Readers Don't Trust Sponsored Content—but They Still Trust It More Than Leading Cable News | Adweek Readers Don't Trust Sponsored Content—but They Still Trust It More Than Leading Cable News | Adweek
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Readers Don't Trust Sponsored Content—but They Still Trust It More Than Leading Cable News

Big implications for the marketing industry
  • July 28, 2014, 7:59 AM EDT
  • Sponsored

Sponsored content isn't all flowers and sunshine from a reader point of view.

Right now, you're reading a sponsored Adweek post about a study that found that readers don't trust brand-sponsored content ... written and conducted by a company that helps brands create content.

Trippy, right?

Our study, which you can download here, contains fascinating insights into how education, age and perception impact how readers feel about sponsored content. The biggest findings, however, are that 54 percent of readers don't trust brand-sponsored content that appears on publisher sites, and two-thirds have felt deceived by it at some point.

For what it's worth, respondents did indicate that they trust sponsored content more than information from that leading cable news channel which has notoriously conservative political viewpoints—you know the one. (We can't actually refer to the organization by name because, well, this is sponsored content.)

All this may lead you to ask: If readers don't trust sponsored content, then why have you paid Adweek to put this post in front of me right now?

For starters, sponsored content can absolutely work on publisher sites when it's done correctly. That means a brand working closely with the publication to make sure the content is transparent, informative, relevant and, most importantly, interesting. We hope this story and this study are all of those things.

At the end of the day, publishers depend on the trust of their readers. And while sponsored content is an important and much-needed revenue stream for publishers, doing it poorly can erode that trust. This is why it's important for everyone in this industry—publishers, brands and startups like Contently—to make sure we take the time to do sponsored content right.

But don't take our word for it—download the study and decide for yourself.

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