The Latest Best Practices for Sponsored Content Strategy

Posted by

Under regular circumstances, marketers grapple with creating advertising content that’s both engaging and effective. In the circumstances we all face today, content must not only be engaging and effective, but it must also be created thoughtfully.

Now is not a time that calls for throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks. Speaking with care and relevance to your audience means keeping up with industry-specific and broad trends, and looking to examples of other marketers who’ve navigated the situation well.

To help shine a light on those aforementioned trends, we’re digging into the Taboola Trends tool and pulling out the most up-to-date insights for images and titles, so you can go into your strategizing prepared and informed.

Within this tool, we’re able to analyze the millions of ads that flow through the Taboola network and pull out specific trends that drive higher click-through rates (CTRs). This functions in a general sense, as well as by location, device type, industry, and more.

We’ll start by looking through a few different lenses at the image and title trends, and then we’ll wrap up by putting these trends in action with example ads across industries.

Let’s dive in.

First things first: The broad trends

Across the board—all countries, devices, and industries—the top trends point to a common end: getting straight to the point, without unnecessary additions.

Close-up photos of people without text are the image trends driving higher CTRs right now, and it makes sense why. There’s a lot of information floating around the open web right now. Being clear, direct, and focused speaks to a break from the mental clutter, and featuring people certainly speaks to a withstanding need for people to connect with one another, even in times when connection looks and feels quite different.

What’s happening on mobile

As you plan and re-work your content strategy amidst COVID-19, don’t neglect mobile. Mobile devices can be a unique place to speak to your audience, and taking a pointer from the current CTR trends can help your message be received.

The current mobile trends are actually quite similar to the broader trends, but with one difference: an emphasis on images in color. Take this trend, and roll with it creatively. Use bright, vibrant colors for mobile ads. You’ve got a smaller screen to work with, and making your message colorful may just be the key to standing out.

Desktop & tablet’s difference

Desktop and tablet both follow suit with the broader trends of images of people sans text, but like their mobile counterpart, they have an image color factor that sets them apart. Below is the impact for desktop and tablet, respectively.

Unlike the call for vibrant colors on mobile, the way to stand out on desktop and tablet devices is to drop any color at all. Black & white images are different, and in an environment full of colorful images, they just may make someone stop and click.

What’s in a headline

The image you use in your sponsored content does some of the lifting, but it’s shared in its efforts by the headline you create. Headline creation can be an arduous process, but letting trending (and competitive) keywords act as your guide can help you arrive at successful ones faster and avoid ones that may fall flat.

Across the board—all devices, industries, and locations—the trending keywords seem to just make sense.

The appearance of words such as “inside,” “house,” and “partner” all allude to the obvious—people are home, and people may be home together. People are looking for products and services relevant to their at-home life, and relevant to the human connections they’re tending to both inside the house and from afar virtually.

Be wary of keywords with too strong of competition—words like “device,” “online,” and “free.” Get creative with ways to rework those words to ensure that you stand out from the crowd.

Taboola's Sponsored Content Checklist

Putting it all together and putting these trends into action

We just threw a lot of trends at you, from broad to specific, and now it’s time to get into examples of how you, in any industry, can include some of these insights in your own sponsored content creation.

Here, take a look at nine example ads that combine current image trends with current keyword trends to result in ads with higher CTRs.

As you move forward creating sponsored content…

Keep these trends, insights, and examples in mind.

All of us as marketers are operating in unprecedented circumstances, and after we’ve all checked the obvious boxes of being human, being genuine, and being thoughtful about the types of messages we want to convey, it’s important then to take a closer look at what works, and set yourself up for effective campaigns.

Much like our current circumstances, the trends we see across Taboola’s network change, and the Taboola Trends site updates weekly correspondingly. Check back regularly to get ideas and inspiration specific to your industry, to the devices and locations you’re targeting, and the general trends we’re sharing.

We’re all operating with different resources, be it budgetary, human, or otherwise. Make the time and effort you expend creating sponsored content to reach your audience count.

Create Your Content Campaign Today!