A quick study conducted by Chartbeat reveals an ongoing concern about sponsored content: Readers aren’t quite sure whether they trust it. According to their data collected earlier this summer, only 24 percent of readers scroll through online sponsored content, compared to 71 percent of readers who scrolled through normal content. Paid posts, sponsored content, whatever name you give it, such material just doesn’t quite resonate as it should. The data reveal answers, but also raise further questions. Is it due to the quality of the content that is sponsored? Do people really know what “sponsored” really means?
Joe Lazauskas at Contently, a company that actually works with companies to help them produce their own custome content, writes about the data in a blog post: “While a plurality (48 percent) of respondents believe that â€œSponsored Contentâ€ means that an advertiser paid for the article to be created and had influence on the articleâ€™s content, more than half (52 percent) thought it meant something different. But thatâ€™s not where the confusion ends. Some of the most striking revelations include:
“Two-thirds of readers have felt deceived upon realizing that an article or video was sponsored by a brand.
54 percent of readers donâ€™t trust sponsored content.
59 percent of readers believe a news site loses credibility if it runs articles sponsored by a brand.
As education level increases, so does mistrust of sponsored content.
And yet, respondents rated branded content as more trustworthy than Fox News, and nearly equally trustworthy as MSNBC, indicating that content has a mistrust problem overall.”
The post addresses many of the questions that continue to challenge both readers and publishers alike.