What is Sponsored Content?

If you’ve ever been on social media and run across a post with a caption that read “partnered with,” “affiliated with,” or “sponsored by,” then you have seen sponsored content. Sponsored content is a type of promotional advertising that is paid for by an advertiser; however an influencer, a publisher, or another brand creates it. This form of advertising is incredibly effective because the brand’s target audience is usually in line with the content creator’s audience or website’s current users. Due to this, the ads can feel more natural and trustworthy as opposed to traditional advertising. Statistics have shown that this form of advertising works as 73% of people were able to recall branded content that they’ve seen. 

sponsored content

What is Sponsored Content?

Today, you can find sponsored content anywhere from podcasts and Buzzfeed lists to biography videos and box office films. Where there is good content, there is a brand who will sponsor it. In this article, we’ll discuss the rise in sponsored content and examples of sponsored content on social media. 

Sponsored Content vs. Traditional Advertising

Traditional advertisements look very distinct and they can come on print, digital, or radio. They look like a “classic advertisement” with a clear message from a brand promoting their product. Sponsored content doesn’t always look like this; it can often take on many forms and might be hard to differentiate between standard content and sponsored content. But, both forms of advertising have the same intent: to spread awareness of a brand’s product. 

Why Advertisers Use Sponsored Content 

If you are an advertiser, the first thing you want to look for when promoting your product is what platform will give you the highest return on investment (ROI.) For that, you’ll need to advertise where you can get the most eyes on your product; that’s marketing 101. Traditional advertisements are expensive to run and depending on the platform, it can cost advertisers less than half the price of a television advertisement to market a product through a sponsorship. Financially, sponsored content makes more sense due to its cost-efficiency. However, there are many other reasons sponsored content can be more effective than traditional advertising: 

what is sponsored content

Millennials Are More Likely to Engage With Sponsored Content 

With the growing popularity of social media, fewer people are willing to engage with traditional media like television advertisements, magazines, and billboards. Millennials, who have now surpassed the Baby Boomers as the largest generation, have given advertisers the challenge of rethinking where consumers are most likely to see advertisements based on their day-to-day activities. Millennials are more interested in technology than their predecessors and spend far more time online, so to engage with this distrusting, technologically advanced generation, sponsored content has become a winning marketing tool. Over 30% of millennials have admitted to making a purchase after seeing a sponsored ad because sponsored content comes across as more trustworthy, therefore millennials are more apt to engage with this form of marketing. 

Using Social Media for Sponsored Content

Sponsored content has gained in popularity with its use on social media platforms. As we’ve stated before, social media is far less expensive to advertise on than print, television, or radio and millennials are one of the biggest users of social media, in turn making social media an ideal platform for consumer marketing. But what specifically do we mean by social media marketing in relation to sponsored content? Well, through social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram, each platform gives advertisers an opportunity to market to their preferred target audience. By sponsoring an influencer, a brand can use their specific audience in order to promote their product. 

Affiliate marketing measures the success or failure of sponsorships. Brands will give an influencer an affiliate code or link. Then, they can measure whether or not they have received a positive ROI. Each social media platform differs in its content, so sponsored content can appear in many forms. 

sponsored content tiktok

Sponsored Content on TikTok

Since TikTok’s inception in 2017, the app (formerly known as Music.ly) has created a hub for people who enjoy quick content in the form of short videos. Brands have jumped on this marketing bandwagon because of its clever way of reaching a younger audience. Like YouTube, TikTok influencers are able to connect their video content with a brand’s advertising campaign. Unlike YouTube, videos are shorter, so there’s less time a viewer will be watching and likewise being exposed to an advertisement. Comparatively, TikTok sponsorships also cost less than YouTube’s due to its relatively new reach and ease of scale. 

Some effective ways to strategically sponsor content on TikTok can include:

Dance Challenges

Dance challenges have increased in popularity partly thanks to the app itself. New releases of music, fitness wear, and cars have been cleverly promoted through specific dance challenges that use a corresponding hashtag. 


Makeup brands are no stranger to sponsored content on social media and TikTok is the newest platform to promote new product launches. This form of marketing became popular on YouTube culminating in an entire “YouTube Beauty Community.”

Giveaways and Sweepstakes 

Giveaways have been a popular form of marketing for decades and have now become a popular way to promote sponsored content on TikTok. Creators can partner with a brand and giveaway and product or service through the app. 

Product Creation

Another way brands can sponsor content on TikTok is by collaborating with a creator and developing a specific product for consumers to purchase. An example of this would be a coffee brand collaborating with an influencer to create a one-of-a-kind brand/influencer coffee. 

Sponsored Content on Linkedin

LinkedIn is an ideal platform for business marketing due to the 121 million users browsing the website daily for job searching, self-promotion, and connecting with businesses. Businesses can profit off of LinkedIn’s demographic of business interested consumers by marketing sponsored content. It can be difficult to reach a wider audience, however, so using sponsored content can aid in reaching new consumers that might not already be in the business’ current network. According to their website, sponsored content on LinkedIn can include: 

  • Single image ads
  • Video ads
  • Carousel image ads
  • Single job ads

Sponsored content on LinkedIn is also a good option for business-to-business (B2B) marketing as the majority of users are currently businesses. 

sponsored content Facebook

Sponsored Content on Facebook 

Marketing on Facebook is a great way to spread awareness of a brand. That’s due to its accessibility and popularity with users. So if you want to increase visibility for your product, marketing sponsored content on Facebook is the way to go.

An example of sponsored content on Facebook will traditionally look like a normal post by a business or person. However, underneath their name it will let the consumer know it is a sponsored post. Facebook users tend to be more engaging with posts like this because it flows seamlessly in their news feed and is based around the user’s specific interests. Unlike other sponsored content, consumers are able to interact with the post through likes, comments, and post sharing. Promoting a product or brand through Facebook sponsored content is also inexpensive. This makes it a great way for small businesses to increase their ROI and reach a larger audience. 

How Facebook Demographics Affect Sponsored Content 

Because Facebook has so many users, the demographics can range from baby boomers to Gen-Z, so how do advertisers know who to market to? Identifying a demographic on Facebook is necessary if you want to properly market your product. The reason sponsored content is so effective is because of its direct marketing to a target audience. Since Facebook’s demographic is so broad, brands need to identify their target audience and create content designed to engage them based on that audience’s specific interests. This is an important part of sponsored content: knowing demographics and learning how to market based on their platform preferences. 

linkedin sponsored content

Sponsored Content on Instagram

Engaging with the photo-loving audiences means marketing sponsored content on Instagram. With over a billion people using the app monthly, it has become the most used social media platform. Millenials prefer Instagram. This is the same generation that are more engaged with sponsored content. With the rise in influencer marketing, sponsored content can be utilized in a few ways through Instagram. 

Sponsored Posts

A popular way for advertisers and brands to spread awareness of their product is to go through social media influencers. Sponsored posts on Instagram involve a brand paying an influencer for a post that includes their product. The influencer sponsorship cost can depend on both the number of following the influencer has as well as how much the brand decides to pay. These posts are generally designed to work with the influencer’s current content and generate interest by combining brand and influencer aesthetic. 

Sponsored Stories

Brands can also choose to sponsor an influencer’s Instagram story. This usually costs the brand less money because stories are only live for 24 hours. This can be an effective way to provide affiliate links as well as influencer commentary. This is often helpful if the consumer wants to see how a product will work. Sometimes the influencer uses a swipe-up feature during live stories. This can be a useful tool in analyzing the engagement rate for the sponsored post. 

Whether it be blogs or social media posts, SEO Design Chicago has all the resources available to help you design professional sponsored content. Contact us today!

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