Sponsored content is material that resembles editorial content but is paid for by a sponsor. It is designed to promote the sponsor’s product or service. Sponsored content provides useful, educational, or entertaining information as a way of favorably influencing the perception of the sponsor brand.
Companies can use sponsored content to alter perceptions about the breadth of its product range, the quality and inspiration of its designs, how customers use the product, or how it engages with its market. The point is generally to enhance the understanding of the brand.
WHAT SPONSORED CONTENT IS NOT
Advertorial: Advertising placements that incorporate editorialized messages produced by the advertiser. By contrast, sponsored content (done well) is true editorial material seamlessly produced by the publication with input from the brand.
Content Marketing: Marketing materials produced and distributed on their own, without the skills, time or distribution platform of a publisher. Sponsored content, by contrast, is produced by a publisher in a form consistent with the publisher’s other content, with input from the brand.
Press Releases: Announcements that are important to the brand, which may or may not be considered important by the public. Sponsored content (done well) puts the readers’ interests first and seeks to be useful, entertaining and authentic. Often, it is not explicitly about the brand at all, but about a subject that intersects with the brand and is not explicitly promotional.
Native Advertising: Ads that mirror the environment they appear in are often called native ads. Google search ads and in-feed Facebook ads are the most ubiquitous type of native advertising. Sponsored content is a type of native advertising and appears as in-depth, rich features that appear on sites and social platforms of online publications and social platforms.