You know those little content squares at the bottom of some content sites? The ones that have a picture of a child-star from years ago and a headline like “You won’t believe his secret!”? People don’t like them. That’s the word from new research out from Arkadium.
Researchers polled more than 300 consumers, asking for their opinions on these types of content. The major finding is that more than three-quarters (79%) of people don’t like the content in them, but perhaps more important that their dislike of these content squares is this: people are blaming the publisher for the content…even when the publisher isn’t responsible for creating the content.
Nearly half (40%) say that this kind of content “looks spammy”. Consumers are also calling this kind of content “fake news” and “click bait”.
“Publishers are doing long-term harm to their reputations and relationships with readers when they opt for the short-term cash these widgets can bring,” says Jessica Rovello, CEO of Arkadium. “In today’s environment, the claim that something on a publisher’s site is ‘fake news’ should sound an alarm for any reputable media company. The perception that these widgets are spreading fake news can be damning to a publisher, as the widgets can taint readers’ trust in the rest of the content on that site. It’s also a problem for premium publishers claiming to offer brand-safe inventory for marketers.”
But people still click on the content pieces? True. Some people click. But are a handful of clicks worth a brand’s reputation? Consider this: nearly half (40%) of consumers blame the publisher for this type of content – moreso than the site where the content is hosted.
“Publishers are receiving the most backlash from readers over content recommendation widgets….,” said Rovello. “[They] need to invest in new technology and content that gives the end-user a more engaging experience on-site, and less on these clickbait-driven widgets that their readers openly despise.”