What is sponsored content?
Sponsored content comes in many shapes and forms. It can sometimes come in the form of video and social integrations to article creation and media executions on the page. The entire premise of sponsored content is to identify intent. If you aren’t doing that then you aren’t exactly thinking about sponsored content correctly.
What do we mean when we say intent? Let’s use a relatively simple example, buying a hardware tool, like a drill or screwdriver. Let’s say for instance you were a shopper, where are you going to do your shopping? You might Google that need, in particular, you probably wouldn’t go onto Facebook and look for it. You might if you wanted to ask your friends about recommendations but generally speaking that’s a different use case here. We’re looking at the discovery.
So if you are to put into Google this need, in particular, you might see content related that need. Someone talking about reviews of drills or articles that maybe are about experiences with them. At this point, this is already where sponsored content comes in. It places intent of the user and content into the same target. And executes a brand sponsorship which aligns either sales, awareness or some other type of KPI behind the integration on the page.
Can this be done on social? Absolutely. Sponsored content isn’t just for Google. That’s only one particular use case. In the entertainment world, social sponsored content might be the best scenario. Because you are truly looking to inform the user about an upcoming event, let’s say a new season of a TV show. And sometimes the passive nature of content digestion on social works really well. It also places sharing abilities front and center with the user.
Media execution on sponsored content is really critical, you don’t want them to just be ads. You need the integration to make sense and be visually appealing. Ideally, the visuals convert as well.
How do premium publishers create sponsored content? It really depends on the publisher, here at Thought Catalog we think very strategically about the intent of the user from one of our favorite platforms, Google. We also think about ways to target our existing articles using category takeovers or categorical analysis of audience fit. For instance, our readers love Creepy articles. While they are visiting our Web site to read Creepy articles, they would also be a perfect fit for new TV Series that maybe are thrillers. Or maybe even simply psychological shows that follow the same style. The audience fit can sometimes be mutual instead of exclusive. And that’s how premium publishers have an amazing lead on creating some of the best sponsored content for media agencies.
Here’s an example of sponsored content for Netflix. We examined the shows ethos and crafted supporting material which would draw a storyline similar to the shows desired audience. In this particular case, it was Alex Strangelove on Netflix. Which discussed coming out as gay in high school. You can see an example of what we did in this article.
Setting KPI’s of sponsored content
KPI’s of sponsored content can be variable. For instance, Instagram sponsored content is going to have a very different approach and should have a different KPI behind it. For that one in particular, you might be looking for impressions or eyeballs. And that’s perfectly fit for entertainment based executions. Using our previous examples, TV shows or movies. For intent that might be about exposure to new products, let’s call it a new cellular device on the market, it also might be about awareness. In certain circumstances sales is a great fit for sponsored content. But in those instances, you might have to find a more direct audience which the media executions are part of.
Cost of sponsored content
Cost of sponsored content is variable depending on the scale of the distribution and cost of the actual execution. If you are looking at video creation and social distribution (Facebook and Twitter primarily), for a premium publisher with a heavy amount of distribution in the multiple millions (like us at Thought Catalog), the price tag can be in the mid-five figures to mid-six figures. It depends entirely based on the campaign. If you are looking to get an idea of the cost, head over to our advertising page and contact one of our sales professionals to help you with your business or media agency.