Warc, 7 May 2014
NEW YORK: Almost two-thirds (62%) of Americans say they want to see original content directly from brands while half (52%) prefer to go directly to a company's website for content instead of relying on social media, a new study has revealed.
Only 25% use social media for content about a brand while 22% rely on third-party articles, according to the WP Engine Content Creation Study from the Texas-based software content management platform.
WP Engine also found nearly half (46%) of Americans read the blogs of their favourite brands and two in five prefer to read content directly from a company blog rather than a news magazine or website.
Among those who want to see content directly from brands, 27% want to read articles on important issues, 16% look for research on the company's industry while funny stories appeal to 12%.
The vast majority (81.4%) said they are prepared to view content that does not blatantly "sell" a company's product. In what is perhaps a surprise finding for those who advocate celebrity endorsement, nearly all respondents (96%) do not want to see stories about how celebrities use a company's product.
Almost half of those surveyed (48%) said it is important for brands to produce content on their blog because it provides consumers with the most up to date information (32%), it provides a more personal connection with a company (16%), or gives a brand a voice (15%).
If a brand does not produce content on its blog, the negative effects include a brand losing communication with its customers (19%), losing customers to its competitors (16%), looking lazy (12%) and being seen as less relevant (10%).
The new survey also found that US consumers prefer content to be written in the style of a news article (25%) rather than as a feature article (21%) or in the style of a short blog (17%).
"Consumers demand content and the research shows that even with various outlets they can go to, consumers still want to hear directly from the brands," said Heather Brunner, CEO of WP Engine.
"It's important for companies to share their thoughts as it gives them a personal touch with their customers, allowing more meaningful conversations to arise," she advised.
Data sourced from WP Engine; additional content by Warc staff