Storytelling

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Part
01

Storytelling

Within the research below, several insights, statistics, and metrics have been presented to address the effectiveness of online advertising, consumer trust in advertising, branded content effectiveness, and strategies to increase trust. Many of the data points have been provided verbatim so as not to detract from the overall meaning and interpretation of the information.

EXPOSURE & EFFECTIVENESS METRICS

  • The research firm Yankelovich completed the last official study on the number of ads people are exposed to on a daily basis in 2007. At that time, it was found that “the average person saw up to 5,000 ads per day.”
  • Based upon the data, and the changes which have occurred in advertising, experts estimate that the current daily exposure to advertisement is between “6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day.”
  • This figure is all but supported by the following charts showing Google’s and Facebook’s ad revenue from 2001 to 2019.
  • The consumer’s desire to avoid some of the daily barrage of online ads can be seen in the rise of ad blockers being used on desktops, laptops, and tablets, but also on mobile devices now. “Apple made headlines recently when it announced that iOS 9, the latest iteration of the mobile operating system that powers iPhones and iPads, would now support ad blocking technology.”
  • “Dean Murphy, a British software developer, created an ad blocking app for iOS called Crystal. The app, which was available on the Apple App Store for 99 cents, functioned similarly to AdBlock Plus and the other ad blockers on the market. In the week after Crystal was launched on September 16, Murphy earned $75,000 from sales of his app.”
  • Data collected from Adobe and PageFair found the “adoption of desktop ad blockers has risen steadily in recent years, from approximately 21 million users in 2010 to more than 181 million users in January of this year.”
  • Consumer survey data indicates that “20% of users found ads to be irrelevant to their needs and more than 10% of users were uncomfortable when shown targeted ads based on their browsing histories.”
    • 28% of people use an ad blocker on a mobile device.
    • 63% of people indicate that online ads do not look professional.
    • 56% of consumers state that online ads insult their intelligence.
  • When asked why they click on a particular ad, consumers responded as follows:
  • In terms of the types of online ads which people find useful, Hubspot found the following:
  • 52% of all online brand discovery still happens in public social feeds.”
  • 27% of internet users say they find new products and brands through paid social ads.” This figure is higher (31%) for the 16-24 age cohort.
  • 13% of internet users say that a “buy” button would increase their likelihood of purchasing on social.”
  • 92% of Instagram users say they’ve followed a brand, clicked on their website, or made a purchase after seeing a product/service on the platform.”
  • “The average organic reach for a Facebook post is 5.17% of a Page’s likes, while the average paid reach is 28.1% of total reach.”
  • “Snapchat ads are 7x more efficient than TV ads at reaching Gen Z.”
  • “YouTube Preferred ads lift recall by 112% and purchase intent by 53%.”
  • On digital news sites, “ad recall has increased by 109% from 22% in 2009/10 to 46% in 2019/20. All brand and action measures have improved among readers who’ve noticed the online ads, attention is up 129%, from 24% to 55% and likeability has increased by 111% from 28% to 59%. Digital news brand ads are perceived more positively than they were a decade ago, an increase of 117% from 29% to 63% and they are also seen as increasingly beneficial, up 105% from 22% to 45%.”
  • “Digital ads are less recalled than print ads but they are more effective than print ads at converting engaged readers into action takers (64% vs 55% for print).”
  • Statista data indicates the following based on the “frequency of online consumers who have made a purchase based on online or social media advertisements”:

