Digital Magazines in the Time of Branded Content

Study shows trust in branded content; Bloomberg proves value of branded content; Digital magazines aided by branded content from major publisher

Content marketers, digital magazines and publishers are turning towards branded content to build better partnerships and audiences. We look at three stories for a glimpse at branded content’s influence currently.

Let’s begin today with some recent data on the trustworthiness of branded content in the eyes of consumers. MediaPost reports, “The findings of a new study by Time Inc. reveal that two in three consumers trust branded content more than traditional advertising. For the study, the publisher sought to understand how GenZ, Millennials, and GenX consumers respond to and engage with branded native and branded content and referred to both as “custom content”.”

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Here’s a deeper look at some of the statistics: “Specifically, the study found that GenZ is quite open to custom content, with 93% of respondents in that demographic saying they want to see brands do something new, unique, or creative to get their attention; 88% indicating that custom content feels like a good way for new brands it hasn’t heard of to reach them; 84% agreeing that custom content is a way for brands to engage them, and 72% wanting video and infographics to better explore a story or data. GenZ respondents are “a visual bunch. When they see content that matters and that’s relevant, they want to use all the components of storytelling to get into it,” said Chris Schraft, president, enterprise content sales and agency development for The Foundry, Time Inc.’s content studio.”

Additionally, we see a significant amount of respondents showing interest in custom content. “…The study found that 90% of those polled like the idea of custom content as a way for brands to engage them, 89% believe custom content is a great way for brands to break through the clutter, 93% like brands sharing interesting things they may not have otherwise seen, and 92% believe brands have expertise on topics and add value to content.”

Our next story focuses is on Bloomberg and its evolving relationship with branded content. Digiday reports, “As more money flows into branded content, marketers are searching for more evidence of its effectiveness.”

For Bloomberg Media Studios, this means partnering with third-party research agency DVJ Insights to supply clients with more metrics associated with brand-building campaigns, like brand association, perception and purchase intent. This is in addition to the usual ad metrics often associated with the display campaigns, like click-through rates, dwell times and pageviews.”

The article continues by discussing the success the company has experienced with the help of branded content. “For Bloomberg, revenue from content marketing has seen at least double-digit growth in the last year, but the company didn’t want to share specific details. Bloomberg’s content partnerships with brands often run for two to three years. Shorter branded-content campaigns may have more direct-response goals, like driving clicks or downloads, rather than overall perception change.”

Our final story looks at a major publisher of digital magazines and its foray into custom content. WWD reports, “Condé Nast Britain, like so many media companies nowadays, is hearing the siren call of branded content — and is setting up a whole division to promote and develop it.”

The division’s goal, Conde said, is to “provide consumer engagement for advertising partners.” Head of branded content commercial, Tristan Taylor, will oversee staff including video, editorial, data and social.”

Do you need help developing digital magazines or creating partnerships for the ones you have? If your publishing business is on the verge of a major transition and you’re looking for leadership on that journey, please schedule a time to speak with us. We have considerable experience with restructuring publishing teams to accommodate digital transformations, and would like to help you with this significant change.


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