Brands are increasingly redirecting their digital marketing budgets toward native advertising, including paid social media posts, paid search, influencer marketing, and sponsored content.
The shift is not happening without good reason. By definition, native ads are a form of paid promotion that takes form, function, and quality of content in the platform where it appears. Native ads, therefore, promote without making audiences feel they are being targeted, opening up even more opportunities to engage them.
We at GetCraft divide native ads into three categories: programmatic native ads, native ad units, and sponsored content. Each native ad type has its own potential, undergoes a unique technical process and addresses specific needs.
Programmatic native ads target audience based on metadata collected from certain channels or media. These are generally displayed with recommendation widgets, from services like Taboola or Outbrain.
Native ad units allow advertisers to promote content on a particular platform. Examples of these are capabilities to post ads on Facebook, to have ads appear as part of search results on Google, or as to have promoted listings on Amazon.
So what is sponsored content?
Sponsored content is a form of advertising put out by publishers or social media influencers in a format and quality they are known for--whether they be articles, photos, video, or other executions. Brands co-create these content to generate conversations around their product category or even their product.
We refer to content co-created with publishers as branded content. It is a form of native advertising that allows brands to get their messages across by riding on the credibility, unique voice, and audience affinity that publishers have developed over time.
When brands work co-create content with influencers, we call it influencer marketing. This allows marketers to expand their reach on social media beyond their own pages and ads by tapping into the network of popular or sometimes niche individuals and groups.
Our experience at GetCraft has taught us that by tapping into the audience affinity of publishers and influencers, brands can get higher click-through rates. Branded content generally has a click through rate of 1-2%; influencer marketing, 2-4%. In comparison, native ad units and programmatic native ads both have click-through rates between 0.2% and 0.8%.
We attribute the higher click-through rates for sponsored content to the fact that audiences are more likely to trust content from sources that they trust. Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising Report suggests that 83% of consumers believe recommendations from people they know, and 66% believe editorial content. Only 42% now believe display ads.
So while all types of native ads serve a purpose, sponsored content is our recommended option for marketers who want to build high-impact conversations around their brands. Instead of one or two versions of a banner ad, for example, co-creating with publishers and influencers can easily give you dozens of content pieces and engage with a wider audience.
Now that you know the answer to question "What is sponsored content?" you must also know that running sponsored campaigns can be challenging. That's why we at GetCraft connect you to thousands of content creators to help you find and easily work with the ones who best fit your needs.