Last Updated on August 5, 2020
3 Powerful Types of Digital Content
Online content influences buying behavior. We also know that content is SEO currency; there’s a correlation between quality content and visibility in organic search. But not all online content is created equal. Nielsen recently published a report about what the most powerful types of digital content influences consumers’ buying decisions.
The Nielsen Report Particulars
inPowered commissioned this recent Nielsen study. They conducted a in-person controlled lab test to determine the impact of three digital content types: expert reviews, branded content, and user reviews). 900 consumers were part of the study, gleaning how each online content flavors affected:
- perceptions (likeability)
- purchase consideration
The test focused on nine products including auto insurance, child seats, digital cameras, dryers, electric toothbrushes, high-end HDTV sets, new cars, smartphones, and video games.
Nielsen also defined the three stages of the purchasing process into:
- purchasing consideration
The Most Influential Online Content
Expert reviews — reviews by third-party entities — had the most impact. According to the study, having a credible, objective party review your business product or service has the most influence:
- 11% lift in consideration
- 12% rise in affinity
- 15% in familiarity
Let’s use a real example. A couple of months ago I decided to buy a new TV. It was time to ditch my 12-year tube set in favor of a flat-screen model. Before trekking to a big box store for the overwhelming experience of looking at a humongous wall of TVs, I turned to some trusted sources first. So what expert online content influenced my buying consideration? Cnet and Consumer Reports. Through their digital articles, I educated myself on the difference between plasma versus LED, how TV technology was evolving, and which manufacturers had the best features and overall satisfaction ratings.
Nielsen confirmed that expert online content lifted familiarity 88% more than branded content (information written by the business). It also had 50% more impact than consumer reviews. The takeaway? Find and develop relationships with credible sources in your industry to comment on your products or services.
Branded Content Is Important Too
Armed with information about specific makes and TV models, I then turned to the various manufacturer websites. There I checked out product specifications. According to Nielsen, branded online content, information that provides product details, was a critical part of the decision-making process. Interestingly, if the user had a higher degree of product expertise, consumer reviews were very influential.
So what kind of TV did I end up buying? I bucked the trend and steered away from LED. I did my homework and narrowed it down to a plasma screen (I liked the softer lighting and color saturation). Then, I checked out consumer reviews on Amazon and several other online retail sites. Then… I bought it from a small, local retailer. My reasoning? I got a great price, no shipping costs, and my purchasing dollars added to my local economy.
What online content most influences your buying process?