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4 tips for authentic branded content

3 minute read | Arica McKinnon, VP, Solutions Consulting, Nielsen | November 2021

Audiences are finely tuned to advertising. They can scroll, skip and block ads on their way to enjoying their favorite content. But what stops someone from scrolling—and starting to engage? Content that interests them and breaks through the noise. One increasingly popular method for brands to get their message across is the use of branded content. Rather than an obvious product placement, think of different types of content like sponsored blog posts, short form videos or influencer marketing. This kind of content has emerged as a way for brands to cultivate a more engaging experience.

So how do brands start creating impactful branded content?

Provide value 

The power of branded content is its ability to integrate seamlessly into the consumer experience—while simultaneously acting as another vehicle for brands to create content the audience actually cares about. Imagine a simple cocktail recipe using the newest hard seltzer brand, or a DIY home improvement tutorial video. Lots of times it’s a celebrity or athlete candidly showing us how to make the recipe or using their favorite product in the tutorial. And when it comes to this “How-To” genre of branded content, Nielsen found that, on average, 83% of target audiences felt brands paired well with the content—inherently creating trust between the brand/advertiser and consumer.

Find the right fit 

Where branded content really shines is its organic and personalized approach. By finding the right blog, social platform or influencer, brands can best engage and bond with their target consumers by relating to their real lives. This fit is more important than ever today—given how conscientious consumers are about the need for real-life brands to reflect their own personal brand and values. In fact, 90%of Americans express favorability toward companies that prioritize well-being in their messaging. And recent Nielsen branded content studies show that, on average, 72% of audiences felt that the talent, like an influencer, was a good fit with the brand. However, only one-third felt that the content was authentic. Branded content doesn’t end with matching the right promoters to your brand, it must also come across as genuine. 

Consistency, consistency, consistency 

The way you grow die-hard brand loyalists is by establishing your brand purpose—and consistently demonstrating that promise. Branded content is widely popular on social media platforms. As these platforms give brands unlimited touchpoints with consumers, consistency is key for staying top of mind in the crowded content space. We found that, on average, only 71% of audiences could recall the brand featured in the content without prompting. If audiences aren’t first recalling content, how can we expect them to grow into brand advocates?

Measure impact

Like all marketing, the only way to know if your branded content is actually working is to measure its performance. You may think your messaging inspires feelings of trustworthiness, innovation, or excitement—but how do you know if you’ve missed the mark? The only way to know for sure is through measurement of top funnel brand KPIs like awareness, familiarity and favorability.

When branded content is built into marketing strategies and supported by real consumer voices, brands and audiences alike can enjoy more authentic and lasting interactions.

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