REASONS PEOPLE BLOCK ADS

Though there are many reasons that consumers choose to begin using ad-blocking technology, the most obvious one would be simply eliminating the ads for their online experience. However, “there are actually several other benefits of using them. By removing ads from the web pages users are served, page load times are often decreased considerably, and can also reduce data usage good news for people with limited data plans.”
  • “Some types of ads, such as pop-ups and image-rich banners, contain media and animation that slow load times on certain websites. Inc, for example, includes an animated banner ad that occupies more than one-third of the homepage. This could delay loading for some browsers and interrupts the UX on the page.”
  • Some ad blockers “include features that allow users to control when and how they want to allow ads. This feature, known as ‘whitelisting’, allows people to choose to view ads on particular web pages, but block them on others.”
  • In order to get whitelisted business should look to the following:
    • “Native Advertising: Native advertising blends advertising into the content on the page. Examples include search engine ads, social media ads, and paid editorial. These unique advertisements promote sponsors of your website while building your brand and adding value for your website visitors. Many native ads also bypass ad blockers.”
    • “Call-to-action: Most ad-supported websites opt to include a call-to-action on their pages requesting that visitors disable their ad blockers. These usually appear on the top or bottom of the page, or as a pop-up.”
    • “Deny content: Disrupt some website functions to coerce visitors into disabling their ad blockers, such as refusing to load the page or put a pop-up in place that blocks content until users disable their ad blockers.”
  • Hubspot conducted a consumer survey surrounding ad experience. When asked about certain scenarios, respondents indicated that the “most frustrating experience for online browsers involve full page pop-up adverts that require the user to find an ‘X’ to remove. More generally, 91% of respondents agree ads are more intrusive today compared to two to three years ago, and 87% agree there are more ads in general. 79% also feel that they’re being tracked as a result of retargeted ads.”
  • 39% of consumers feel that online ads create a security risk. “Forbes.com, a site which has experimented with blocking access to those using ad blockers, suffered a big security embarrassment in early 2016. A noted security researcher disabled his ad blocker to access their website, only to be served malware through an ad hosted on Forbes.com. The thing is, Forbes technically wasn’t responsible for the offending ad -- it was their ad publisher that did not properly vet the ads they were displaying for Forbes. But Forbes’ brand absorbed the majority of the negative feedback. The Forbes case was one in a series of high profile security gaffes that have affected major publishers like The New York Times and the BBC. For those already skeptical about the safety of online ads, these cases only reinforce that perception.”
  • Additionally, the type of ad impacts the consumer’s dislike for it.

AD-BLOCKERS

  • When asked if they would consider removing an ad-blocker, consumers responded:
  • The age of the consumer typically dictates the willingness to remove ad-blockers,
  • As consumers are, for the most part, experiencing ad fatigue, businesses can mitigate this and still have their message conveyed. Hubspot suggests the following to mitigate the use of ad-blockers:
    • Use technologies, to help get around certain ad blocking extensions by re-inserting ads and also measure the impact ad blockers have on traffic.”
    • “Apply to or pay to be part of a whitelist of websites maintained by ad blocking organizations that promise to only display ‘acceptable ads’. Users of the ad blocker can then consent to see ads on those whitelisted sites (disclosure: our research partner, AdBlock Plus, maintains an acceptable ads program). This particular option is disliked by the ad industry.”
    • “Experiment with ways to get visitors to pay for their content, either through subscriptions, micropayments, or one-time donations. Some allow all browsers to see a few articles before blocking access and requesting payment, while others just block access to content to browsers using an ad blocker. The success rate of these policies have been hard to track and measure, but they're the most visible to online browsers. Many websites have tried this option, and the IAB recently released guidelines called ‘DEAL’ to help publishers persuade visitors turn off their ad blocker in order to access content.”
  • Of note, 74% of consumers will leave a site if the content is restricted based solely on the use of an ad-blocker.

