- Time Inc. surveyed over 17,000 Gen Z, millennials and Gen X who identify as auto buffs, fashionistas, foodies and finance gurus and found two-thirds trust custom content more than traditional advertising, 90% like custom content for brand engagement and 89% believe custom content is a great way for brands to break through the marketing messaging clutter, per a press release made available to Marketing Dive.
- The research found that Gen Z was particularly open to deepening brand relationships with 93% reporting they want to see brands do something new, unique or creative to get their attention, 88% like the idea of brands using custom content to get introduced, 84% think custom content is a way to engage with them and 72% want brands to use video and infographics for better storytelling or data exploration.
- To drive KPIs through native experiences and create credible, connected and valued content, Time Inc. recommends marketers try to understand their audience to align the brand story with the audiences’ needs and interests; provide value through being entertaining, informing or providing utility; and ensuring the brand is an organic part of the content narrative said Chris Schraft, president, Foundry Content Sales and Agency Development, in the press release.
Time Inc.'s research points to the growing knowledge base around the potential and best practices for developing digital content strategies apart from traditional ads, which consumers increasingly find intrusive. The findings suggest these efforts are particularly important for reaching digitally savvy younger consumers but require marketers to take a strategic approach if they want to be successful.
One way marketers are committing to custom content is by taking cues from Hollywood and bringing more storytelling elements to their efforts while experimenting with formats that fall far from traditional marketing messaging.
One example is Marriott International’s “Two Bellmen” short film series. Marriott created its Content Studio as a hub for developing, producing and distributing a variety of narrative-driven content including short films like the “Two Bellmen” series, TV shows, webisode series, documentaries and influencer-supported offerings. David Beebe, Emmy-Winning entertainment executive, branded content producer and former VP of Global Creative and Content Marketing at Marriott International, founded the Marriott Content Studio and previously told Marketing Dive it was based on TV development execs and journalists to develop ideas in-house and then Hollywood creative talent to execute the content ideas.
Another example of the growing importance of custom video content is previous research from the Interactive Advertising Bureau that found original video programming has almost doubled over the past two years and 80% of executives plan on spending more on original digital video.
Other results from the Time Inc. study include: 92% of respondents believe brands have expertise on topics that add value to content, 57% think custom content means brands put more thought into being creative and interesting and 56% like brands sharing something cool or teaching rather than just selling. One potential benefit of custom content is 93% reported liking brands that share interesting things the respondent might not have otherwise seen.