer to read branded content in a news article format, while 21% look to feature-style articles and 17% like short articles reminiscent of blog posts.
Company websites draw more consumers than social media when it comes to product information and other brand-related content, according to a recent survey by WP Engine Inc., an Austin, Texas-based content management software provider.


The survey, fielded by Taylor Nelson Sofres, a London-based global market research firm, polled 1,000 American adult consumers (506 males, 494 females) online in April 2014 through TNS’s respondent community. More than half of respondents (52%) said that they go directly to a company’s website for branded content and product information, while 25% turn to social media, 22% go to third-party sites and 8% read company blogs.

When it comes to preferred content formats, 25% of respondents said that they prefer to read content from a brand in a news article format, while 21% look for feature-style articles, 17% like short articles reminiscent of blog posts, 14% prefer to watch branded videos and 11% look for “listicle” content such as much of the viral content from sites like Buzzfeed.

“Marketers really need to think of this as an ‘and’ strategy rather than an ‘or’ strategy because it’s clear from this study that consumers are looking at the website, they’re looking at blogs and they’re also looking at social,” says Heather Brunner, CEO of WP Engine. “Marketers today need to think about how to unify, and complement, all of that content. Take content from social streams and leverage it into a blog post; take original blog content and put it into the social stream; put social feedback from customers on your core website.”

More than 60% of respondents look for some type of content from their favorite brands through at least one type of online property. Of the content that they’d like to see, 44% look for product tips, 34% read stories from fellow customers and 19% want content that doesn’t blatantly “sell” a brand’s products. Forty-eight percent think it’s important for brands to create original Web content because it provides consumers with the most up-to-date product information (32%), it gives consumers a more personal connection with the company (16%) and it gives brands their own voice (15%).

The biggest surprise from the study, Brunner says, is that 96% of respondents aren’t interested in celebrity-endorsed content. “It’s a really interesting wake-up call for brands about how they can use the content they already have from their own employees, consumers and partners, which will not only speak to consumers better, but will also be more cost-effective.”

To read more about corporate content, check out “Building Blogs for B-to-B,” published in the September 2013 issue of Marketing News.

This article was originally published in the May 15, 2014, edition of

 
 
 

Author Bio:

Molly Soat
Molly Soat is a staff writer for Marketing News and Marketing News Exclusives. E-mail her at msoat@ama.org.
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