Sponsored content is one of those marketing terms you can’t seem to escape these days. In 2016, The New York Times called it “king in a Facebook world.” Major publications like Forbes, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and Buzzfeed all run some kind of content sponsorship.
But it’s more than just a buzzword. Sponsored content and native advertising can give your brand an opportunity to cut through the noise and slide past ad blockers to connect with consumers.
Wondering which kind of content sponsorship is right for your brand? Today I’m running through 4 popular types of native ads to help you determine which one is the right fit for your business.
Best for: Brands who know their target audience; Products with wide appeal; Brands looking for conversions directly from their content; Companies looking to control their messaging.
Dedicated email is an email sent by a publisher on behalf of an advertising partner. This is sometimes also called an email list rental, since the advertiser never accesses the email addresses they’re mailing to, but instead “rents” the list.
The entirety of the email is dedicated to advertiser content, making dedicated email a great native advertising option for companies that want to ensure their messaging is on-brand.
How do you know if dedicated email is right for you? Dedicated email is a great way to share content upgrades or exclusive offers with a list of people tailored to your product.
That means your ad won’t just build awareness—you’ll likely see conversions from your dedicated email blast.
You’ll have great results with dedicated email if you know who your customer is, and can identify newsletters he or she would follow. For instance, if you sell furniture, you could partner with a newsletter focused on interior design, like Decoist.
If your product has wide appeal, you can also experiment with dedicated email advertising to more general email newsletters, like a daily news update, for instance.
Best for: Businesses that worry about their content being seen as intrusive; Brands looking to promote content alongside newsletter content.
Email sponsorship is advertiser’s content that appears alongside a publisher’s regular newsletter content. More like a traditional display ad for email, sponsored email is a great way to get your message across if you’re worried about your content being seen as annoying or intrusive.
The content of the ad is still provided by the brand, so you can still control the message you’re sending.
While dedicated email is highly focused on conversions, sponsored email is more likely to build authority and brand awareness. By promoting your brand alongside a newsletter that is already seen as an authority, you can help to build an association with that authority.
That’s not to say you won’t get conversions from sponsored email. You can, if you ensure that you create an offer that would appeal to your target audience and a landing page focused on your conversion goal.
Sponsored email can also be a good option if you don’t have the budget to test dedicated email campaigns yet, since the rates for sponsored emails are lower than dedicated.
Sponsored Blog Post
Best for: Borrowing authority from trusted publishers; Products that need in-depth explanations; Brands looking to increase awareness.
A sponsored blog post is written on behalf of an advertiser by a publishing partner. While this means you won’t have as much control over your message, it can also be refreshing to provide a new perspective on your product.
Plus, bloggers generally take direction from the brands they work with as far as important features to call out, messages to communicate, and products to use. Rest assured, you’ll be able to communicate your goals during the negotiating process.
While you may see conversions from a post, sponsored blog posts are especially great for brands that are looking to borrow authority from trusted publishers and gain brand affinity from readers.
Unlike a sponsored email, a sponsored blog post features a blogger using, wearing, or reviewing your product, lending even more social proof to your brand.
If you coordinate to create many sponsored posts in the same niche, you can do a lot to boost your brand recognition, which can pay off with sales in the long run.
Social Media Post
Best for: Visually appealing products; Brands looking to connect with users where they are; Companies looking to build brand recognition.
A sponsored social media post is any post that your brand pays a user with a large following (an influencer) to post.
Sponsored social media posts can vary from fashion bloggers wearing certain articles of clothing or food bloggers using certain ingredients, to influencers explicitly plugging a product. You can discuss your expectations with the influencer during the negotiation process.
Social media posts are a great option for brands looking to boost their brand recognition. While they are less effective at directly causing conversions, much like sponsored blog posts, social media posts can help make sales over time.
After all, if you can become the brand everyone on Instagram is talking about, that name recognition will affect purchases in the long run.
Social media posts are generally best for a visually appealing product, since they are nearly always image-focused. Think about whether you can see your product fitting into a snapshot of a blogger’s everyday life—if so, it’s probably a great fit for a social media post.
What Kind of Content Sponsorship Will You Use?
Now that you’ve had a run-through of the different kinds of sponsorship opportunities available to you, the only question is: which one will you try first?
Remember—you don’t have to pick just one. The beauty of native advertising is that you can test which methods work best for you and scale your campaign strategy once you know what works.
Ready to implement your content sponsorship strategy? Paved makes it easier than ever to find, hire, and pay publishers all in one place. Sign up for free and start browsing our publisher marketplace today.