BUILDING TRUST / INCREASING EXPOSURE

Utilize Influencers

  • Because of the nature of influencer marketing, there is no ‘ad’ in the traditional sense, content is not impacted by blocking. “This puts your message in front of as many eyes as possible, and if you’ve done your homework beforehand in finding the right influencer, it’s a targeted audience.”
  • According to predictions, “the influencer marketing industry is poised to reach between $5 billion and $10 billion by 2022.”
  • 93% of marketers use social media influencers.”
  • “Approximately 70% of marketers use influencers for content promotion and product launches.”
  • There are four main types of influencers and it is key to understand that this type of marketing does not solely focus on celebrity endorsement. In fact, "micro-influencers perform the bulk of successful influencer marketing (at least 90% of it)."
    • Mega-influencers — social superstars with more than a million followers. These are often celebrities.
    • Macro-influencers — influencers with between 100,000 and 1 million followers
    •  Micro-influencers — someone who has between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. While their following may be small(ish), their authenticity is high
    • Nano-influencers — somebody with fewer than 1,000 followers who has immense influence with a comparatively narrow niche.
  • Neil Patel asserts that when “done right, influencer marketing bypasses ad-blockers and delivers marketing that people actually want to see. Teenagers on YouTube, for example, trust the opinion and recommendations of influencers more than celebrities. They relate better to them, and believe the influencer understands them as well or better than their friends.”
  • “Millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts, who happen to be strangers, than advertisements and 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites.”
  • When reviewing influencer marketing, the “average earned media value per $1 spent has increased to $5.78.”

Native Content

Neil Patel suggests that native advertising is another strategy which helps to boost marketing exposure. “Native ads mimic the digital environment in which they appear. They try and blend in. They don’t want to interrupt the user experience in any way, and ideally, they don’t even want you to notice it’s an ad at all. In fact, they might only be discernible as an ad by the Sponsored or Promoted tag most sites place on them.”
  • Not all native content is good.
  • Data published by Sherice Jacob provides the following considerations when creating native content.
    • “Native advertising is not a press release This is not an opportunity to rave about your products. Instead, talk about true stories or case studies where your product has somehow improved lives or contributed to the well-being of a community. Tide does this through their Loads of Hope program which provides laundry services to areas affected by disaster.”
    • “Learn from big brand examples There are plenty of sponsored videos and content from brands that showcase the right way to go about native advertising. Watch and learn from them for the best ways to integrate your ads into the best possible platform.”
    • Consider the customer What would your user think about your ad? Would they find it helpful? Misleading? Informative? Annoying? Gauge the effectiveness of your ad by how well customers react to it, not by how great your marketing team thinks it is.”
  • “Native ads make up over 61% of display ad spend, making them one of the fastest growing formats on the market.”
  • It is estimated that “70% of individuals want to learn about products through content rather than through traditional advertising.”
  • “People view native ads 53% more than banner ads.”
  • “Native ads increase purchase intent by 18%.”

Protecting Privacy and Consumer Data

Protecting consumer data and privacy is paramount to any online marketing strategy. “Consumers want to make sure that their personal data, especially credit card information, is closely guarded. They don't want their credit card numbers to be stolen.”
  • It is recommended that companies “beef up (the) security with basic SSL protection, use trusted payment options, and display trust badges proudly.”
  • 87% of respondents state they would not do business with a company if they had concerns about its security practices.”
  • Salesforce’s 2019 ‘State of the Connected Customer’ survey found that 83% of consumers are concerned about sharing personal data online and 72% would stop buying from a company or using a service because of privacy concerns.”

Other Methods

  • 47% of consumers report that advertising in news increases positive perception of brand attributes.”
  • AdAge provides some information on additional strategies for building trust in marketing.
    • “Adding social proof to your site is a great way to increase the trustworthiness of your brand. Social proof can include adding featured press, influencer postings, reviews or testimonials. Any of these options helps a potential customer see you are a legitimate company that others have trusted, which makes it easier for them to as well.”
    • “Actions speak louder than words. In the specific case of marketing, actions give the words, images, messages and methods we use to build trust credence. As a company, if your deeds reflect that you understand what your customers and prospects want and need from you, your marketing will be exponentially easier and stronger.”
    • “The most important component of building trust is the simple act of delivering relevance. When you're relevant to your audiences, then you build trust. But trust can't be built in an instant. It has to be built over time. And the way to do that is by reliably delivering on what you say. A brand is a promise, which must be fulfilled.”
    • “It's important for a brand's personality to come across in a consistent way across all touchpoints. This consistency allows consumers to understand the brand, which leads to acceptance, adoption and even advocacy. Brands that deliver inconsistent messaging and appear to have multiple personalities risk confusing consumers.”
    • “Like any relationship, coming on too strongly erodes trust. Respecting customers’ time and attention when communicating with them matters. Instead of inundating them with spam or cold calls and hoping for a reply, treat customers right by using data insights to better understand their interests and the right time to reach out. Personal and timely outreach can help you earn their trust and respect.”

