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What the Rise of Sponsored Social Means for Your Business

Sponsored Social has redefined what digital word-of-mouth can do for brands. Crossing over into the “Native Advertising,” “Content Marketing,” and “Influencer Marketing” categories, Sponsored Social is a rapidly growing marketing practice. It has created a way for brands to not only connect with their target audiences, but also for consumers and influencers to form compensated business relationships with the brands they love, while creating and sharing brand-sponsored content with their online followings.

As Sponsored Social continues to grow, the demand for independent metrics to guide the industry’s future continues to increase. Sponsored Social pioneer IZEA commissions an annual study to uncover insights on the knowledge, experience, and overall sentiment of marketers and creators around Sponsored Social, as well as their input on budgets, price perceptions, and FTC compliance. For the first time this year, the study also surveyed consumers to see how they feel about Sponsored Social—a sentiment that has never been measured in the industry.

2015 State of Sponsored Social Report

Carried out by The Right Brain Consumer Consulting and Halverson Group, the sixth annual State of Sponsored Social report revealed that consumers rate Sponsored Social as equally or more effective than all other forms of traditional and emerging media. The study also uncovered that 52 percent of companies now have a stand-alone Sponsored Social budget for their brand and find Sponsored Social to be one of the top three most effective marketing investments they make.

Marketers Find Sponsored Social More Effective than Most Traditional Approaches

For the marketer portion of the study, Halverson Group distributed a Quantitative National Survey to 511 marketers, including both client and agency marketers from large and small companies, and spanning the spectrum of professional levels. To ensure rich and relevant feedback, all respondents were required to have familiarity and professional experience with Sponsored Social programs.

Experienced social media marketers revealed a positive shift in Sponsored Social compared to the same period last year. Key findings include:

Short Form Content Dominates the Sponsored Social Landscape for Creators

The study also surveyed a sample of 150 creators sourced from IZEA’s database to ensure the sampling included those who use Sponsored Social as a profession, as opposed to a hobby. Findings revealed that creators are more passionate about the brands they represent than ever before, and they continue to promote brands beyond paid projects. Other findings include:

Consumers Perceive Sponsored Social as Equally or More Effective than TV Commercials

The consumer portion of the study uncovered findings on consumers’ social media usage, media consumption patterns, and perceptions around Sponsored Social’s effectiveness. The study distributed an online survey to a nationally-representative U.S. sampling of 1,003 consumers, ages 18-70.

Key findings from the consumer study include:


As Sponsored Social gains notoriety as a highly effective marketing tool that benefits brands, creators, and consumers, it will continue to play a vital role in marketing strategies for years to come. View the full 2015 State of Sponsored Social report here.

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