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Simply Media

Simply Media Publish the First Qualitative Research Looking at Branded Content Online

21st May, London: Today Simply Media publish new research; Branded Content Online: What Does the Viewer See? The first qualitative study to unpick the complexities of branded content online from the viewer’s perspective.

The research looks at the positives and negatives of this new advertising medium and compares it to more traditional forms of advertising in broadcast and print. It looks at video from a consumer perspective and is able to suggest guidelines for creating successful content that will not only attract viewers but also increase sales.

“Branded content has become something of a buzz term in the web TV industry, yet we know very little about what viewers actually think of it. There are no set guidelines for best practice and measuring ROI can be difficult. With this research we have set out to fill in some of the blanks and to outline why this area is so important to the future of online advertising.” Said Henry Scott, CEO, Simply Media.

Executive Summary

Consumers are savvy to online advertising

Across the research sample, it is evident that consumers are conscious of the many different methods of online advertising. They are also very aware that, unlike TV, they do not have to receive these adverts. They can block pop-ups, navigate away from the page, delete emails etc.

Branded content is hard to categorise

The respondents were shown a broad range of examples and for most it was hard for them to fit into a category. Most of the time it is not considered advertising and in some cases the benefit for the brand is not always clear. This uncertainty inspires curiosity.

Internet usage usually has a goal

When going online there was usually a goal that the respondent wanted to achieve. Whether it was checking Facebook, reading a news or sport update, checking email or watching online content, respondents had a clear mindset.

There is a clear thought process behind the consumption of branded content

Throughout the interviews it became apparent there was a set thought process when respondents were asked to judge the effectiveness of a piece of content. These fell into three main categories;

Distribution is key

Increasing potential to reach more people is clearly important but where content is viewed can also have an impact on the message you convey.

Viewing on a branded website makes the content seem more official, delivers a coherent message and also aids the opportunity to ‘up sell’. However respondents highlighted that it could be seen as lacking objectivity and it also less likely to be seen by non-users.

Relevant websites offer an introduction to new users as well as the potential to collaborate with other brands and benefit from their influence. In this space viewers can become distracted as there is plenty of competition for their attention.

Placing content on YouTube or other video portals exposes it to limitless possible viewers and is often the birth place of many virals. Respondents felt it made the content seem less genuine or lower budget when simply uploaded to a basic account, branded channels helped viewers to distinguish what was professional and what was not.

A complimentary medium

Online branded content sits very comfortably alongside other advertising media. It shares some benefits of print and TV but also has a role of its own due to increased scope for interaction and lower costs.

Tips for successful branded content

A number of clear tips emerged during the interviews such as being subtle with your product or brand, talking to consumers on their level, educating or entertaining content.


Simply Media have carried out the first serious qualitative UK research investigating how online visitors consume and think about branded content online. The research explores reactions to many different examples of branded content such as infomercials, corporate social responsibility messages, product reviews and virals.

Individual face-to-face interviews were conducted in London as the basis for the research. During this time respondents were shown around 6-8 examples of branded content hosted across a variety of sites and portals.

The participants ranged in age from 18-50+ years old, with the majority of the sample being in their 20’s or 30’s. There was an equal split of males and females, and all were educated to university level.

The Authors

Lisa Burprich, PR and Account Manager, Simply Media
+44 (0)207 608 8683

Justin Gibbons, Founder, Work Research
+44 (0)207 436 1664

About Simply Media TV

Simply ( is a part of the Simply Media group, which is one of the leading digital video providers with in-house expertise across the entire value chain.

Simply produce and license video content, sell advertising, distribute to millions of targeted viewers and provide technical, production and creative services to some of the World’s best known brands and companies including ivillage, MSN, Barclays and Borders.

About Work

Work has been researching advertising and media for over ten years and during that time has developed a set of tools and techniques that cover the whole communications spectrum.

Founder Justin Gibbons spent six years at PHD Media, most enjoyably as Director of Strategic Services department. During his time there he pioneered the use of qualitative research in media and conducted the World’s first neuro-scientific experiment into communications effects.

He has won Marketing and Media Week awards for his research and is a regular speaker at conferences including Edinburgh TV Festival, BAFTA, Channel 4 and recently the Norwegian Advertising Association.

For further information visit or contact Lisa Burprich. or 0207 608 8683.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Simply Media TV in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Media & Marketing, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit