Expert content—credible, third-party articles (earned media)—is the most effective source of information for affecting consumers along all stages of the purchase process across product categories.
Specifically, when measured against owned media (branded content) it showed that earned media is 80 percent more effective at both the purchase consideration and affinity stages, and 38 percent more effective at the familiarity stage.
In other words, brands that actively engage in media outreach will probably see greater consumer impact at all stages than that of brands relying primarily on content marketing.
This in-lab, multi-month study exposed 900 consumers to three different types of content: expert content from credible sources (earned media), branded content (owned media), and user-generated content (such as reviews on Amazon).
Other important findings indicate that the credibility and unbiased nature of the content was crucial for consumers: