Contextual advertising isn’t a new concept in the marketing world. However, it has evolved significantly over time to accommodate new digital trends.
One of the more popular forms of contextual advertising in today’s digital world is sponsored content. In short, sponsored content is content a brand pays for to live on a publisher’s website.
But why would companies want to pursue a sponsored content strategy when most already have their own content strategy?
While a content marketing strategy is an essential component of any marketing plan, sponsored content offers marketers access to already-established and highly engaged audiences. That’s why sponsored content is a powerful marketing tool for reaching ad-averse audiences like cryptocurrency enthusiasts. There’s already a strong foundation of trust— which is everything to crypto communities.
Sponsored content at a glance
Sponsored content— sometimes referred to as branded content— has shown a compound annual growth rate of 40%.That growth hasn't slowed down with global spending on sponsored content expected to hit $13.4 billion in 2020. These numbers suggest advertisers are seeking access to publisher networks through sponsored content more than ever before.
But what do consumers make of sponsored content?
This Nielsen analysis found that advertisers who partner with a publisher on sponsored content saw a 50% higher brand lift. Another study, led by IPG Media Lab, found that brand recall is 59% higher with sponsored content than other advertising forms like display. The study also discovered that consumers are 14% more likely to seek additional content from advertisers after viewing their sponsored content.
These stats make it pretty clear that consumers give sponsored content two thumbs up 👍.
Specifics aside, it’s apparent that non-intrusive advertising is gaining traction. For suspicious cryptocurrency audiences, this approach to advertising is far more successful. And as sponsored content gains momentum, research continues to support the notion that high-quality content sells.
The Content Marketing Institute reports that content marketing generates three times as many leads as outbound marketing. And because sponsored content is essentially paid content marketing, the potential upside is even higher. By giving advertisers immediate access to target audiences, sponsored content can generate a quicker ROI with less effort.
The Key Benefits of Sponsored Content
So far, we’ve taken a comprehensive look at how sponsored content fits into digital advertising. But what makes it so effective for reaching cryptocurrency audiences?
It’s not really advertising
That's right, sponsored content isn't technically an advertisement.
Sponsored content can take many forms, such as articles and videos. These format types are designed to share information and provide value to those on the other end, making sponsored content less about advertising and more about educating. Sponsored content is usually unbiased and editorial-focused rather than being brand-focused with heavy advertising copy. Any mention of a brand feels like a natural fit rather than an intrusive ad.
Maintain the user experience (UX)
As a group, cryptocurrency users are both tech-savvy and hyper-focused on the user experience. This combination of traits makes sense, given the high concentration of software developers, engineers, and scientists within the community. Many of these people understand how to design and build compelling user interfaces to engage users on their platforms. That's why they appreciate streamlined and non-intrusive front-facing environments themselves.
It's also why crypto users won't tolerate ad-focused sites. Since sponsored content fits naturally within a publisher's website, the user experience and website quality are maintained.
Bypass ad blockers
Ad blockers are prevalent among consumers across the web— especially tech-savvy crypto audiences. Sponsored content is one of the few advertising tactics— like email advertising— that ad blockers don't detect. Again, because it's not really advertising.
According to a report from eyeo, 57% of users downloaded an ad blocker primarily because of invasive and excessive advertising. Yikes.
Sponsored content is neither invasive nor excessive, but that's not why it bypasses ad blockers. Because sponsored content blends in with publisher platforms, it naturally gets around ad blockers and reaches consumers organically.
Overcome banner blindness
Even users who don't actively use an ad blocker still tend to ignore ads. The web has become saturated with poorly placed ads that our brains have been trained to avoid them altogether. A phenomenon called banner blindness.
Sponsored content helps overcome this selective attention behavior by blending in with the rest of the page. Because it doesn't look like an ad, users aren't automatically conditioned to turn a blind eye.
Sponsored content for cryptocurrency audiences
It's clear to see the positive impact a sponsored content campaign can have on your overall marketing strategy. The real challenge is creating sponsored content that will get a response from crypto users. Everything we've touched on thus far, plus these tips will help you create a successful crypto-focused sponsored content campaign.
Decentralized (and consistent) messaging
As a technology built on distributed ledger technology (DLT), cryptocurrency is the product of a decentralized framework. Basically, these projects typically aim to oppose the centralized institutions we've come to know.
For many, this concept might be mind-boggling, but it all comes down to one fundamental principle: empowering the average Joe, not powerful institutions. With this in mind, sponsored content should aim to stay in line with community values and avoid talk of central authority and intermediary involvement.
A note on consistency: when a user clicks on a sponsored post, the source must match the end destination in context and appearance. Otherwise, marketers run the risk of losing credibility, which is vital in the crypto community— but more on that later.
Why should users engage with your content? That's what marketers should be asking themselves when developing sponsored content campaigns, especially when targeting cryptocurrency audiences. This group is highly analytical, tech-savvy, and full of abstract thinkers. The crypto environment is constantly evolving, so marketers need to do their part in staying up to date.
Having a good understanding of the environment and what users are looking for will help marketers create the perfect message and allow them to provide real value.
The crypto ecosystem is community-driven. Platforms such as Bitcointalk, Reddit, and Quora are great examples of how active the community is.
Authenticity, transparency, and trust are highly valued in the crypto community. If your message mirrors these characteristics, you will be rewarded. On the other hand, crypto folks will see through unfounded claims and insincere messaging— and that will only hurt your credibility in the long run.
So the question isn't whether your sponsored post will be shared within the crypto community, but rather in what light it will be shared.
Web page design
Crypto users value uninterrupted user experiences. These folks are particularly sensitive to poor web page design that takes away from the user interface. They've come across many scams and questionable claims to trust a poorly-designed landing page or website. So wherever you're leading crypto users, make sure the page is clean, concise, and relevant to your sponsored post.
As consumers shy away from intrusive advertising attempts, cryptocurrency audiences are shutting them out completely.
Sponsored content provides marketers with a different and direct path to engaged, verified crypto users. This dynamic dramatically reduces the time required to establish a meaningful market presence, which is incredibly valuable when reaching out to the trust-focused crypto community.
If marketers can successfully deploy ad campaigns in line with the crypto community's unique perspectives, there is no doubt that their projects will see tremendous success.