What's the Difference between Native Advertising and Content Marketing?

Every day we come across hundreds, if not thousands of online ads. In a fast-changing world, it’s difficult to ignore messages such as “subscribe here” and “buy now.” Approximately $21 billion is the amount expected to be spent on native ads in 2018. That’s a huge amount that only goes to content. Content is king and that’s why we have professional content writing services such as https://writersdepartment.com/   that offer writing help to those with tons of writing jobs.

What's the Difference between Native Advertising and Content Marketing?

To adjust to the oversaturated market, many advertisers have devised smarter ways to get the attention of the target consumer, like content marketing and native advertising.

Content marketing and native advertising seem to be similar in some way since they provide important information for prospect customer and the public in a branded way. Of course, there is a critical distinction between the two. Content marketing is more non-promotional media while native advertising is simply a paid message made with a promotional goal.

But before we examine the details about content marketing and native advertising, let’s looks at the basics.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing consists of high quality and relevant information that is informative, educative, and entertaining. Instead of concentrating on advertising, content marketing focuses on storytelling with a goal to satisfy the needs of their target audience and not sells products directly. This enables it to engage the audience and build trust while making emotional connections.

In content marketing, content can be placed on other media entities, like social media to reach as many people as possible. You can get some insights on how to build a social media strategy on Nora's blog.

But since most businesses lack a large media audience, content marketers face the challenge of building a large following with potential customers. So, they turn to advertising.

An example of content marketing is the HSBC’s Global Connections website. This ad features detailed articles about different issues and strategies for global businesses.

What is Native Advertising?

Native advertising is a form of an online forum where the advertisement appears to be an important part of the media entity’s content. The ads are simply placed in the user’s direct reading flow. This is to ensure that they fit in the user’s environment and they don’t interrupt the user experience. This way, consumers can choose to engage with these ads. These ads are normally labeled as “ad” or “sponsored.”

A good example of native advertising is the “sponsored emails” sent by Netted by the Webbys. These emails resemble editorial emails, but they are actually paid for by a sponsor.

Why do people confuse these two notions: Native Advertising and Content Marketing?

But if native advertising and content marketing are not the same, then why do people tend to confuse and sometimes use these terms to describe the same thing.

The only link between these two approaches is the need for a distribution for their target content. Creating content is one thing and professional content writing services such as https://writersdepartment.com/, but for it to work, content needs visibility. The main confusion can be as a result of the incredible buzz these approaches have received lately. Catchy words tend to be used by a lot of people such that sometimes the actual definition can be overshadowed.

What’s the Difference?

Both content marketing and native advertising provide useful and engaging information that is expected to provide value to and attract the attention of a target audience.

Although content marketing may look similar, they are key differences between these two. Here are some ideas.

Marketing goals

The main goals of content marketing are to build a brand and extend reach. If you want to know the basic guidelines in branding you can get some insights from Nora's blog.

Content marketing also aims to support the purchase cycle and establish a good leadership. This allows your brand to become known in your category as an influencer. It’s a good way to create jobs for writers. In comparison, native advertising aims to drive lead generation and makes sales by providing sales-focused information that may appear as part of the third party editorials. Also, it aims to increase visibility using a third party media entity to reach a lot of readers and get their credibility.

How content gets on a site

Native advertising focuses on a strategy where the advertiser pays for an ad to play. This means that your native advertising campaign is placed on a single website after paying a fee to the publisher to produce and place your content on a certain site. On the other hand, content marketing produces content on behalf of other brands, and editors for several publications to cover their content.

How content looks on a site

Native advertising is described as “sponsored” because a brand pays a publisher to create and promote content on their behalf. The publisher can create an ad on “writers needed” to get the content written. Content marketing, on the other hand, doesn’t need to pay a publisher to deliver content, but the process is made to be more incentive to cover the expenses of the campaign depending on the value it has to the publisher’s audience.

How content aids a brand

The ROI of content marketing can be tracked by reviewing consumer engagement and organic rankings especially after getting a high-quality link portfolio. On the other hand, native advertising is limited to a few paid publishing partners, and the any sponsored link is not allowed to pass the search engine.

The cost

Roughly, the average cost incurred during the launch of a native advertising campaign with a good news publisher is about $54,000. Research shows that about 82 percent of the all the content marketing firms charge not less than $55,000 as a monthly retainer for the services offered.

So, although both of these approaches are used at the same time, there are some key differences that differentiate them.

The Processes of Both Approaches

Both native advertising and content marketing differ in processes. In Native advertising, the following are the general steps taken to achieve this approach:

  • Content creation
  • Placement of the content in the home site
  • Selling of the product and service to prospects who come from the home advertisement.

Content marketing has similar steps, the only difference is timing.

  • Content creation
  • Publishing of the content
  • Selling of the product and service to people who come after reading the content

When we talk about native advertising, the processes follow in order of succession. On the other hand, the first and second step of content marketing is repeated severally until there is an emotional link with the prospective customer.

This means that the customer will have to visit the website many times and read the content before they decide to convert. The consumer will have to go through the first two steps before making it to the third step.

The Practices Can Pair Very Well

Content marketing is not a single tactic, it’s more of a discipline or a mindset. It’s when all the content tactics you know, including native advertising, merge to form something even larger. Just like a relationship needs some nurturing with care, great thoughts and a concrete vision for a good future together, content marketing works the same and allows you to connect with target consumer on a deeper and more committed to build a long-term relationship.

Content marketing may take a little bit longer compared to native advertising. However, it can deliver effective results based on your target goals. But, for content marketers who want to be fully effective, native advertising will serve them right.

When you decide to pay a brand to place your content in several locations, you extend its reach and increase the chance of getting more leads. When you decide to boost your content more by adding some more money you can reach out to a lot of consumers which can boost your prospect audience. Similarly, you can expand the life of the older pieces by repurposing them and reusing on your site.

So, if you opt to use native advertising in your content marketing strategy or vice versa, the approaches can pair extremely well. At the end of it all, you need to provide relevant and useful content to your audience to generate leads and conversion that will boost your business.

When you decide to pay for a placement, that’s advertising.

If you pay for placement of useful and relevant content but on a high-authority site, that’s native advertising.

If you don’t pay for any placement, that is not advertising.

If that same content is useful, valuable and designed to attract the attention of a target audience, and placed on your platform without paying its content marketing. But you can pay to promote your content as part of a content marketing strategy.


If you want to go for native advertising, you should be aware of what you expect to get. If you have a short timeline but you need to boost your brand awareness as quickly as possible, you may consider native marketing.

If you intend to focus on the longer period engagement, a good content marketing campaign may be your best base for success, but of course, you need to be ready to work with a month retainer since the campaign may take longer.

Many companies cannot afford to invest in both native advertising and content marketing. So, it’s important to choose the best marketing form that will work for your business.


By Kira Carr

Kira Carr is wedded to her job as a freelance writer and blogger at writersdepartment.com. She creates many amazing posts regarding helpful techniques & strategies for new bloggers and freelancers. This girl is an interpreter by education. She goes mad of reading British modern literature.