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What Role Do Brand Sites Play in the Content Marketing Landscape?

New York, NY (January 7, 2013) – Brands are spending more time—and money—engaging with consumers outside of their brand sites on the likes of YouTube, Tumblr, Facebook and many other channels. As marketing efforts move to social networks and to content sites such as BuzzFeed, what happens to the brand’s dot-com?

A new eMarketer report, What’s a Brand Site For? Engaging Consumers Across Multiple Channels, answers this and other important questions about the role of brand sites in the content marketing landscape, including:

  • In an era of widespread social media, what is the purpose of the brand site? What does it do best?
  • Should content from social sites drive traffic to the brand site?
  • Or should brand sites drive traffic to social sites?
  • If a brand’s social media site gets more traffic than its brand site, is it necessary to maintain a brand site?

Brand pages, although they are not very heavily trafficked as a rule, are still a primary resource for consumers seeking information about products and the companies that make them. An October study by nRelate found that 48% of online shoppers said they trusted content from brand websites. No other content type approached the trustworthiness of corporate sites, according to this survey—not even mainstream news sites.

In a separate survey of internet users in the US and Canada by marketing services firm Epsilon, the percentage of respondents who named company websites as a trustworthy source of information was much lower—just 20% of US internet users and only 16% of those in Canada—but those relatively low results were still higher than those for TV, radio or email.

Still, for most brands, traffic is unlikely to be very high. A joint study by Accenture, dunnhumbyUSA and comScore suggested as much. It showed that 64% of the top 25 CPG brands averaged less than 100,000 unique visitors per month to their brand websites. But ignoring this traffic could be costly. The study also found that, on average, visitors to CPG brand websites spent 37% more than non-visitors on those brands in retail stores.

So what role does the brand website play in a company’s overall content marketing strategy? Turns out, it’s a question of context. “We’re constantly trying to figure out what is the right content for which channel,” said Amanda Mahan, Clorox’s creative director for digital and content. “With Hidden Valley Ranch, recipes are the most popular content on our website. So, naturally, we thought we’d just put them on Facebook. It turns out they are the worst performing piece of content that we do there.”

“It’s a different mindset when [our fans] are on Facebook,” Mahan said. “When they come to social channels, they want to have fun and share. When they come to our website, they’re looking to solve a problem.”

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Posted on January 7, 2013.