As our data showed last year, traditional display ads are continuing to decrease in popularity online, and brands are looking for new and better ways to reach and engage audiences.
At StackAdapt we’re focused on helping brands make the most of their content through native advertising. We recently commissioned a survey with Leger Marketing to determine how Canadian consumers discover and interact with content to allow us to better understand consumer attitudes toward native and traditional advertising. The results? Canadian consumers are losing interest in traditional forms of online advertising, and this is the case especially with the younger generation (age 18-44). The study uncovered three key insights about the consumer decision-making process as it relates to advertising:
1. Consumers prefer learning about new brands through online content.
The study discovered that nearly 68% of Canadians prefer to learn about new brands online, and consumers between the ages of 18-44 are 33% more likely to prefer discovering new brands online (84%) than those above the age of 45 (56%). Online discovery further proves to be generational, as we found traditional methods to be more popular among those aged 55 and older, including print (33%), direct mail (21%), and radio (17%).
2. Content helps consumers build trust toward a brand.
Consumers are well-informed in today’s purchasing landscape and with consumers exposed to hundreds of online advertisements, brands need to find a way to stand out and establish trust with their audience. The study revealed that 40% of Canadians trust a brand more after reading branded content or a brand’s blog. Younger Canadians (51% of 18-44 year olds) are more likely to trust branded content and feel that they are less likely to be misled by native content than those aged 45 and older (38%), further proving that consumer attitudes about a brand’s trustworthiness seem to be generational thing.
3. Branded content is more likely to influence purchasing decisions.
More than half of Canadian consumers (57%) find informative and educational content most useful when making a decision about a brand online. Consumers are recognizing that they can discover brands that are more interesting and relevant to them, and native content is a much more engaging method to learn about brands than static ads. The generational gap shows that older Canadians (aged 65 and up) are more likely to find educational content useful (64%), while those aged 18-44 would prefer to learn about brands through entertaining content (24%).
Purchasing decisions are also heavily influenced by word of mouth, and branded content is easy to share with others. Two-thirds of Canadian consumers said they often share information about brands they like with friends through methods including customer reviews (17%), news articles (15%), engaging articles (15%), and videos (14%).
These discovery methods online lead to purchasing decisions, and more than half of Canadian consumers (55%) said that the type of content they read about a brand has in fact influenced an online purchase decision before. We found the types of content most likely to influence online purchasing decisions are:
- When consumers read about how other people are helped by the brand (22%).
- When the brand makes it easy to purchase by helping consumers navigate the market (20%).
- When the brand explains how it can improve or better service their life (19%).
- The brand showing it understands the consumer’s values (11%).
Native advertising is proving to be a more effective method for brands wanting to communicate with audiences online. Especially with the younger generation of Canadians, online advertising is struggling to make an impact, and Canadians are looking to brands who deliver content that is informative and engaging in order to establish trust and influence purchasing decisions.
What does this mean for brands? Perhaps it’s time to steer away from traditional advertising and plunge into the world of well-distributed and high-quality branded content.
**A survey of 1,563 Canadian was completed online between June 6th – June 9th, 2016 using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/–2.5%, 19 times out of 20. Leger’s online panel has approximately 475,000 members nationally – with between 10,000 and 20,000 new members added each month.