Majority of consumers say branded content is low quality 

Cannes Lions 2014: Three quarters of consumers rate the quality of branded content as low or average, according to a global study into how and why branded content is shared.

social media

The study, a 16-country online survey of over 6,500 respondents done by Social@Ogilvy and SurveyMonkey, looks at global social media content sharing and shows that nearly all social media users read or watch branded content but only a quarter do so on a regular basis.

Overall, 46 per cent actively share content on their social media profiles and more than a third (36%) say they mainly share content to promote a cause or issue they feel strongly about. Six in ten say they see too many ads, while a little over a third (36 percent) say that the amount of branded or ad content is about right.

Thomas Crampton, global managing director of Social@Ogilvy said: “This is something that every brand is struggling to figure out. The era of translating your tagline and switching your celebrity are finished because engagement is the measure of success within social.”

The study reveals differences in the mature and emerging markets in that informative or educational content is shared more frequently among mature markets (43%), while emerging markets across the globe drive conversation via funny or entertaining content (40%).

Further market differences in the study show that country barriers to freedom of speech and press play a crucial role in the type of source that content sharers engage with and trust. Asian markets (27%) say they are more likely to use content from established media outlets as a way to share their own perspective, compared to that of their European counterparts (19%).

Crampton adds: “You have to be careful you are addressing your audience in the right way. The things that cause people to share and engage with content varied tremendously with local nuances so you can’t just roll out a simple global campaign.”

By country the most active ‘sharers’ are China, Hong Kong and Brazil and the least active is Japan, USA and Germany. Further to this Hong Kong, USA, and Korea react most negatively to ads, with over a quarter of users in each country saying that ads are the most off-putting type of content they see.

Another key finding for brands is that the source of the content has less significance as four in ten (40%) respondents say that the source is not important as long as it is interesting. There is also a lack of recognition for the content owners as the companies that respondents say produce the most interesting content are the publishers or portals, such as Facebook, YouTube and Google.

Similarly, content volume is not a deal breaker as only seven per cent of those surveyed cite too much volume as the most off-putting content they see.