- Rather than solely focusing on promotion, sponsored content is crafted to be educational or entertaining — a strategy that can help earn the attention and trust of consumers, ultimately driving sales.
- Done correctly, sponsored posts have the capability to catapult your business sales. According to Business Insider, a remarkable one-third of millennials have purchased from a brand after seeing a sponsored post.
- A display ad may only hold someone’s attention for a fleeting moment; whereas sponsored articles, devoted to touting a brand, may demand a reader’s time for a much more extended period.
Struggling to keep up with the different digital marketing opportunities for your business as an advertiser? Whether it’s for SEO or branding, it can be quite a challenge.
Traditional forms of advertising are still prevalent, yet consumers are becoming increasingly weary of disruptive ads. Rather, they’d prefer to be exposed to content that is related to their engagement.
If you’re currently planning your advertising budget for the year or are investigating new marketing avenues for your business, sponsored articles should certainly be taken into account.
Sponsored articles are what they seem to be: an advertiser pays a fee for content to be featured on the publisher’s platform.
Through the artful use of persuasion, these articles are written to appeal to the publisher’s readership base, all while promoting the advertiser’s product or service in an inconspicuous way.
But first, what’s the difference between branded content and sponsored content?
Branded Content vs. Sponsored Content
Since branded content is relatively a new concept, it is interchangeably used by marketers, advertisers, publishers and digital creators at large.
Jan Godsk, head of the BCMA’s (Branded Content Marketing Association) Scandinavian Chapter recently stated at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity:
“One of the problems with trying to define branded content is that there’s unlikely ever to be any consensus because everyone has a different take on what branded content is or should be.”
And while we couldn’t agree more — for the sake of this article — we’ll be drawing a line between the two and establishing what they are.
Both branded and sponsored content support a brand’s content marketing strategy and overarching goals, but there’s a distinction between them: where the content is being published and promoted — and who’s creating it.
In short, branded content is usually created by the brand itself and subsequently also published on their own site or content hub.
On the flip side, sponsored content is typically the outcome of a creative partnership between a publisher’s editorial team and a brand. Hosted on the publisher’s website, this content can be delivered directly to the publisher’s audience. In many instances, this audience may have similarities with the brand’s. To put it another way, when a brand is seeking to create sponsored content, they enlist a publisher to not only generate the content, but to also post it on their website.
Brands and publishers rarely go with a “salesy” approach when working together on sponsored content, as content strategy typically focuses on developing brand recognition. Rather, they focus on offering educational or entertaining content to readers, as this kind of exposure to a publication’s audience can lead to increased awareness, website visits, conversions, and leads — a benefit that is highly valued by brands.
- Branded content “lives” on brand-owned properties like their site, while sponsored content is integrated into the publisher’s site and other digital outlets such as social media and email.
- Branded content is produced in-house by a brand, while sponsored content is produced together with the publisher’s editorial team or entirely by the publisher.
- Branded content reaches the brand’s audience, while sponsored content reaches the publisher’s audience — usually larger than that of the brand.
The Benefits of Publishing Sponsored Content
Looking to publish sponsored content here on Allwork.Space? Get in touch.
There are many reasons why sponsored content is an effective marketing tool. To see if it’s the right fit for you, make a list of what you want your marketing campaign to achieve and see how much of it overlaps with these benefits.
1. Sponsored Content Attracts Consumer Interest and Leads to Sales
Rather than solely focusing on promotion, sponsored content is crafted to be educational or entertaining — a strategy that can help earn the attention and trust of consumers, ultimately driving sales.
A study led by IPG Media Lab established that publishing sponsored content can attract consumer interest and push potential customers down the sales funnel and found that consumers are 14% more likely to research an advertiser for additional content after viewing an item of sponsored content.
Done correctly, sponsored posts have the capability to catapult your business sales. According to Business Insider, a remarkable one-third of millennials have purchased from a brand after witnessing a sponsored post.
If you don’t believe Millennials should be your target audience, think again: Millennials are already the biggest segment in the workplace and are predicted to comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025.
2. Sponsored Content Is (More) Trustworthy
Marketers who distribute their branded content through a publisher’s network see 50% higher brand lift than those who publish on their own.
