As the digital ecosystem evolves, and certain types of media die and others emerge to take their place, so do advertising methods that continue to become more and more targeted to get as much attention as possible in new and unique ways. Native advertising and content marketing are the results of this shift.
Despite being commonly mistaken for the same thing, these are two distinct concepts that marketers (and business owners in general) should be familiar with.
Native advertising is paid media where the advertisement is integrated into the content of the page the user is viewing, to the extent where they may not even notice that they are viewing an ad.
It performs the same function as the other content on the page and is targeted to the same audience as that of the page on which it appears.
This is an example of sponsored content from Buzzfeed:
Although these ads are usually marked ‘Sponsored’ or as seen above, ‘Brand Publisher,’ the distinction is often made in discrete ways.
Of course, questions of ethical implications in native advertising abound when publications get paid to promote content from a company—are they then still qualified to report fairly on that company? Is it possible to keep the two sides of business distinct? This is a question that does not have a clear answer, but for the time being, it is certainly becoming a norm.
You can find more examples of native advertising here.
Content Marketing, on the other hand, is a wider umbrella term for marketing that involves creating and distributing content which a reader may find useful over a period of time to create trust and interest in the brand. It is more long-term oriented as opposed to a single piece of paid content.
It does not directly promote its content, but rather, nurtures the audience over time to create a genuine desire for the reader to turn into a lead for future conversion.
This generally includes content of any type, but more commonly includes guides, newsletters, videos and other informational content like blogs. This functions to increase brand awareness, build credibility and a following, and increase the chances of one of their readers approaching them when they’re searching for a product or service.
Here are some examples of great content marketing.
How can you benefit from this?
It’s important to understand the distinction between these in order to better equip yourself to use them when needed in the most beneficial way for your business. Native advertising is a great way to draw people in, let them sample the type of content you can offer and lead them back to your own blog or newsletter for more.
While native advertising is beneficial in getting eyes on your brand, it will not help build trust or a genuine relationship with readers as people tend to trust paid content less. But when used in conjunction with your content marketing strategy, it can absolutely increase interest and boost future conversions.
Do you practice both native advertising and content marketing in your marketing strategy? Which results do you prefer?