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2022 Branded content trends


With both e-commerce (up 46.5% YOY) and digital adspend (up 5% to £16.5bn) booming, and UK adults spending up to a quarter of their waking day on the internet, it’s no wonder that online branded content has become ever more important for both awareness and conversion.

During the past couple of years, we have become more focused than ever on the entire consumer journey happening online – from discovery to purchase, and while elements of this will undoubtably return to the offline world, what we’ve learnt has been invaluable, as more and more of our time is spent connected to our devices. Here’s 5 branded content trends we’ll be focusing on this year…

1. Interactive – In a world of scrolling through short-form content, we’ve become programmed to click and interact with content on social platforms. Consider inactive elements in longer-form content. Gamification has been a recent trend – so how can your brand / product leverage this – perhaps could it form part of the sales funnel with consumers selecting which product suits them best?

We recently ran a quiz within an article for a technology brand where 1/3 of those interacting clicked through to product pages after being given a recommendation based on the results.

2. Detailed Engagement Analysis – We’ve always been guided by universal metrics like dwell time and CTA clicks, but do you truly understand how successful one piece of content is over another? How far are your readers making it through your content? If all your CTAs are after 75% through, but only 40% of readers make it that far, could you add CTAs higher up the piece to increase rates?

When comparing multiple articles, do you kill one with poor scroll depth over another? Thanks to new tech we can now analyse this and more, including breaking out CTAs and testing everything from hyperlinks to custom widgets and standard display units. We can then interpret this data visually through unique heatmaps that enable us to better plan content layouts and boost performance.

3. Templates

Which leads us nicely to templates… With the additional insights into on-page actions within the publisher environment, we can repeat content blocks that we know perform well, such as mid-article break-out boxes. Once you have a format you know works, copy can be created to fit the template, saving you time, and shortening the testing and optimisation phases of a campaign.

Online research

4. The individual

One of the trends of the pandemic was undoubtably brand purpose – companies showing their best side when times were tough for everyone, but I’ve written many times about how altruistic we really are as consumers, and it’s not surprising that we might again be thinking a bit more about the individual as life returns to something more akin to normal. Think about how to appeal to your potential customer’s aspirations – whether that be studying at university, buying a home or booking a holiday. Why will it improve their career prospects, how will it make life better for their family, will it help them finally relax after a stressful couple of years?

5. Solve a problem

The best performing headlines we’ve produced in the last year all have one thing in common – they solve a problem with the article providing the solution(s). This could be in the form of content marketing which softly introduces a product alongside other solutions, or it could be straight-up advertorial that directly introduces a product that meets the need of the reader.

Either way, two things are mission critical – 1) A headline that mentions the problem with a promise of a solution 2) An article that lives up to expectations with no disconnect between the two. Get this right and you should see CTA rates jump from articles, delivering exceptionally well qualified traffic to your brand site.