It’s now well established that people spend more time with their smartphones than they do with their PCs. The obvious implication of that is a “mobile-first” or cross-platform marketing strategy.
That extends to branded or sponsored content as well, according “The State of Branded Content,” a new report from Polar. The document exposes aggregate customer data surrounding time spent by publisher category, advertiser category, geography and device type. The data are drawn from campaigns running on its platform over the course of the previous year.
Notwithstanding the general time-spent mobile metrics, it’s still surprising that people are more engaged with branded/sponsored content on smartphones than devices with larger screens. In accordance with the above graphic, Polar says that “smartphone time spent [with sponsored content] is 63 percent higher than desktop.”
As an explanation for the finding, Polar argues smartphones offer fewer distractions than PCs:
Several factors can be attributed to the smartphone’s dominance in time spent. The linear path of the reader ensures there are less distractions and less chances to click away from the sponsored content. As well, content is increasingly tailor-made for the format.
Polar also found a 127-percent higher click-though rate on smartphones. However, content engagement varied widely by vertical. Branded content within the finance publisher vertical saw the most engagement/time spent, followed by health and the catch-all “special interest.” Branded content within the News vertical showed the lowest average time spent.
There were also differences in engagement by advertiser vertical, which were not identical to the publisher vertical metrics above. Polar observed that publishers partnering with “advertisers that align closely with the publisher’s core audience and editorial nature are seeing significantly greater engagement with branded content.”
Beyond the data above, the Polar report contains a range of additional findings and recommendations.