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Attention marketers: Look to expert reviews before you deploy your own branded content to attract consumers.

According to a new Nielsen study, 85 percent of consumers look to content from experts before they make a purchasing decision. 67 percent of consumers said an endorsement from an unbiased expert would make them more likely to purchase a product.

“It’s not about one or the other, it’s about a cohesive marketing mix of different content,” said Inpowered CEO and co-founder Peyman Nilforoush, in an interview with VentureBeat, comparing the value of expert reviews over things like content created by companies and user reviews. “What you need to do is start with trusted content.”

While this may all seem like common sense, the results shed light on exactly what consumers pay attention to as they assess potential purchases — which makes this data catnip for marketers eager for consumer attention.

The study was commissioned by Inpowered, a content marketing company dedicated to promoting the value of expert, third-party content, and it was conducted in a lab environment over three months with 900 subjects.

Though the study sells Inpowered’s company line with aplomb, the fact that it was conducted by Nielsen makes it worth paying attention to. It points out that consumers rely on digital content five times more today than they did a year ago, which means it’s more important than ever for marketers to figure out ways to make their content stand out.

The study notes that expert reviews made consumers 88 percent more aware of brands than content directly from companies, and they were also 50 percent more credibly than user reviews. In certain product categories, like products for children, consumers trusted other users more than some expert reviews. And when professionals just need specs, they go straight to branded content.

“The key thing this does for us help marketers better understand their strategy to impact consumers’ decision making, using a content mix that is most beneficial to the consumers,” Nilforoush said. “This has almost become kind of like a playbook for startups, as well as big brands.”

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