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IZEA’s 5th Annual “State of Sponsored Social” Report Surveyed Marketers on the Latest Marketing Trends, Attitudes and Best Practices


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Sponsored Social is giving traditional media a run for its money based on data from IZEA Inc.’s (OTCQB: IZEA) fifth annual “State of Sponsored Social” report. Marketers who have recently utilized the medium rate Sponsored Social equally or more effective than any other marketing approach including experiential marketing, celebrity endorsements, online display, and traditional television, radio, and print advertising. The report, created in partnership with research firm Halverson Group, was released today and is available for free at

Results reveal that fifty-three percent (53%) of marketers have used Sponsored Social marketing within the past year, second only to display ads (58%). According to the qualitative leg of the study, marketers believe they need to be online and socially active to be where their audiences are. As one agency marketer explained, “It’s time to get smart — there’s no more black and white when it comes to advertising…it’s a hybrid and it’s known as social marketing.”

“It’s not a big secret that today’s consumers want to connect with brands in a genuine way through social content. That’s the reason why Sponsored Social is so effective,” said Ted Murphy, Chairman and CEO of IZEA. “Sponsored Social is a beautiful communications circle where every party involved — brands, creators and consumers — comes out on top and is natively a part of the discussion.”

In developing the report, IZEA sought out the quantitative and qualitative opinions of both brand and agency professionals from a broad range of company sizes to reflect the diverse needs of the marketing industry.

These marketers revealed they prefer Sponsored Social because it is a powerful and innovative opportunity to make authentic brand-to-customer connections, specifically for:

  • Reaching micro-targeted audiences to create engagement
  • Delivering brand messaging simply, efficiently, and with impact
  • Easily integrating into a 360-degree campaign

Other key findings from IZEA’s “State of Sponsored Social” report include:

  • Sponsored Social, experiential marketing and online display ads have the most positive momentum1 while radio, magazine and newspaper ads have the most negative
  • Facebook, Twitter and blog activities are the most commonly used Sponsored Social approaches
  • 52% of marketers have a stand-alone Sponsored Social budget
  • Most Sponsored Social marketers compensate creators with monetary payment versus free merchandise

“IZEA has reinforced its leadership role in the Sponsored Social industry through its underwriting of the 2014 ‘State of Sponsored Social’ study,” said Jana O’Brien, Managing Director at Halverson Group. “This objective, nationwide assessment of marketer and practitioner regard for and use of Sponsored Social will help the entire industry refine its best practices and continue to firmly establish Sponsored Social as a highly effective strategic marketing tool that benefits brands, content creators, and the consuming public that both serve.”

While marketers are one half of the Sponsored Social puzzle, creators of Sponsored Social content are the other half. IZEA’s “State of Sponsored Social” revealed that creators are more passionate about the brands they represent than ever before, value relevant and interesting content and cite Sponsored Social as a majority of their income.

Findings show:

  • 81% of creators produce a Sponsored Social post at least once a month, and 40% do one or more project per week
  • Creators often form an attachment to sponsoring brands — 88% say they verbally tell friends/family about the brands that sponsor them, 77% are more likely to purchase products/brands from companies that sponsor them, and 72% share additional posts about sponsors, for free, outside of their contractual obligations
  • 53% of creators have attended conferences, seminars or workshops designed specifically for social media creators/influencers, revealing that they are interested in honing their skillsets and advancing their profession
  • The two principles creators value most when selecting Sponsored Social programs to participate in are:
    • Their audience finds the content interesting/relevant
    • The requested content fits with their overall content and they’re proud to represent the brand
  • Creators say that Sponsored Social accounts for 63% of their income.

The current report also reaffirms what past “State of Sponsored Social” reports revealed: more education about FTC guidelines on disclosure continues to be an industry need. 63% of creators are aware of and understand the FTC guidelines, as opposed to only 10% of marketers.

IZEA has advised the FTC in crafting the original disclosure guidelines. The IZEAx Marketplace has the highest disclosure standards in the industry, requiring that each piece of content produced within the platform meets disclosure guidelines.

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