Native advertising was one of the buzzwords in 2013. As digital outlets such as news sites looked for ways to make money, many turned to sponsored content.

A native advertising distribution firm, Sharethrough, ranked the most popular sponsored stories in 2013, according to Adweek. Most of the data was based on shares through social media platforms.

The top sponsored content was actually about books.

HarperCollins sponsored a post on BuzzFeed “17 Problems Only a Book Lover Will Understand.” It had more than 700,000 social actions.

The story on BuzzFeed generated nearly 1.5 million pageviews.

But how does this translate into leads? The post was amazingly popular, but other than a small area at the top of the list was HarperCollins even mentioned. Also, there are no ways of tying any of these ’17 things’ to the publisher.

It was a cute post. I remember reading it when it came out. But, since I’m already a book lover, I didn’t feel compelled to purchase more books – especially running out to buy anything from HarperCollins.

I’m curious to see how native advertising will be handled in 2014 as the Federal Trade Commission looks more closely at the sponsored content.