New industry research from YouGov and Seven has revealed consumers think content from brands is the best way to help them select and buy products and services - more than outdoor, TV & radio ads. And 57% said they felt more positive towards brands that generated content for them. It fits into the recent trend in spend uplift in ‘owned media’, which has seen a 25% net increase in each of the past two years.

What benefit does this bring to the grocery market? Customer magazines are part of this content marketing growth, and grocery titles perform particularly well in this sector. Many supermarkets have digital versions of their magazines and are increasingly using technology to take their content to a new level.

A good example of this is the multichannel relaunch of Tesco magazine, where new digital innovations are driving customer engagement beyond print. The content includes an augmented reality cover and click-to-buys, so customers can instantly buy products featured in the magazine via the online store using the Tesco Discover app. Customers can also use AR to access interactive recipe videos on YouTube. And with a tablet edition, e-zines and food and lifestyle content across six social media platforms, it all means that digital and print integrate to deliver a new, exciting customer experience.

Sainsbury’s ‘Little Ones’ is another example of how a grocer has successfully delivered great multi-platform content. The club for pregnant mums and parents of young children produces content that runs online and in print, including life stage-targeted magazines.

The latest figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations covering the period from January to June 2013 show that good content from grocers continues to resonate with consumers. Tesco Magazine leads a hat-trick of supermarket titles topping the list of the biggest circulation consumer magazines in the UK with a circulation of 1.95 million.

As long as supermarkets continue to innovate and generate engaging content for consumers, owned media will become an increasingly integral part of a brand’s marketing mix.

Clare Hill is MD of the Content Marketing Association