Your readers don't like being lied to

Here’s an interesting chart from Mark May and the team at Citi.

Looking at branded content — specifically as it relates to Facebook’s opportunity in the space — Citi found that 48% of US internet users felt deceived upon realising an article or video was not a piece of news or commentary, but was in fact a commercial.

Certainly, readers don’t like being lied to. This is more or less a standard human response. What else this chart tells us is a bit less clear.

For instance: Do the 32% of users who clicked an ad they thought was an article but don’t feel deceived enjoy the ad? Do they buy something from the ad? What about the 20% who don’t know? Is it because “branded content” is sort of nonsense jargon people outside the advertising/media industry simply don’t understand?

And so on.

More broadly, May’s read on the branded content space for Facebook is that by clarifying its policies around these kinds of ads the company opens up opportunities for revenue inside of its Newsfeed. May notes that Facebook announced changes to its policies in April.

“The new rules will make the sponsorship nature of this type of content more transparent to users, and also clarify how media partners can better monetise this form of advertising across the Facebook network (note that the guidelines apply to many platforms, including Instant Articles and live videos),” May writes.

“As such, we see this as a win-win-win for FB users, FB media partners/advertisers, and for FB itself.”

Earlier this week, reports indicated that Procter & Gamble, the world’s biggest ad spender, would cut down on the number of targeted ads it placed on Facebook but not reduce its total spend on the platform.

The implication here, it seems, is that P&G feels branded content will be more effective.

Particularly if readers don’t feel deceived.

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