5 reasons why sponsored content might not be working for your brand

We share the pitfalls of sponsored content projects so that your next one will be a success.

Stefan Lim / January 17, 2023

We analysed hundreds of sponsored content initiatives on social media to identity 5 traits of doomed campaigns. If you are planning to incorporate sponsored content to your marketing mix, these observations should be relevant.

Wrong choice of creators

There are no two ways about it. You need to identify creators with a strong affinity for your brand. Then there is the issue of authenticity – are your creators in this solely for money? Do their audience even find their content credible?

Misguided expectations

When you sponsor content that is to be published on the creator’s own feed, you shouldn’t be the one saying it for him. You want to rely on his ability to relate to his own audience. He needs to create a post that will attract as much engagement as possible. If you have to edit/change the voice, tone and choice of his every word on his feed, something is wrong. Ask yourself: where is that piece of content to be posted. If it’s on your brand feed, you can do anything you want. If it’s on his feed, don’t impose your voice on him.

Not tracking click-throughs

It isn’t always straightforward to attribute your sponsored content to a sale, but it’s possible (and basic) to at least track the click-throughs. Social media platforms do not make posting links convenient for native content, but alternatives need to be explored. For example, you can mandate the inclusion of the link sticker on IG stories.

Lack of angle

We are publishing content in a world filled with disparate sellers, all clamoring for attention. You have few alternatives except to deploy campaigns that can stand out from the clutter.

Many brands fail to differentiate and define an angle for the content they sponsor. Creative execution is the creator’s responsibility. Defining an angle that stands out from the clutter is yours. Stop creating generic campaigns that frame a person smiling at the camera with the product laid out in front. The whole point about sponsored content is to communicate meaningful usage from the perspectives of the consumer. So show the world that this person you are sponsoring is a true expert/frequent user of your product.

Chaotic project management

When you run a campaign that involves tens (sometimes hundreds) of independent creators (each with varying degrees of professionalism), an orderly method to manage everyone as a cohort becomes all the more critical.

The magnitude of work needed to ensure timely delivery should not be underestimated. For example, every campaign should be initiated with detailed brief. Then you need to concurrently receive drafts, communicate update requests, track publish and performance reporting for a whole cohort of creators. These not withstanding the multiple timeline reminders required between brand managers and creators.

Run this in a haphazard manner, with unenforceable deadlines and untraceable drafts and manual post tracking, simply increases the chances of runaway creators, late submissions and absent postings. It is already chaotic to manage using manual or disparate tools. It’s worse when you lose control and do not know what is to be tracked and managed.

That’s one of the reasons we build storify, an activation platform that serves to directly help brand managers and independent creators manage the entire suite of work required for sponsored content projects, from start to completion, on time and on point.

Have something to say? Reach us at hello@storify.me.


Stefan takes a keen interest in developments related to digital marketing, gamification, the gig economy and influencer activation. He is co-founder of storify.me, and is currently poking his nose into issues he feels strongly about.


If you would like us to take a look at your plans for an upcoming campaign and suggest improvement opportunities, let us know how to contact you. We reply in minutes.


storify.me creators share authentic stories about the brands they genuinely love. They are well-versed with products that improve the everyday work and play, and have things to say about how these offerings help (or don’t). As consumers themselves, they also facilitate discussions with their followers, fueling curiosity and encouraging trials and purchases.

To find out how we can help make your content pop, explore storify.me.

We play a good game of pool at 7 Temasek Boulevard Suntec Tower One #12-07 Singapore 038987. Email us at hello@storify.me or phone at +65 8876 7696 or fax +65 6917 8977.

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