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Sponsored Content Trends

Sample of Washington Post sponsored content
Readers of the online version of the Washington Post or other major newspapers may have noticed a rising trend of sponsored content. Sponsored content, also known by the industry term "native advertising" is a quick-growing segment of advertising driven by new Internet exchanges that match content-driven advertising with publishers to create a new vehicle to get the message out.

According to a white paper written by Hexagram, one of the leading content exchanges driving this new trend, "62% of publishers currently offer native advertising and another 16% plan to do so within the year. Brands and agencies’ take-up of this new inventory is currently smaller, but growing: 41% of brands and 34% of agencies currently use native advertising, with an additional 20% of brands and 12% of agencies planning to begin using it within the year. The most popular forms of native advertising are blog posts (65%), articles (63%), and Facebook (56%)."

This form of content is typically labeled as "sponsored", "featured" or "brought to you by".

Hexagram surveyed the publishing and advertising space, and found that "62% of publishers, 41% of brands and 34% of agencies already use" sponsored content and that "16% of publishers, 20% of brands, and 12% of agencies plan to begin using or offering native advertising within the year." This suggests that within a year’s time the majority of these key stakeholder groups will be working with sponsored content.

Companies like Hexagram provide online exchanges that pair publishers with sponsored content providers (typically marketers or advertising agencies) to create scale by quickly reaching millions of readers with these sponsored messages.

Why This Is Important

Publishers should recognize this growing trend as a much-needed source of revenue. Advertising agencies should recognize this opportunity to provide new services to clients by creating and distributing this content. Finally, marketers should recognize that by creating sponsored content that is thoughtful, relevant and interesting to readers, it can pair its offerings with articles provided by established publishing brands such as the Washington Post and gain immediate credibility and readership.


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