Paid and earned media impressions reap best results: study

Synaptic Digital and Kantar Video's collaborative study reports editorial content wins out over traditional brand content.

If you want good press, you don’t necessarily have to earn it.

At least that’s what a new study done by Synaptic Digital and WPP’s Kantar Video reports.

The collaborative study on consumer reception to media content says a combined approach of paid and earned media outdoes traditional brand creative in areas of awareness, persuasion and attribute.

Synaptic and Kantar reported that over 1,800 demographically diverse test subjects were exposed to the three types of media in a wide range of combinations and pairings, and then were put through a double-blind survey to measure the influence of the message formats. The responses were compared with a control group that had no exposure to advertising material.

The main finding? Consumers were most swayed by information-laden editorial content, in contrast to the more traditional brand creative, and the response was much the same whether that content was paid for, or earned.

In fact, the study reported, due to the unpredictability of earned media impressions, paid impressions often yield better results.

In one section of the study, in which participants considered an automobile brand, paid media impressions outperformed earned impressions in the areas of specific brand message association, brand favourability, purchase consideration, positive reputation and leader technology.

The two tied on the subject of safety, and earned media pulled ahead in the categories of unaided brand awareness and safety association.

A combination of the two proved to yield even better results.

The report shows that the combination of earned and paid media versus the control generated a boost of 35.1% in unaided brand awareness, with brand-only media triggering an increase of 17.3%. The combination of all three types of media resulted in the same amount of positive feedback produced by paid and earned only.

The study also reported a notable gender-based finding in the research. According to the numbers, women are more receptive to paid and earned media impressions as a whole, with a 24.3% average difference between the control and test group in that area, compared to the male participant’s 13.5%