Publisher Guide for Sponsored Videos

Last updated on Feb 23, 2023

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Publisher Guide for Sponsored Videos

Video is the most preferred medium of content consumption for a majority of internet users. Statistics show that nearly three billion people have watched at least one video per month in 2022. Such a wide user base has been the primary inspiration for a lot of news and media publishers to produce their content in this format. 

While videos are the most popular content format, they are also resource intensive. Video equipment and software have a high cost which can take small and medium-sized publishers a couple of months to a year to recover. Popular video hosting platforms such as YouTube do offer ad-based monetization options to generate revenue from videos. Sponsored video content is another avenue for publishers to monetize the videos they make. 

In this article, we cover sponsored videos, types of sponsored video content, and which publishers should do sponsored videos.

What are Sponsored Videos?

Any video content created with the purpose of promoting a product or service of an advertiser, usually in exchange for payment is a sponsored video. There are multiple ways a publisher can do sponsored videos. A sponsored video can be created by an advertiser or by the video team of the publisher. The latter generates more revenue for the publisher and the content is better suited for the publisher’s audience, a win-win.

The other type is a Sponsored By video which mainly has editorial content with a break in the middle to talk about the video sponsor. These don’t generate as much revenue but are a great way to subsidize production costs for editorial videos.

These sponsored videos can then be published on YouTube, and social media, or also be embedded into a video player on your website.

Here are a few pros and cons of sponsored videos


Revenue: Sponsored videos can be a lucrative source of revenue for your publication.

Reach: If you partner with a well-known brand, you may be able to reach a wider audience through their existing customer base.

Creativity: Sponsored videos can allow for a great deal of creative freedom, as you work with the brand to develop content that resonates with their target audience.


Independence: Sponsored videos can blur the line between editorial content and advertising, potentially compromising your publication's independence and credibility.

Trust: Your readers may lose trust in your publication if they feel that sponsored videos are prioritized over other content.

Control: Brands may want more control over the content of the video than you are comfortable giving them, which could lead to conflicts.

Also Read: 8 Best YouTube Plugins for News Publishers on WordPress

Sponsored Video is not for Every Publisher

As an editor of a publication, offering sponsored videos can be a good way to increase revenue, as brands are often willing to pay a significant amount for high-quality video content that reaches their target audience. Just like other sponsored content, this will be an inbound request, alternatively, your sales team can pitch sponsored videos to prospective clients. 

Usually, publications with a strong presence on YouTube are approached for sponsored videos. Publications that put out creative, engaging videos are highly sought after as well. Small and medium-sized publications that cater to a niche can also offer sponsored videos to advertisers.

Also Read: 8 Tips For News Publishers To Grow Their YouTube Audience

Best Practices for Sponsored Videos

If you are venturing into sponsored videos here are some of the best practices for you to follow.

  1. Appropriate labels and tags should be used for sponsored videos. Your viewers need to know and should be able to clearly identify and distinguish sponsored videos from your editorial videos. 
  2. It would be ideal to have a different host for sponsored videos. Your hosts for editorial videos have built credibility over time, don’t dilute it for fully sponsored videos. “sponsored by”/ “brought to you by” videos can be an exception.
  3. For “sponsored by” videos clearly mark promotional sections in the video. You must also add a disclaimer in the description.
  4. Sponsored videos are meant to make viewers aware of the product or service, don’t “sell” it in such videos. 
  5. Do not mention competition, nor should you do a comparison video. Viewers might question your credibility.
  6. While taking on sponsored videos, ensure that the brand values of the advertiser match the values of your publication.
  7. Have a dedicated staff or freelancer arrangement if you have a small video team. Sponsored video production is resource intensive and can slow down your editorial video cadence. Do check our article on assembling an in-house video team.
  8. Maintain a healthy ratio of editorial and sponsored videos. Afterall, your YouTube channel’s reputation is at stake.

Overall, if you are considering offering sponsored videos as an option for revenue, it's important to weigh the pros and cons and consider how they align with your publication's values and priorities. If you do decide to move forward with sponsored videos, make sure to be transparent with your audience about which content is sponsored and which is not, so that they can make informed decisions about the content they consume.

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Aditya Shenoy
Aditya Shenoy
Aditya Shenoy is a Senior Manager for Content Marketing at iZooto. At iZooto he's helping publishers retain their hard earned audience. He has spent 8 years in the digital publishing space as a consumer technology reviewer. He has worked with Gadgets 360, India's best technology website creating content across different formats. During his stint with NDTV he reviewed nearly 300 gadgets including smartphone, tablets, and wearables. Aditya was anchoring a show called Daily 360 that used to be streamed live on the Hop Live app.

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