Nielsen: Consumers Crave Real Content When Making Purchase Decisions

Facing More Digital Content Than Ever Before, Consumers Rely on Trusted Content to Cut Through the Noise

SAN FRANCISCO – A new study from Nielsen, commissioned by inPowered, was released which reveals that consumers are 5X more dependent on digital content than they were five years ago when it comes to researching and making a purchase decision. But with the massive proliferation of content available today, how do consumers cut through the noise?

“But by beginning with a solid foundation of trust built on trusted content from credible, third-party experts, all other content will have a greater impact.”

inPowered, the company that discovers and amplifies trusted content to help brands educate consumers, enlisted Nielsen to determine which type of content was most impactful across the different stages of the consumer purchase process. The overall result: Consumers rely on credible, third-party content more than branded content or user reviews when making decisions.

It’s All About Trust

Several key findings from the research indicate that the credibility and unbiased nature of the content was critical for consumers:

  • 85 percent of consumers regularly or occasionally seek out trusted expert content – credible, third-party articles & reviews – when considering a purchase
  • 69 percent of consumers like to read product reviews written by trusted experts before making a purchase
  • 67 percent of consumers agree that an endorsement from an unbiased expert makes them more likely to consider purchasing

“With so many companies spending so much money on content marketing, we wanted to clarify what kind of content is actually impacting consumers and helping them make their decisions,” said Peyman Nilforoush, co-founder and CEO of inPowered. “This isn’t about disproving any particular type of content, it’s about identifying the most effective blend of content types to help effectively educate and inform consumers.”

The Research Approach

Nielsen embarked upon a multi-month, in-lab study that exposed 900 consumers to three different types of content: expert content (credible, third-party articles and reviews), branded content (owned content produced by the brand), and user-generated content (like reviews on

Nielsen then surveyed to see what impact each type of content had across the three main stages of the consumer purchase process:

  • Brand Familiarity
  • Brand Affinity
  • Purchase Intent

The research was performed across nine products in different categories, ensuring a broad scope and the ability to assess if the observed effects varied across different types of purchases.

The Results: Give Me Real, Credible Content

Overall, the research showed that expert content – articles from credible journalists – was the only content type to exhibit a strong lift in all 3 areas of the purchase cycle. It provided the most familiarity lift for 7 out of the 9 products, the most affinity lift for 5 of the 9 products, and the most purchase intent lift for 6 of the 9 products. On average, expert content lifted brand familiarity 88% more than branded content and 50% more than user reviews; it lifted brand affinity 50% more than branded content and 20% more than user reviews; and it lifted purchase intent 38% more than branded content and 83% more than user reviews.

“It became clear throughout the study that, while exposure to each type of content did provide a lift across different categories, credible content from experts was the only content type that performed consistently across all stages of the purchase process,” said Tommy Cheng, VP, Innovation Solutions, Nielsen.

The Takeaway

Based on these findings, inPowered recommends that all brands implement a blended content strategy to better serve the information needs of consumers:

  • Build trust, cut through the noise – Begin with trusted content from credible, third-party experts in order to establish a foundation of trust with the consumer
  • Share your story – Once trust is established, utilize branded content to further connect and engage
  • Continually reinforce, Stay above noise – Maintain your efforts by encouraging customers to generate user reviews, and by continuously utilizing more trusted content

“When it comes to determining which content to utilize to best educate consumers, it is not an either/or proposition,” said Pirouz Nilforoush, co-founder and President of inPowered. “But by beginning with a solid foundation of trust built on trusted content from credible, third-party experts, all other content will have a greater impact.”

To download the report for free, visit

About inPowered

inPowered discovers and amplifies the most trusted content – credible third-party articles and reviews – to help brands educate consumers and drive sales. Leading brands use inPowered’s content discovery and amplification platform to change perceptions and generate new customers. inPowered is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in New York and Toronto and is backed by Rho Ventures and Relay Ventures. Visit for more information. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.