Top Sponsored Content in 2018 (and the Secrets Behind their Successes)

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From surpassing goals for nonprofit donations to putting thousands of headphones in the hands of happy consumers, there was no shortage of great sponsored content campaigns this year.

2018 isn’t quite over yet, but we couldn’t wait to share some of our top sponsored content campaigns for the year (and we know your plans for 2019 probably couldn’t wait either).

Without further ado, here’s how these innovative, creative and forward-thinking brands got into the sponsored content game with a splash, and the lessons you can learn from them.

#8. Goodgame Studios

Goodgame Studios has one mission—to make great games that delight players across the globe.

To find success, they tested several landing pages, headlines and image combinations before settling on a few that worked. For example, a sponsored content creative with the headline, “This Game Will Not Let You Sleep at Night,” was one of their top performers.

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In the end, they increased their campaign’s conversion rate by 300% when they broke into native.

#7. Flare Audio

Flare Audio was new to their market and needed to start selling headphones and building brand awareness.

Their campaign strategy was really what drove them to success—they were able to reach audiences interested in their product on the world’s most premium websites, and adjust their campaign spend and bid by publisher.

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Their mission is good quality sound. They achieved that mission for thousands of people in less than a year with their sponsored content campaign.

#6. Georgetown University

Georgetown University’s agency, DMI, uses thought leadership content to help boost awareness for the school’s programs.

Coupled with content that relates directly to their programs, Georgetown University has hit the perfect campaign combo—thought leadership content that brings value to an audience, and branded content that helps convince that audience to convert.

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Thinking full-funnel is how this major US college has found success with their sponsored content campaigns. In fact, getting started with sponsored content increased their conversion rate by 740%.

#5. Blinkist

Blinkist is known for their unique ability to summarize nonfiction books in a way that readers with a limited amount of time can get behind, but they’re about much more than that. The team at Blinkist wants to make education more accessible to the masses.

With their sponsored content campaign, over 60,000 people found their educational stride by downloading the Blinkist app.

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They focused on running editorial content, which allowed them to explain their mission and provide value to consumers at the same time.

#4. PANDORA

PANDORA is known around the world for its quality jewelry. The team in France wanted to strengthen the brand there with sponsored content relevant to their audience.

They got more than they bargained for when they saw their campaign was driving sales as well as unique viewers.

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Their sponsored content campaign’s conversion rate actually increased by 130% throughout its duration.

#3. eSalon

Sometimes your brand is a little difficult to explain in few words. This was the case for eSalon, a brand that’s currently making noise in a crowded beauty market for home hair color.

eSalon’s offering is unique—they create custom hair care solutions for their customers. With Taboola, eSalon was able to tell their story with organic, long-form content, providing potential customers with the opportunity to learn more about eSalon before taking their personalized survey and making a purchase.

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They’ve now sold custom hair care solutions to tens of thousands of customers with an ongoing sponsored content campaign.

#2. World Vision

World Vision is a global nonprofit that strives for the children and communities in the world’s most vulnerable environments to emerge from poverty and inequality.

World Vision’s sponsored content is specific to the families that donations help support. This brings people closer the families that their donations would help.

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This type of personal content is valuable to an audience that wants to help, and for World Vision, has driven upwards of 100 donations each month.

#1. Samsung Life

Finally, Samsung Life was able to bring life insurance possibilities to over 13,000 people with a gamified sponsored content campaign.

Their campaign directed people to a life insurance calculator. People who engaged with the calculator input information to see an estimate of how much they would save in life insurance over time.

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Gamification is a strategy that we have seen work with many other advertisers, and is recommended to keep users engaging and your brand top of mind.

Sponsored Content Strategies that Work: Lessons From Our Top Campaigns

Get creative with your sponsored content strategies in 2019 with different types of content that will have a big impact for your brand.

  • Give gamification a try. Design a quiz, create a calculator or send leads through a personalized survey for higher engagement.
  • Run editorial content with value. Blog articles, thought leadership bylines, earned media and other assets will resonate with your audience and uplift your brand.
  • Test your creatives and landing pages. Not every creative trend will work for every brand. Continuous testing is the best way to discover what works for your audience.

Create Your Campaign Today!