Native Advertising and Content Marketing Are The Same Thing?

Content Marketing

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

There are a lot of paired terms in digital marketing that we see being toss around, to compare them to each other and to better understand their concept, like our recent article entitled Inbound Marketing vs Content Marketing.

It seems every day new concepts are popping up. Over the last few years, heard of customer media, branded content, custom publishing, custom content, native content, and the list goes on. But now, we will deal with Native Advertising vs Content Marketing in this article.

Native Advertising

Native advertising is the use of paid ads that match the look, feel, and function of the media format in which they appear. The only difference is that paid search ads are always at the top of the page.

Native ads are often found on social platforms, or as recommended content on a web page. Unlike display ads or banner ads, native ads don’t really look like ads but they are highly targeted. Native ads are expected to drive 74% of all ad revenue in 2021, according to Business Insider.

A typical native ad format you see often is sponsored posts on news websites. One example is this New York Times article, sponsored by the shoe company Allbirds. This ad is an In Feed/In the Content ad that was promoted on the platform’s regular newsfeed with a sponsored tag and usually does not appear like a traditional ad in that they may not directly advertise for a service. As a reminder, avoid ad blockers because although the long game is selling, it’s not an ad.

Native advertising, also called sponsored content, advertorials, or infomercials isn’t a new concept. It is a type of advertising that matches the form and function of the platform upon which it appears. Social media users are used to seeing content appear in their newsfeed, so it doesn’t feel like sponsored content is being pushed on them. Newspaper advertorials are a much older form of this practice, where advertising is dressed up to look like the publication’s editorial content.

The word native refers to this coherence of the content with the other media that appear on the platform.

Content Marketing

Content Marketing sometimes called brand journalism or branded content is a much broader idea, for its scope includes native advertising. Content marketing helps create things like educational articles, blog posts, e-books, videos, entertainment, white papers, and webinars that answer specific questions people have and provide them with something they can’t get elsewhere.

Though content marketing requires a high level of commitment and human investment to create, it also yields greater loyalty and impact with consumers.

It’s the best way to turn your product, no matter how common, into something that is not like everyone else’s. Because content marketing is effective, easy to begin, and popular with consumers, it can drastically reduce the money marketers spend on advertising their brands. What’s more, it manages to do all of this while being more effective than traditional 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, and ultimately creating brand loyalty. The advantage is that high-quality content is shared by end-users and other businesses that are using social strategies to interact with their own audience.

For example, content marketers can also create unique strategies for each stage of the sales funnel, reaching audiences with content that builds awareness, generates engagement, and drive conversions.

Content creation can be useful to maximize your marketing efforts, but if you really want to connect with your users, you need to be original in producing content. Any piece of content that communicates with customers in a way that adds value, without the sales pitch is much appreciated.

Native Advertising vs Content Marketing: What’s the difference?

The key differences between native advertising vs content marketing are several.

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, but brands typically invest more heavily in branded content than they do native advertising.

Several businesses and marketers erroneously use the two words interchangeably. But as a seasoned marketer, you mustn’t make that mistake. Unfortunately, not everyone working in content marketing realizes this.

Simply put, if the content exists on the brand’s owned channels, like a blog or social media page, it’s branded content. On the other hand, if it exists on a third-party website, it’s more likely native advertising.

Native Advertising is one of the tools advertisers can use to make their content reach potential clients, but has a few keys difference from “classic” content marketing. Whereas content marketing is based on “owned media”, native advertising is based on paying for others’ media space. But this is where things can get a bit tricky, as some brands turn their branded content into native ads.

How Do Content Marketing and Native Advertising Help?

The key factor is that your content is relevant to the audience of the website you intend to publish on. As with content marketing, native advertising content should be rich in quality and provide readers with valuable information they want to know about – and not necessarily just what you want to tell them.

On the other hand, native advertising is a form of online marketing that helps distribute branded content to target consumers. Like native advertising, content marketing provides valuable knowledge to raise brand awareness while targeting a specialized group of potential customers.

While they’re often compared, the two strategies are quite similar. Native advertising and content marketing have the fundamental goal of promoting products and services without appearing to be an advertisement. Native advertising is an extension of content marketing and provides marketers with a platform to place content in front of a wider audience they wouldn’t ordinarily reach.

And as Content Marketing Institute explains it: “Native advertising serves as a valuable extension of your content marketing rather than a concept to be considered in isolation.”

The Essence of Both

The essence of Native Advertising and Content Marketing are separate in execution. The objectives are the same in that you are publishing content that provides readers with value. We will tackle each one of them.

The Essence of Native Advertising

Native advertising is essentially a content marketing strategy.

The fundamental requirement of native advertising is to integrate a piece of content into a targeted environment seamlessly. Regardless of the platform, you buy ad placements for, the content must appeal to the site’s general audience.

In a nutshell, native advertising is paid content disguised as organic content. It is hosted on third-party websites, the space of which is paid for by the advertiser.

The Essence of Content Marketing

The ultimate goal of content marketing is to build a following of readers that trust your brand. It’s a long-term strategy that demonstrates credibility and positions you as an expert in your field.

There are many facets to content marketing and strategies that require precise planning. The added value of this strategy is that high-quality content can improve your search engine rankings and improve your organic online visibility.

In most cases, the essence of a content strategy lies in creating a blog that is regularly updated with articles.


These two aspects of digital marketing allow us to capitalize on them and market better. Understanding the difference between native advertising and content marketing is crucial for us to use their potential benefits.

Native advertising and content marketing work hand in hand to make better results on your marketing strategy. A combination of the two can bring a significant amount of quality content to quality customers and presents a very synergistic one-two punch for digital marketers out there. Meaning a strong ROI for those that take the time and investment in getting it right.

There is also a platform used by enterprise brands to measure, strategize, and optimize their content marketing efforts. Why don’t you sign up on their website and see? This will allow you to make a business case for choosing one practice over a content marketing platform, a branded content initiative, a native advertising campaign, or something in between in your company.

These platforms provide the bridge between advertisers and consumers using a constructive methodology to pitch relevant content to the right audience.


1. Why do advertisers use native advertising?

The reason why native advertising has proven to be so effective is that they are usually better received by their target audiences. This method helps to combat ad fatigue and further engages the audience. Because they don’t “feel” like advertisements, people are more inclined to view them and consume their content.

2. Is Native advertising effective?

Native advertising is more effective than traditional advertising. Native ads are more noticeable, with 25 percent more consumers seeing in-stream native ad placements more than standard banner ads. Consumers look at native ads 53 percent more frequently than a display ad.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore