Sponsored content: What you need to know in 2023 + 5 amazing examples

Advertisers are always on the hunt for the perfect way to pitch a product or service to their customers. The work that they do is certainly not easy, and they have to be incredibly innovative to hit the right tone with customers each and every time. Right now, a form of advertising known as sponsored content is on the rise, and we wanted to take a look at what this is and what forms it is taking in 2023. 

What is Sponsored Content? 

Research indicates that sponsored content has far more staying power than traditional forms of marketing. In fact, it is estimated that sponsored content stays in the minds of the viewer at least twice as long as traditional advertisements. Thus, it is hardly any wonder why so many marketers want to produce sponsored content for themselves. The question is, what is it? 

A crisp and clear definition of this term is provided to us by activecampaign.com

Sponsored content is premium content that a sponsor pays a publisher to create and distribute. It’s a type of native advertising that is consistent with the surrounding content on a webpage.

When it is done just right, it is challenging for the reader or viewer to recognize that they are viewing sponsored material. The advertisement is supposed to weave into the fabric of the rest of the content so perfectly that it simply appears to be the same as every other piece of content currently on the website.

Sponsored content is not a new phenomenon, it has been around since at least the days of radio advertising, but it is getting renewed attention now that there are more mediums than ever through which one can advertise. 

Audiences are more segmented than ever. One can view cable channels, listen to podcasts, or even watch their favorite streamers via live-streaming services and video-sharing platforms such as TikTok. Thus, the opportunities to reach a specific and niche audience have never been greater. The rush to fill those channels with branded content is on, and it is every marketer for themselves!

How do Sponsored Content, Native Advertising, and Branded Content Differ? 

Although there are some crossovers between sponsored content, native advertising, and branded content, there are also differences that are worth paying attention to as well. Let us start by taking a look at the differences between native advertising and branded content to start. Then, we can incorporate how sponsored content is also different from these two. 

A few ways that you can tell the difference between native advertising and branded content include: 

  • How You Feel After Consuming the Content – After reading or viewing something, if you felt entertained or learned something new but also realised that there were some branding overtones to it, you probably just consumed branded content. On the other hand, if you primarily felt like you needed to purchase something, then you are likely looking at native advertising. 
  • How Sharable is the Content? – Do you have the urge to share the material that you just consumed? If so, then you are probably looking at branded content and NOT native advertising. The thing about native advertising is that it is much more blatant in its attempt to sell you something, and that is unlikely to be great shareable content in most cases. 
  • Production Value – The quality of the production you just saw is another tell-tell sign of what kind of content you are viewing. Branded content tends to be of high production value. More money is invested in it to tell a story. Meanwhile, native content is of lower production value and more direct to the point. 

Sponsored content is different from both of these options in that it is content that is paid for to be weaved into existing content. It lands somewhere between native advertising and branded content. It is generally not as original or high-quality in production as branded content, but it is also not as in-your-face as native advertising.

Brand Growth Via Sponsored Content

Pursuing sponsored content makes sense when you realise that it is an affordable way to get your company’s name in front of people who are likely interested in what you have to pitch. What you are looking for are publications and websites that you believe your target customer is likely to interface with already. 

Small businesses are likely to have a tight advertising budget when they are first getting started. They may not have the funding necessary to pay for expensive branded content, but they can surely afford to do some advertising via sponsored content. Thus, they may find major cost savings by paying to put their sponsored ads onto popular websites where they will be seen. Getting a little traction is all that they need to do to start making a difference. Sometimes, riding on the success of another is what one has to do for a time until they can begin to afford to produce their own branded content. 

Top Benefits of Sponsored Content

An understanding of the highlights of why sponsored content takes the cake in the advertising world will help you understand why it is such a critical part of everything that you do. Here are some benefits you do not want to miss out on. 

Sponsored Content Outperforms Traditional Ads

Traditional advertisements are fine, but they don’t necessarily get the follow-through from potential customers that one might hope for. With sponsored ads, the click-through rate can be up to 8.8 times higher than the click-through rate of traditional ads. That gigantic difference makes the extra time and effort that sponsored ads require well worth the effort. 

Young Consumers Believe in the Sincerity of Sponsored Content

A study conducted by Time Inc. discovered that the critical millennial and Gen Z generations found sponsored content to be more sincere than traditional ads by a ratio of 2 to 1. These are the generations that are working-age at this point (at least most of them), and they have money to spend. Thus, anything that works well with them is at least worth exploring. 

Higher Engagement Rates

Not only are sponsored ads good at getting people to click, but they are also just good in general. That is to say that people actually LIKE them, and not just in the social media sense. When a potential customer sees a familiar face in the form of a celebrity or public figure that they like pitching a product to them, they can’t help but to want to know more. Even if the ad lacks a person like that, it can still be appealing simply because it is more well-crafted than the average ad. 

Amazing Examples of Sponsored Content

  1. Ape to Gentleman – The Most Sustainable Men’s Sneaker Brands: Stylish, Eco-Friendly Kicks

2. The Coolector – 8 of the best mens sneaker brands for summer


3. OPUMO – The best laptop bags for working on the go


4. Fashionbeans – 24 of the best men’s shorts to show off this season

5. Boss Hunting – 14 Best Men’s Shoe Brands For Timeless Style


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