Content Marketing Vs Native Advertising: What’s The Difference?

The world of internet marketing has grown up a lot in the past years. As our digital ecosystem continues to evolve so do the terms we use to define the many parts that must grow along with it. Enter native advertising and content marketing.

While native advertising refers to a single and specific way for marketers to distribute content, content marketing refers to a larger practice of advertising and content distribution as a whole.

Several businesses and marketers erroneously use the two words interchangeably. These content formats have very different meanings and capabilities. Understanding the difference between these definitions is of particular importance in understanding how internet marketing is evolving while planning for the future. This post dives a little into the difference between these two content formats.

What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing is a marketing strategy that is based on continuously creating and distributing valuable, relevant and attractive content, to reach out to our target audience. As with other types of marketing, the ultimate goal is to influence the consumer to increase our sales. We are building trust, credibility and authority through a long-term relationship with the consumer. It has been gaining so much importance in the last years in fact, that it has even become an expression in the digital marketing world to say “content is king”.

To distribute all this content, content marketing relies on owned media: personally owned places to share your content. The classic example of owned media is one’s own website or blog, but there are also personal channels on social networks and in other places; in this case, our profile or page would be our own property, but we have to adapt to the rules and regulations of each platform.

What is Native Advertising?
Native advertising is something that all of us are familiar with to an extent.It’s a type of online marketing characterized by a streamlined and unobtrusive ad placement and the targeted and valuable information that it provides to a specified demographic.

Native ads are placed “seamlessly” within a website so that they don’t disrupt the experience of the viewer, like in between paragraphs, and usually do not appear like a traditional ad in that they may not directly advertise for a service.

More often than not, this type of content distribution will use relevant or interesting information to engage with the readers that the business is targeting on someone else’s domain. Often they are using industry standard “headline hacks” like you see above.

In this way, a spot for a native advertisement is sort of like a spot for a TV commercial or a blank roadside billboard. You can tell native ads apart from other banners and the website they are being hosted on by the small label saying something like “ad” or “sponsored content” that appears on each one (though these are becoming more creatively discrete over time).

Differences Between Content Marketing And Native Advertising
Native advertising and content marketing both provide useful, engaging information intended to offer value to and thus attract the attention of a targeted audience. Although native advertising and content marketing look similar, there are key differences between the two:
1. How It Gets on a Site. Native advertising is a pay-to-play strategy. Your native advertising campaign only gets placed on a single website if you pay a publisher to produce and place your content on that site. With content marketing, agencies produce content on behalf of brands, and pitch writers and editors at dozens of publications to cover their content.

2. How It Looks on a Site. Native advertising is labeled as “sponsored” since a brand is paying a publisher to produce and promote the content on behalf of the brand. Content Marketing doesn’t need this designation since the publisher isn’t paid to cover the content – rather, they’re incentivized to cover the campaign based on its value to the publisher’s audience.

3. How It Benefits a Brand. Content marketing’s ROI can be tracked through increased organic rankings and consumer engagement as a direct result of earning a diverse, high-quality link portfolio. In comparison, native advertising’s reach is limited to the number of paid publisher partnerships, and sponsored links aren’t allowed to pass search engine value.

Understanding the difference between these two aspects of digital marketing allows us to capitalize on them and market better. Native advertising works to interest potential customers through primarily a rented service and lead them back to the type of content that they do own. This content is targeted to keep customers interested, build trust, and drive conversions.