When customers are exposed to a product or service through a sponsored article, they connect the advertised brand with the publisher itself, making a lasting impression.
Assuming the reader (aka potential customer) has a high regard for the publisher, this paints the brand in an affirming light, confirming to the reader that the brand is held in esteem by the publisher.
Our brains are quite adept at “pattern recognition,” and when a brand aligns itself with a well-respected source, like a publisher, it serves as a sign that the company upholds the same values and prestige.
3. Sponsored Content Creates A Connection
When customers establish an emotional bond with a brand, they are more likely to remain loyal to the company and even spread the word to others.
Studies demonstrate that 70% of consumers who form an emotional bond with a particular brand are willing to spend twice (or more) than usual. This increase in sales is a result of the connection and positive feelings they have towards that brand.
Not only that, but 81% of those respondents then spread the word about their favorite brands to their family and friends. It’s no wonder that tapping into the emotions of your target audience is such a smart business move.
4. Sponsored Content Makes Your Brand “Top-Of-Mind”
Perhaps the most significant benefit of sponsored articles is that they’re not the blatant, in-your-face advertisements that audiences are becoming more and more opposed to. A sponsored article can do much more than simply advertise a product or a service.
Depending on the content readers expect from the publisher itself, a sponsored article could inform, entertain, or encourage the reader to think deeply about a topic that mildly interests them at the very least. A single native advert could never offer the same level of depth.
A Nielsen report found that branded content resulted in 86% brand recall.
It looks like either people have become more accustomed to branded content, or we have gotten better at it — maybe a combination of both. A study from the same previously mentioned IPG Media Lab revealed that recall of branded content has increased by 17% since 2013.
5. Sponsored Content Receives Higher Engagement Rates
Sponsored content is 22x more engaging than banner ads.
Rather than being distracted by something they don’t necessarily want to see, readers choose to click on a sponsored article because of an alluring title or an interesting byline.
Readers spend an average of 43 seconds engaging with written branded content, which might not seem like much, but when it’s compared to the average 1.6 seconds they spend with a banner ad, the difference is significant.
Once reading the article, consumers are likely to stick around even after discovering that the article is sponsored because they genuinely care about what the publisher has to say. With this content being more personalized and better suited to the reader, it is more likely to pique their interest.
6. Sponsored Content Offers Longer Exposure
A display ad may only hold someone’s attention for a fleeting moment; whereas sponsored articles, devoted to touting a brand, may demand a reader’s time for a much more extended period.
Compared to catching a fleeting glimpse of a brand whilst scrolling through social media or doing something else online, a potential customer is far more likely to remember a brand if they have invested several minutes reading about it.
Additionally, sponsored content tends to live on a publisher’s site indefinitely, whereas other types of marketing and advertising solutions (banner ads, eblasts, and such) tend to have an expiration date.
7. Sponsored Content Improves Your SEO Score — Greatly
If you’re looking to enhance your SEO efforts, consider integrating sponsored content because it’s a surefire way to get Google and other search engines to show favoritism to your content, as they prioritize quality when delivering results to user queries.
Crafting pertinent and captivating branded content gives you a better shot at higher search engine rankings, which can in the end translate to more website visitors and conversions.
On top of this, when the content is published on a publisher’s site which Google already deems as high-ranking and authoritative, the more the brand will benefit from the publisher’s “SEO juice” — the term used in the SEO world to refer to the value or equity passed from one page or site to another.
Search engines view hyperlinks as a way to pass on the message that your page is deemed valuable and worthy of promotion, which is a vote of confidence from other websites.
8. Sponsored Content Reaches More People — Faster
Brands can reach their intended audience in a non-intrusive way through sponsored content, within the framework of a publisher’s existing audience base.
Publishers typically have an impressive reach when it comes to the number of people they can connect with through their digital platforms and channels.
Crafting compelling sponsored content can help to extend your reach and make your business stand out from the rest.
Sponsored content provides endless possibilities for captivating audiences with innovative strategies that defy the ordinary expectations of advertising. The best sponsored content is the type that stands out like quality media and successfully keeps audiences engaged, ultimately driving sales, boosting brand awareness, increasing authority, loyalty and engagement.
Looking to publish sponsored content here on Allwork.Space? Get in touch.