The findings were based on an in-person controlled lab test in which the relative impact of three different online content types (expert reviews, branded content, and user reviews) was measured on 900 consumers. Specifically, the researchers examined how the content affected awareness/familiarity, perceptions (likeability), and purchase consideration for nine products.
Expert reviews (credible, third-party online articles) were the most effective online content type across all three stages of the purchase process, increasing purchase consideration 11%, affinity 12%, and familiarity 15%, Nielsen found.
On average, expert content lifted familiarity 88% more than branded content, and 50% more than user reviews; affinity, 50% more than branded content and 20% more than user reviews; and purchase consideration, 38% more than branded content and 83% more than user reviews.
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