Sponsored content is just like other content, and as long as publishers have rules in place to separate the role of the sponsor from the role of the writer, it can provide valuable information to readers without directly pitching products in the content.
Sponsored content may be called by different names like “branded content” or “native advertising.” It’s nothing new. Early television shows regularly included short scenes at the end where the show’s stars, in character, extolled the goodness of Maxwell House coffee or some other product. Sponsored content is making a comeback as publishers pursue new revenue streams. Here are 5 reasons you should consider including sponsored content in your trade publishing website.
1. Too Much Traditional Advertising Turns Off Readers
If your site is plastered with ads on top and down both side columns, your readers will find the ads distracting. Ads that follow the site visitor as she scrolls down the page are particularly annoying, like gnats that resist repeated swatting. Sponsored content allows you to cut back on in-your-face ads so your website can focus on high quality content that builds up your online profile and draws increased traffic.
2. Sponsors Can Be Paired with Appropriate Website Sections Long Term
On HuffingtonPost.com, partners sponsor topics on pages where content written by the brand and independently written editorial content co-exist. For example, Huffington’s “Impact X” technology section is sponsored by Cisco. Sponsorship can be done many ways, short or long term. A brand could sponsor a single article, a month-long series, or a section of your site for an extended period. Sponsorship can be tailored many ways.
3. Ad Rates Have Fallen as “Ad Blindness” Has Risen
Fewer people click on banner ads than they used to, and many people use ad blocking browser extensions which means that many advertisers are ignored by the exact people they’re trying to reach. The fact is that it’s harder to make money from traditional online advertising than it used to be. Furthermore, as advertising technology advances, ad rates drop. While traditional web advertising won’t go away, sites will be far less saturated with ads than they were a few years ago.
4. Advertisers Are Enthusiastic About Sponsored Content
Advertisers love sponsored content because it works. Brands are enthusiastic about content. If you look at the evolution of search advertising, Google started out labeling search ads as “sponsored,” but eventually went ahead and started calling it “advertising.” The change in labeling did not affect the performance of helpful ads. People are aware of sponsored content and they consume it, benefit from it, and share it. Web publishers are more than happy to forego tacky banner ads in favor of sponsored content.
5. Sponsorship Is a Great Adjunct to Long Form Content
The so-called free time paradox is of interest to sponsors. In a world where billions are connected 24/7, audiences are bombarded by conversion efforts every time they go online. Naturally, they put on their ad blinders and insist they don’t have 30 seconds of attention they’re willing to give away. However, when audiences discover enjoyable content (content that’s entertaining, emotionally engaging, and valuable), they will devote 30 minutes to consuming the content, and this holds true even if the content is branded. The key, unsurprisingly, is quality of the content. Only with great content can websites (and sponsors) use the free time paradox to their advantage. Long form content requires more effort, but when done well, it can pay dividends that snack-sized content can’t.
In 2011, spending on sponsored content increased by 56 percent, and it increased another 39 percent in 2012 according to Pew Research. If you have not explored sponsored content for your trade publishing website, you could be missing out on a very promising revenue stream that allows you to engage audiences effectively and raise your own brand’s profile online.
Diversifying revenue streams is smart for trade publication websites. Many sites are exploring recruitment advertising solutions for media companies and digital publishers and discovering the many benefits this type of monetization brings to both the site and its audience. At RealMatch, we’re ready today with the next generation in job site technology.