JULY 28, 2014

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Two-Thirds of Web Users Say They Have Been Deceived by Sponsored Content

Contently, a company that works with publishers and brands that create sponsored content, conducted an online study to measure perceptions of sponsored content. What their analysis uncovered is that consumers are not yet very comfortable with the ad type. Consumers have yet to reach consensus as to what a "Sponsored Content" label means: 48% believe it means the sponsor paid for the content and influenced the article, however about one-fifth feel the news site wrote it but a sponsor's money allowed for the content to happen and about one-fifth believe it means that the sponsor name is replacing a banner ad that would be running next to it. When asked if they ever felt deceived after realizing an article or video's content was sponsored by a brand, 67% said yes. The survey's results also identify trust as an issue for sponsored content as 54% said they generally do not trust it. Trust skewed even lower among the more educated.


So what?

Native advertising, sponsored content, paid posts and partner stories all fall under a category that is still very much in its infancy. While we know these ad types have proven to be a new and viable source of revenue, we know less about how they affect the credibility of news and media brands that use them. While this study has some limitations, it does identify some integrity issues that still need to be addressed by publishers.

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Social Media
Are Messaging Apps the New Social Networks?

Messaging apps like WhatsApp, Snapchat and Viber redefine social media in a mobile context, claims a new report from Forrester. Although the vast majority of time spent on these apps is dedicated to talking with friends and family, people are starting to use them for more social purposes like group conversations and content sharing. Smartphone apps have access to users’ address books, bypassing the need to rebuild their social graph. They enable more expressive and emotional forms of instant social communications because of their intimate nature. Forrester believes that the adoption of messaging apps will continue to accelerate, and that they have the potential to become innovative media portals that integrate additional capabilities like games, location-based services, and commerce. However, it will still take time for these apps to become full-fledged marketing platforms like established social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Most marketers are still struggling to prove a clear ROI on their mobile and social strategies, and messaging apps only further complicate this challenge. In addition, users expect more privacy on messaging apps and are wary of brands interfering with this experience.


So what?

While marketing and advertising on messaging apps are still nascent, those apps already represent an opportunity for content-rich companies like Condé Nast. As users migrate some of their social activities to messaging apps, they will become an increasingly important channel for content sharing. Glamour recently took note of this trend and integrated a WhatsApp sharing button into its mobile site (see image above).

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Multi-Generational Living on the Rise, Young Adults 25-34 Driving the Trend

According to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center, the population living in multi-generational households has doubled since 1980. There were 28 million Americans living in multi-generational homes in 1980, compared to 57 million people, or 18% of the total U.S. population, living in multi-generational homes in 2012. While historically, senior adults have been the age group most likely to live in homes with other generations, in the past few years, young adults 25-34 have driven the growth in multiple generation living situations. In 2012, 24% of young adults 25-34 lived in multi-generational households, compared to 18% in 2007 and 11% in 1980. Young adult men 25-34 were slightly more likely to be living with other generations than their female peers (26% vs. 21%, respectively).

So what?

The number of adult Americans living under one roof with their families has steadily increased in the past 25 years. This trend brings with it both challenges and opportunities for brands. A now greater diverse set of interests and needs within households allows some products to enter households they may never have been in before. However, multi-generational living also forces brands to be more efficient with their marketing and rely less on household-centric targeting tactics they might have employed in the past, such as television. Young adults living with their parents for financial reasons are also a target, as the money saved on living expenses should equate to more discretionary spending.

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Back-to-School Spending Expected to Climb 5% This Year

The National Retail Federation expects the average back-to-school shopper to spend $670 this year, up more than 5% from the average spend of $635 in 2013. The increase in spending applies to all categories, including clothing and accessories ($231), shoes ($124), school supplies ($101) and electronics ($212). 38% of parents plan to purchase back-to-school items online, and online shoppers are projected to spend even more than the average shopper - $894 overall. Most of the shopping will happen in the month prior to the beginning of the school year, but 22% of parents plan to get started at least two months in advance. Although just a small portion of the spend will be coming out of their own pockets, children will influence the majority of purchases. 60% of parents estimate that at least half of their back-to-school spend is a direct result of their child’s influence.

So what?

Growth in back-to-school spending could reflect improvements in the economy and a cautiously increased consumer confidence. This should come as welcome news not only to retailers, but also to publishers. As parents and their children gear up for shopping, they will be looking for recommendations and advice on what to purchase. Relevant content, like Teen Vogue's Back-to-School items, should resonate well with them.

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Quick Takes
Consumers' Top Reason to Shop on Computer vs. Mobile: Products' Image & Clarity

Source: UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper, Wall Street Journal, Statista
Health & Fitness Apps Usage Growing Faster than Average

Source: Flurry Analytics
U.S. Uninsured Rate Drops Below 14%

Source: Gallup
Sales for Food Items with Labels that Tout Low Glycemic and GMO Free Have Grown Most Over Last Year

Source: Nielsen
Condé Nast
Feedback, questions, ideas for future issues? Please contact:

Phil Paparella
Condé Nast Research & Insights | Associate Director
1166 6th Avenue, 14th fl. | NY, NY 10036 | office 212.790.6044 | philip_paparella@condenast.com

Tamar Rimmon | Senior Manager, Digital Analytics
Robyn Hightower | Manager, Research & Insights