Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sponsored Content - What is it?

Kayla Burke

It seems that more and more people have been turning to sites such as Buzzfeed in order to get their news or current events information because of the easy to follow list format that Buzzfeed typically follows. 

As someone who doesn’t watch a lot of TV or generally keep up with the news through various news sites, I can definitely attest to the effectiveness and entertainment of the way Buzzfeed presents their content. By using the list formats, they are eliminating the long, fact overridden articles favored by many news sites, therefore pushing away younger readers (myself included), who may not want to learn every single detail of a story but rather the basic, most important facts. 

With the rise of social media and various sites such as Buzzfeed becoming more popular, many organizations have begun to focus more on adding in Sponsored/Branded content.

What is Sponsored Content?
Sponsored/Branded content is just that – content or information, presented in a similar format to the hosts’ website, either listed as sponsored by an organization or company, or branded with their name.

Buzzfeed provides many great examples of integrating this information in with the same format as their own articles. For example, this article about the Sony Playstation is one of the site’s sponsored (or Promoted) articles. It is presented in much the same way as a regular list-format Buzzfeed article. There are only a few visual differences.

 In the regular articles posted by Buzzfeed’s own staffers, there are various other “related” or “popular” articles along the top and sides of the page. There is also a byline including a link to the writers other works on the site. 

In the sponsored post, there are no related articles along the top. There are related articles along the side, but they are also other sponsored articles from the same brand. The byline also features the name of the company/brand publishing the content, rather than that of a Buzzfeed staff writer.

What is the Difference?
With sites like Buzzfeed using this content format very similar to the way they display their own original content, distinguishing between the original and sponsored content becomes sometimes difficult. In fact, in this poll conducted by Contently, it states that out of groups shown sponsored content, four out of the six groups said they thought the ad was an original article.

For many companies or brands looking to get the word out about new product releases or brands just looking to get a little more recognized, sponsored content has become a great way to do so. In the case of Buzzfeed, where the content is presented in much the same way, many people are likely to not even notice that the post is any different.

This is a great way for brands to get their content and name out into the advertising pool without being considered as pushy or trying too hard to gain attention. I personally greatly enjoy the Buzzfeed brand itself, so when I see the promoted content on their site, I don’t hesitate to click on it and see just what all the buzz is about.

1 comment:

  1. Kayla,
    It's funny to read that in your research of Buzzfeed they were giving it some less than stellar reviews of how they display their sponsored content.In some of my research they were praising them for their transparency in showing their sponsored content. It goes to show you that there really are two sides to every story!

    The one thing that does bother me about some of the less than transparent content is just like you said, making it difficult to tell the relevancy of the content. There is a reason I go to the sites I do and I don't want my time wasted sifting through ads that I did not intend on seeing. I liken the whole experience to telemarketers, If I need replace the windows in my 6 month old house, I'll figure it out.

    T.L. Schilling