Integrating your brand into a piece of content marketing is a balance between technique and timing. Done correctly, it can display a company’s expertise on a certain topic and also create something meaningful and valuable for audiences. Alternatively, mentioning your brand too often, or in a way that disrupts the flow of a story, can lead to consumers jumping ship early and losing trust in the brand.
So the question remains: how early and how often should you mention your brand? Analysis of hundreds of branded content articles, focused on two factors-placement and occurrence of a brands name in a piece of content-helps to shed light on the issue.
In terms of placement, articles in which a brand was mentioned in the first 100 words saw the shortest active reading time - 56.2 seconds - compared to 63.5 seconds for articles in which the brands name wasn’t mentioned at all. Articles that saw the highest active reading time (68.1 seconds) featured a brand mention in the 300-600 word range. Additionally, brand mentions within the first 100 words saw the least scroll depth (72.2% of page scrolled) compared to when a brand was mentioned after the 300 word mark, in which consumers averaged an 81% scroll depth.
When it comes to how often you should integrate your brand within your content, you shouldn’t do it too often, but you should do it. In fact, articles where a brand was mentioned just once saw the highest active reading time and deepest scroll depth. But the data also shows that zero mentions are better than multiple mentions. As a brand continues to attempt to integrate into a piece of content, reading time and scroll depth sharply decline.
Inseparable from this discussion is the idea of transparency in branded content. Beyond the legal necessity to disclose a branded content partnership, companies are challenged to foster a transparent relationship with their consumers. If the consumer perceives that a brand is clearly self-promoting itself in a piece of branded content, trust towards the brand can fall by up to 27%. However, as supported by the above data, if a brand publishes relevant, informative, and engaging content, audiences are perfectly fine, and even support, listening to a brand - just don’t overdo it.