Do we like non-sponsored more than sponsored posts in our social feeds?

Do we engage more with sponsored posts, or are we irritated by them? A new study aims to find out how wide the gap is.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

When celebrities or influencers endorse a product to their followers, they sometimes do not fully disclose that they are paid to write the endorsement.

Financial arrangements between some influential bloggers and advertisers may be apparent to industry insiders, but not to everyone else who reads some blogs.

The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) endorsement guides state that that endorsements must be honest and not misleading.

If there is a "connection between an endorser and the marketer that consumers would not expect and it would affect how consumers evaluate the endorsement, that connection should be disclosed".

FTC will now be more strict with social media influencers making sure they use language that distinguishes the post as a paid endorsement.

Brands need to identify new ways to make their content engaging to overcome the sponsored content stigma that followers are 'reading an ad'.

Of course engagement depends on the quality of the content. Great photographs, often personalised by the influencer go a long way to encourage engagement.

The best sponsored posts are those that we hardly notice as they fit nicely into the general content stream in the platform. This enhances the influencers credibility with their audience.

influencer research firm Markerly studied the engagement rate for sponsored content and non-sponsored content.

It found that the gap in engagement rate is not as wide as we might think. The study found that on average, non-sponsored posts and sponsored posts have a nearly identical like rate.

Do we like non-sponsored posts more than sponsored in our social feeds ZDNet

Sponsored posts studied reached a 0.027 percent like rate with non-sponsored reaching 0.025 percent for influencers who had 1-10,000 followers range. Influencers with a higher number of followers showed a similar pattern.

Influencers with 250,000 - 500,000 followers had a 0.019 percent like rate for sponsored posts and 0.017 percent for non-sponsored. Top gun influencers who had 1.5M-2M followers had an engagement rate of 0.015 percent for sponsored and 0.017 percent for non-sponsored posts.

On average non-sponsored posts yielded a 59 percent higher rate for comments than sponsored posts and had an almost identical like rate.

We like content that is easy to follow and looks authentic - even if it is sponsored by a brand. Keeping it simple makes us more likely to engage.

Although these engagement numbers seem minuscule, brands, battling for an ever decreasing market share are keen to use any way they can to catch our attention.

And now, our favourite celebrity has to state quite clearly that they are being paid to persuade us to buy.

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