Nielsen study says traditional PR is still way more effective than content marketing

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Don't replace your PR pros for a team of ex-journalists just yet.

A new study by Nielsen (commissioned by content discovery and amplification platform inPowered) examined the effect of different types of content on consumer's buying decisions. Despite it being one of the biggest channels of investment this year, the study found that owned content was far less effective than earned content at convincing people to buy things.

The study took 900 respondents and subjected them to a mix of content, including news articles, online reviews, social media and online ads and then measured their likelihood of purchasing based on those channels. Here's what it found:

In all the factors measured, expert content or earned articles performed far better at convincing consumers to buy than user reviews or branded content. It just goes to show that even though companies might be publicly investing a ton of resources into building their own publishing capabilities, when it comes to purchasing decisions, customers are pretty savvy about going to independent sources.

However, it should be said that the respondents in this case were regular consumers, so the results of the study might not apply to B2B marketing, where owned content has a far greater role to play. For many B2B customers, the brand's own website is often the first and only place they visit to get all the purchasing information they need.

You can download the rest of the report from inPowered here.

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