Trusted content is the key to consumer purchasing decisions

The internet and social media mean that there is more information available to consumers than ever before. But which opinions do we actually trust?

A new study from Nielsen commissioned by content specialist inPowered seeks to understand how consumers use digital content when it comes to researching and making purchases.

The findings show that consumers place great store by the credibility and unbiased nature of content. 85 percent say they regularly or occasionally seek out trusted expert content, such as third-party articles and reviews, when considering a purchase. Some 69 percent of consumers like to read product reviews written by trusted experts before making a purchase and 67 percent agree that an endorsement from an unbiased expert makes them more likely to consider buying.

"With so many companies spending so much money on content marketing, we wanted to clarify what kind of content is actually impacting consumers and helping them make their decisions," says Peyman Nilforoush, co-founder and CEO of inPowered. "This isn't about disproving any particular type of content, it’s about identifying the most effective blend of content types to help effectively educate and inform consumers".

In research carried out with 900 consumers and with nine products across different categories, expert content was found to be more effective than branded content or user content (like Amazon reviews) at all stages of the purchase cycle. In particular it was shown to lift purchase intent 38 percent more than branded content and 83 percent more than user reviews.

"It became clear throughout the study that, while exposure to each type of content did provide a lift across different categories, credible content from experts was the only content type that performed consistently across all stages of the purchase process," says Tommy Cheng, VP, Innovation Solutions at Nielsen.

Based on the findings inPowered concludes that companies need to use content from reliable third-party experts as the basis of building trust with the consumer. Once this is established branded content can be used to spread the word and the message can be reinforced by encouraging consumers to leave their own reviews.

Nilforoush concludes, " beginning with a solid foundation of trust built on trusted content from credible, third-party experts, all other content will have a greater impact".

To find out more you can download the full report as a PDF from the inPowered website.

Image Credit:  donskarpo / Shutterstock

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