Does your company dabble in the act of paying for social media sponsorships? It may sound impractical, but apparently it is a practice that more brands are picking up. In fact, investing in these sponsorships has become so popular that the United States Federal Trade Commission started issuing regulations in 2009 that require online publishers and marketers to reveal information regarding the cash, incentives or other forms of compensation they receive for their products or brand mentions.
Numbers on Paid Sponsorships
Social media advertising firm IZEA provided some insight into these practices with the recent release of its 2011 State of Social Media Sponsorship (SMS) Report. The report, which consisted of research conducted in the second quarter of 2011, surveyed online publishers and marketers about their preferences in regard to paying for mentions and how valuable they consider specific sponsorships. According to the findings, 51.5% of marketers admitted to paying for a social media mention of some form or another. When asked if they monetize their social media marketing efforts by any means necessary, 91.1% of publishers answered that they currently do or would. This percentage is up from the 88.4% cited in last year’s report.
IZEA’s research shows that brands appear to be interested in sponsoring blog content, Twitter posts and video more than anything else. The report found that 48% of online marketers have sponsored a blog post, while 32.5% said they would. 39.4% said they have used tweets as a form of sponsorship, and 35.6% said they would. On the flip side, 23% of online publishers cited that they have received compensation for either a single blog post, or a series of posts. In addition, 23.3% of marketers revealed that they have sponsored online video, while 50.2% said they would use this medium as a form of sponsorship.
The IZEA survey also pointed out some interesting details on how brands go about monitoring social media sponsorships and measuring the impact they have on sales and overall business performance (post quality was the most significant measure of success). Other metrics used to measure performance included cost per click, cost per acquisition, sentiment of content and shares among others. With their activities all measured, marketers put a dollar value on their social media sponsorships. They found blog posts and online video to be the most valuable at $114.71 and $112.46 respectively, while deeming tweets more valuable than Facebook updates with a value of $63.64 in comparison to $55.16.
Considering that money and other desirable incentives are often involved, it is no surprise that social media sponsorships have become a controversial issue. Be that as it may, IZEA’s research is enough proof that brands will likely continue to invest in this form of online marketing while publishers continue to accept their offers. Controversy aside, it looks to be a practice that could result in a win-win for both sides when the right deal is struck up.