As part of our 2016 Digital & Media Predictions report, Millward Brown proposed seven key predictions for the year. In the coming months, as the marketplace continues to evolve, we’ll check in on those predictions through a series of posts. Today’s up-close prediction:

Content Marketing Reaches the C-suite

Content marketing continues to increase its role for many marketers today – in an era of fragmented media experiences, content marketing becomes a solid opportunity to fuel brand attention as marketers can offer fairly in-depth opportunities to speak to today’s consumer through the approach. Millward Brown Digital continues to work with clients and evaluate the current and future best practices for such initiatives. Through recent work in the UK, a leading beauty brand sought to measure the brand impact of its new digital content. Using a control/exposed methodology, Millward Brown found that the brand’s destination had boosted both brand favorability and purchase intent among non-users. By taking an in-depth approach with the exposed group, Millward Brown was also able to determine the content’s power specific to a new target audience for the brand. In addition, the research allowed the brand to uncover insights to leverage for future site improvements and ad effectiveness practices to help drive site traffic.

The case study cemented several key practices for content marketing evaluation:

  • Methodology Practices: Successful measurement requires a sample that is large enough to understand whether there’s been a true shift in awareness, brand love or propensity to buy. Keep in mind if the content strategy is to speak to a new audience, marketers might see a sharp increase in awareness, at least initially, given that audience’s low base of awareness at the on-set.
  • Consumer Mindset Evaluation: For some brands it may be worth considering research that helps specifically understand how various target segments react to content initiatives. A new buying group may actually need radically different content than existing groups (or not) and marketers should evaluate the most effective way to speak to these segments.
  • Content Practice Considerations: Content can be either an ongoing investment or a short-term activity. There is a big difference in strategy, execution and measurement between a permanent content solution across a platform such as Tumblr compared to an activity on Snapchat, for example (where the content disappears almost immediately). For an ongoing content destination, marketers should aim to develop a clear strategy for driving traffic and offering regular content updates, taking account of new platform capabilities. Key measures to assess the impact would be relevance, interest and perception shifts taken at key intervals.

In another recent example, Millward Brown examined how a range of different well-known vloggers had performed for a fast moving consumer goods brand. Millward Brown compared the content to video ads, display ads and TV commercials to assess their contribution to improving brand metrics such as awareness, consideration and persuasion. In short, brands can appear more appealing and enjoyable in the vlogger setting, even if they were limited in reach. In general, vlogging added credibility, displaying the brand in a new way that was believable and more relevant than advertising. Perhaps most importantly, the analysis found that different vloggers moved different metrics by different degrees. This creates an opportunity to optimize within the vlogger channels if the activity was repeated. The vloggers succeeded by creating a natural habitat for the brand. The vloggers were more motivational and more likely to be spoken about and shared.

As seen, there are many avenues that marketers can consider content marketing. 2016 will be a strong year for marketers embracing and experimenting content opportunities and they may include a range of platforms in order to communicate to consumers wherever they are. In any of those, they can be meaningful additions to a brand’s consumer conversation.

For more information on the studies presented here, please contact us at