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What Is Sponsored Content? Everything You Need To Know

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What is Sponsored Content?

Sponsored content, also known as native advertising, is when a brand pays to have their promotional material appear within an online publication or platform, blending seamlessly with the surrounding content.

Multiple industries are pushing online content, making it challenging for smaller businesses to get new viewers for their content. With so many options, traditional paid advertising methods are less effective as viewers become blind to them.

Newer techniques — like sponsored content — have emerged as popular advertising and content promotion choices. But what is sponsored content? How does it work in marketing?

Keep reading to learn the basics of sponsored content and see how it can help your marketing strategy!

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What is sponsored content?

Sponsored content is anything that appears in an online publication that is paid for by another company to promote a product or service. Sponsored content usually blends in with the publication’s typical message.

Brands sponsor influencers or other social media users to post about their products, which often leads viewers to believe the content comes from the influencer or blogger and not the company.

Search engines and social media networks, like Twitter and Facebook, adjust their algorithms to promote paid content over organic visibility.

How does sponsored content work?

Any paid promotion is a type of sponsorship. When one organization pays another to promote their content, they are providing sponsored content to their audience.

For example, a growing computer manufacturer might pay a national publisher to create a list of the best computer monitors on the market. The list will include several models from the small company. Readers will see the information as trustworthy and accurate since it’s coming from a dependable third party.

Sponsored content is advertising that doesn’t feel like an ad — it appears as a natural part of the host’s site. Their posts come across as recommendations from a friend or a reliable publisher rather than an advertisement, building trust with a brand and providing value to the reader.

Types and formats of sponsored content

Sponsored content can appear in a broad range of formats. Any content marketing type can become a basis for sponsorships. The primary difference between types of sponsored content is the publisher and post’s format.

Common examples of sponsored content include:

Sponsored content vs. native advertising

Native advertising is when a paid ad matches the format of the media in which it appears. Common examples include banners, in-feed ads, or promoted listings. Native ads typically exist on a webpage and direct readers to the client’s landing spot or other pages.

This ad might show up in someone’s Facebook feed:

Screenshot of Facebook ad

Sponsored content is a type of native advertising that involves a partnership between two different brands. The publisher, typically an influence or blogger, often disguises sponsored content as their own original material.

Instagram makes subtle changes when two companies — like ColourPop and Frasier Sterling — partner together, but this would show up like any other Instagram post.

Instagram post from a partnered giveaway with ColourPop

While sponsored content fits into the native advertising category, not all native advertising is sponsored content.

Benefits of sponsored content 

Newer companies that want to generate immediate traffic may reach out to a well-established website to publish their material. Small blogs looking to grow their audience could also contact a high-traffic site to share content and reach new readers.

Additionally, new ecommerce companies might hire a more prominent website to promote their material and expand their target audience.

Check out the primary benefits of using sponsored content for your business:

  • Boosted engagement rates: Sponsored content that appears on prominent sites generates exponentially higher traffic than smaller websites. You can also expand your audience, increasing the chance of conversion.
  • Higher levels of trust: Most sponsored content appears as articles or editorials rather than banners or links, which means viewers are more likely to engage with it. Sponsored content makes a brand feel credible and reliable alongside other posts the viewer enjoys seeing.
  • Increased number of leads: The more visitors who view the content, the more legitimate sales leads you’ll attract.
  • Higher-quality content: When a site develops its own content and publishes it elsewhere, writers often generate more insightful material because they know the value it’ll bring.
  • Mutually beneficial: Sponsored content rewards all parties involved. The publisher receives funding, and the client generates more traffic to their landing pages.

How much does sponsored content cost?

Like other advertising forms, there are no hard and fast rules for pricing sponsored content.

Finding a uniform price point can be tricky for publishers, as many factors come into play for a sponsored campaign. For small sites considering hiring a large-scale publisher to promote their content, reputation and potential return on investment should be high among the considerations.

Factors that can determine the cost of sponsored content often include:

  • Word count: The number of words a sponsored article contains.
  • Session duration: The amount of time a visitor spends reviewing a page’s content.
  • Links: The number of links a sponsored article will contain.
  • Impressions: The number of times a visitor clicks on the content.
  • Domain authority: The publisher’s authority and relevance in the industry.
  • Social media and email promotion: Pricing can reflect whether the publisher distributes the sponsored content to its email subscribers or promotes it on its social media channels.
  • Visibility time: The amount of time an article stays active on the publisher’s site.

Why sponsored content works

Sponsored content works because it places brands in front of large audiences naturally. This exposure allows a brand to quickly expand its reach and improve its credibility without spending years building it from scratch.

Consumers want to trust who they buy from — 92% of users trust recommendations over brands. When sponsored content appears in a media outlet they already like, they’ll feel more comfortable and confident engaging with the source.

Good agencies have more than 50 testimonials.

Great agencies have more than 100 testimonials.

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Consult the digital advertising professionals at WebFX today

If you’re considering developing a digital marketing strategy that includes sponsored content for your business, let the experts at WebFX assist you.

We have decades of valuable experience helping our clients choose the best advertising strategies to accomplish their goals. Our team will help you implement paid advertising and social media advertising strategies to drive more traffic and increase sales.

Contact us online or call 888-601-5359 to speak with a marketing strategist today!

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