The Content Imperative
The latest on content marketing strategy, insights and trends

Alex Barfield
Senior Planner

Alex is Senior Planner at Headstream. He ensures that all work takes a long-term view and is optimised based on business and client requirements. His work comprises research and insight, content strategy, data analytics and paid social.

Alex works across all Headstream clients on national and global accounts including BBC, GSK, National Trust, FatFace and Schuh.

Before joining, Alex worked at Universal Music.

Other posts by Alex

Image source: Stinging Eyes

What people really think about native advertising [research]

| 14 September 2015

As more and more brands begin to invest in creating relevant, valuable content to engage the audiences that matter most to them, striking the right balance across paid, owned, networked, borrowed and earned media becomes increasingly important.

Sometimes awesome content alone is not enough and it needs a helping hand; cue native advertising.

Born out of a world of mobile news feeds, frustration with traditional display advertising and the ongoing efforts of major media owners and publishers to nurture revenue streams from their expanding digital audiences, this emergent format certainly has the marketing community excited.  

But how do the people that brands are actually trying to reach and engage feel about it?

As part of our recent brand storytelling research, we asked UK consumers a handful of questions about their experience and opinion of native advertising and brand-sponsored content.

We found that a transparent approach is key, particularly for younger audiences. The majority of UK consumers are willing to engage with brand-created content, but authenticity is a must. Link baiters need not apply.

This short report covers the response to these questions and highlights how behaviours and opinions vary across different age groups.

Key insights include:

  • 71% of UK adults believe that it’s important that brand-created stories are clearly differentiated from editorial stories

  • 65% of 18-34 year olds would willingly engage with brand-sponsored stories

  • 41% of all adults say the quality and entertainment value of the content can determine whether or not they’d be put off by the fact that a story was created to promote a brand message