BRANDED CONTENT INSIGHTS

  • According to Pressboard Media, “branded content is 22x more engaging than display ads.”
  • “Brand recall is 59% higher for branded content than other digital ads.”
  • 84% of people expect brands to create content. About 45% of B2C marketers believe visual content is their most important type of content, while 88% of B2B marketers agree that creating content makes their audience view the organization as a credible and trusted resource.”
  • 80% of shoppers who watch a YouTube video related to a purchase they’re planning to make do so at the start of the process.”
  • 87% of video marketers say that video has increased traffic to their website.”
  • “Content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising and it costs 62% less than traditional marketing.”
  • “B2B marketers are convinced blogging is their most important type of content (43%) while B2C marketers are convinced visual content is more important (45%).”
  • 45% of marketers rate their interactive content as either extremely or very effective. Interactive content includes assessments, calculators, quizzes, or contests.”
  • 20% of people will read the text on a page, but 80% of people will watch a video.”
  • 78% of marketers believe that custom content is where the industry is headed. This means that customer experiences will ideally be as one-to-one as possible.”
  • “In 2020, 92% of marketers say that video is an important part of their marketing strategy. This has grown from 78% in 2015, showing that the importance of video is only growing.”
  • “It is estimated that the average person will spend 100 minutes every day watching online videos in 2021. This is a 19% increase compared to daily viewing minutes in 2019, which stood at 84.”
  • “In terms of the ideal qualities that consumers look for in order for videos to be valuable to their decision-making process, 48% want videos to reflect the specific products and services they own or are interested in. A further 43% want interactivity, with the ability to decide what information they want to view and when they want to view it.”
  • 66% of video advertisements were 30 seconds long at the end of 2019.”
  • 57% of marketers use live video. Over a third (34%) of marketers are making use of Facebook’s live streaming options, creating in-the-moment videos that allow viewers to react in real-time. Instagram is the second most popular option, with 13% creating live videos on the platform.”
  • “Using visual content like videos on landing pages can improve conversions by 86%.”
  • “Video has become the most commonly used format in content marketing, overtaking blogs and infographics.”
  • 94% of marketers use social media for content distribution.”
  • “Companies using content marketing generated 97% more backlinks and landed 434% more search engine results pages (SERPs) than those that didn’t. It cost 62% less and resulted in 5X as many sales leads.”
  • “People who watch branded videos are 62% more likely to show a positive reaction compared with those who watched 30-second ads.”
  • Data from Conductor reveals that “65% of consumers feel a brand is trustworthy/positive immediately after they read a piece of educational content from that brand. A week after reading a piece of educational content from a brand, 74.49% of consumers identified the brand as 'positive,' an 8% increase since initially reading the content. A week after reading a piece of educational content from a brand, 73.3% of consumers identified the brand as 'trustworthy,' a 9% increase since initially reading the content.”
  • “Articles that are >3,000 words get 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than shorter articles.”
  • “More consumers trust premium publishers than trust news content on Facebook and Twitter.”
  • Oracle suggests measuring the following metrics to gauge the success of branded content marketing:
    • Active Page Dwell Time—The amount of time a user spends with content in the foreground tab of a browser.”
    • Scroll Rate—The percentage of views where users scrolled, thereby indicating theyre interested in the content on a page.”
    • Scroll Depth—Another indicator of interest, this metric analyzes the percentage of total page length that users scrolled. The more of the page users scroll through, the more engaged they are.
  • Pressboard Media outlined benchmarking goals for branded content as follows:

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