The once almighty Super Bowl commercial was the envy of branded content. Millions of viewers were glued to the screen to see what advertisers would come up with, and we saw some unforgettable spots such as “Mean” Joe Greene's famous Coca-Cola commercial.
Fast forward to today, and viewers are able to skip commercials, block ads, and ignore traditional advertising, and they have more platforms to watch across than ever before. As a result, companies are being forced to rethink how they capture consumers' attention.
Advertisers are also facing increased pressure to reach consumers as the number of media channels continues to expand. Making matters worse for advertisers, popular SVOD platforms like Netflix and Disney+ eschew advertising altogether.
All these changes mean that marketers are placing more emphasis on creating content people want to find, engage with, and share with others versus pushing content at them.
What Is Branded Content, and Why Is It Necessary to Your Business?
Branded content is advertiser-funded programming that audiences will watch by choice and can easily sit alongside the best in our entertainment culture. The media content—an online video on YouTube, a TV show series, or a post on social media—doesn't explicitly sell products but allows consumers to engage more organically with a brand. As a result, the brand benefits through association with the content, and building trust and loyalty with consumers.
A good example is Apple's recent film Escape from the Office, part of its acclaimed Underdog series, about four downtrodden employees escaping the clutches of their evil boss to set up their own business. Over 35 million people have viewed the nine-minute short on YouTube since it launched in March 2022.
Then, of course, there is Red Bull. The energy drink brand has pushed the boundaries by producing a wealth of adrenaline-fueled branded content, from Felix Baumgartner's 2012 freefall from the edge of space to a recent series following the exploits of Olympic gold medal-winning freestyle skier Eileen Gu.
In addition, the North Face has won attention for its powerful documentary Learning to Drown, which explores mental health against the backdrop of extreme sports.
The Rise of Branded Videos
According to a recent Advertiser Perceptions report, more than half of advertisers using branded content and influencers say branded content is more critical than it used to be.
Many think there is something deeper explaining the renewed focus on branded content, such as videos. Although research shows that this form of storytelling has become a highly efficient way to communicate with new and upcoming consumer groups, it seems there is a greater emphasis on meaningful stories that resonate with consumers who will gladly support brands that represent their values and lifestyles.
The Benefits of Branded Content
Branded content is highly effective at evoking emotions. Research by Turner Ignite and Realeyes concluded that viewers of branded content were 62% more likely to show a positive reaction than those who watched 30-second ads. And since branded content typically tells a strong story, emotional engagement increased by 31% during the viewing experience. Their research also found that 67% of consumers find branded content more influential, and 17% reported being “very likely” to purchase from featured brands. In addition, a study by Nielsen showed that consumers recall brands more after seeing branded content than pre-roll ads.
The “how” part of this equation has been solved by many advertisers using programmatic advertising, which is automation driven by an AI backbone that bids on auctions for optimal advertisement slots across various channels as a visitor is loading a page. This ability to reach a target audience directly with branded content they want to engage with will open up opportunities for expanding business and optimizing your ROI on your digital media ads.
Media Content That Is Culturally Accurate
When developing your next branded content piece, ensure it is culturally accurate to the audience you want to reach. MediaNEXT offers various solutions to communicate your message around the world. Learn more about our services and solutions.