Study: Branded Content Doubles Recall Compared to Display Ads

Well the big news -- apart from the fact that Facebook has been over inflating its video view figures and Dentsu admitted to overcharging 111 clients -- is...wait for it...branded content is twice as memorable as display ads. Who knew? I mean that's kind of a shocker right? People think content -- you know, the tuff you watch and read to find out about stuff you want to know -- is more interesting that an ad. I'm telling you, these studies are so eye-opening!

According to this new study conducted by IPG Media Lab, Forbes and the Newhouse School at Syracuse, branded content just kills it when compared to display advertising in terms of recall, brand perception  and intent/consideration. 

The study found brand recall to be 59 percentage points higher for branded content, and consumers were 14 percent more likely to seek out more content from the brands after a single exposure to branded content. In addition to aided recall’s 59 percentage point increase, brand favorability was 7 percentage points higher and purchase consideration was 9 percentage points higher. Also, aided ad recall showed a 17 percentage point improvement when measured against a similar 2013 study conducted by the IPG Media Lab.

Of the findings, Forbes Media CMO Tom Davis said, “This study has demonstrated that branded content has a significant impact across the entire marketing funnel and should be an area of emphasis for our
brand partners. One key finding is that branded content outperforms display ads and is twice as memorable. Yet the combination of the two on the same page drives the best results.”

As found in the study, branded content may improve lasting interest in the brand as consumers were 14 percentage points more likely to say they intend to seek out more information about the brand in the
future. In terms of content length, 18-34 year olds responded better to long articles, showing increased engagement rates and aiding recall.

Forbes readers were recruited from and a representative online panel between May 26 and June 30, 2016. After qualifying for the test, consumers were randomized into a test cell where they viewed a single web page. Participants were then asked a series of branding questions, as well as qualitative feedback. The IPG Media Lab conducted the same test utilizing different brands in 2013.







3 comments about "Study: Branded Content Doubles Recall Compared to Display Ads".
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  1. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, September 26, 2016 at 1:45 p.m.

    I'd ignore this study entirely - it's quite meaningless. 

    IPG won't reveal what they actually did on that web page or how they forced participants to deal with that web page.

    But here's what I think the true conclusion is:  "When you force people to read branded content recall is higher than when they ignore banner ads."

    And can I have a collective yawn while I fight my urge to scream at the top of my lungs because stuff like this gets passed along?

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 26, 2016 at 3:06 p.m.

    Maybe they should have used the IAB's definition of "viewable" in this study, Doug, with each rspondent "exposed to the ads only for three seconds. Then we would have a more "realistic" comparison.

  3. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, September 26, 2016 at 5:17 p.m.

    It's funny. The question in the study is kind of:  "If someone dedicates the time to read a 500 word article, do they learn more than if they see a product name?"

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