Which Content Influences Purchasing Decisions? Lessons for Affiliates

A recent Nielsen study, commissioned by inPowered, sought to shed light on “the role of content in the consumer decision making process.” Over a period of two months, they conducted in-person controlled lab tests where 900 respondents participated in online surveys. To measure the impact of online content on the respondents the latter had to take a survey before and after being exposed to content. The full results may be found/downloaded here, but here are a few highlights and their implications for affiliate marketers:

Top 3 Information Sources

Content influencing consumer decision making

While in the decision-making phase, consumers are most frequently being influenced by three types of online content: (1) social media, (2) user reviews, and (3) online advertising. All of these must be interwoven in every affiliate’s content marketing strategy.

Most Influential Content Is…

Impact of expert reviews on purchasing decisions

Clearly, not all content types are created equal in terms of magnitude of their impact on consumers’ purchase decisions. Expert reviews win this one hands down. I always say that it is imperative for affiliates to strive to become a top expert in the field/vertical on which they’ve chosen to focus. This data only validates and underscores the importance of such an approach.

Expert Content v User Reviews v Branded Content

Positive lift by content and product type

Here again, regardless of the product type “content written by credible experts” outperformed all other types of content. As the study summarized, “on average, expert content lifted familiarity 88 percent more than branded content and 50 percent more than user reviews; they lifted affinity 50 percent more than branded content and 20 percent more than user reviews; finally, they lifted purchase considerations 38 percent more than branded content and 83 percent more than user reviews.”

Once again, you may download the full report here. It is 100% free and will be worth every online marketer’s time.

3 thoughts on “Which Content Influences Purchasing Decisions? Lessons for Affiliates”

  1. Pingback: Marketing Day: April 2, 2014

  2. Very interesting stats, Geno. Thanks for the heads up on the study. The full download is worth the email giveaway. It’s interesting to see the consistent strength (i.e. “lift”) that comes from the expert opinion. Other than Mommy-to-Mommy user advice (which is, undoubtedly, more valuable than expert or brand), it’s reassuring to know that consumers aren’t fooled by opaque user reviews (that are often generated as a marketing ploy than genuine consumer assistance).

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