Report Finds Branded Content Campaigns Grew 75% In Q2

A global report tracking the performance of branded content in the second quarter identified a number of key findings. For example, the overall average click-through rate remained constant at 0.31%, while the overall average dwell time or time spent was two minutes and 36 seconds.

Additional findings included:

  • Branded content views increased by 2.2x.
  • Views from APAC increased by 4.5x.
  • The number of active campaigns grew by 75%.
  • The number of active creatives grew by 111%.

Polar’s Q2 Benchmarks Report on Branded Content offers a snapshot into performance metrics across three device types, eight different countries and geographic regions, and six major publisher verticals.

A few other notable highlights:

  • The best-performing device type were tablets, with a 0.40% click-through rate (CTR).
  • U.S. audiences spent the most time engaging with branded content, at two minutes and 54 seconds.
  • Arts & entertainment publishers had the highest CTRs, at 0.47%.

With respect to geo-specific engagement performance, the Polar research found that time spent engaging with branded content indicated different levels of market maturity. For example, more mature publishers in North America (the U.S. and Canada) that have been running branded content programs for several years, tend to have much higher average-time-spent (ATS) metrics.

Typically, these audiences are more accustomed to viewing and engaging with branded content. The U.K. and Australia have respectable time-spent metrics: around the two-minute mark. Publishers in continental European and Asia-Pacific countries are still familiarizing audiences with branded content and track lower ATS metrics of around one minute.

On device type click-through performance, the research found that views on mobile and tablet devices now represent 40% of total views of branded content--a number that's growing rapidly. Mobile and tablet devices also continue to see strong CTR performance at 0.37% and 0.40%, respectively.

When comparing CTR performance to engagement metrics on different device types, mobile and tablet continue to see lower time spent than desktop—typically around two minutes.

The findings suggest that publishers should provide more "snack-sized" content for mobile audiences that can be consumed quickly while consumers are on the go, Greg Bella, director, product marketing, Polar, told Native Insider.

4 comments about "Report Finds Branded Content Campaigns Grew 75% In Q2".
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  1. Roger Wu from Cooperatize, August 12, 2016 at 10:40 a.m.

    Is CTR still a metric? Google has eliminated the need for people to click through on content (I know that I can find the product / website by Googling a few simple terms when it is convenient for me), the experience on mobile is horrible (anyone that has clicked through on a Facebook article leading them to Safari knows this), and clicks interrupt my current flow of consuming content on the platform of my choice (i.e. Facebook or Twitter).  Perhaps a more telling metric is understanding if the given content has led to a Google search .... 

  2. Mani Gandham from Instinctive, August 12, 2016 at 12:11 p.m.

    While clicks aren't the greatest metric, these CTR's are very low for native ads, and actually approachign display levels. We regularly get between 1-5% for well integrated and contextually relevant native content. 

    It's important to see what the actual placements and experience are like for consumers as that makes the biggest difference by far with native ads. I wonder if this increase in campaigns comes with an equivalent decrease in ad and placement quality. 

  3. Tobi Elkin from MediaPost, August 12, 2016 at 12:17 p.m.

    Hi Mani,
    I was wondering if this is an extremely low CTR rate for native. What do you attribute the difference between the CTR rates you're seeing and Polar's Q2 research?

  4. Mani Gandham from Instinctive replied, August 12, 2016 at 2:58 p.m.

    Hey Tobi,

    Polar typically works with on-site content like us, rather that clicking out to other sites, so this difference is likely some combination of ad placement, design and content quality.

    For example, we've noticed that more intrusive placements (like in the middle of an article) will have higher viewability but actually get less clicks. It's also important to have engaging content of course and this is usually the first component to suffer as campaigns scale in size and quantity. There might also be optimization issues in keeping low-performing ad variations around or using the wrong metrics to optimize against if the system is slow to respond or doesn't have enough (good) data.

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