Content Marketing Vs Native Advertising: Which is better?

By Rich Homer Monday, May 8, 2017
Content Marketing Vs Native Advertising

Content Marketing Vs Native Advertising

Content marketing is a technique used by marketers to distribute and create relevant, consistent and valuable content. The aim is to acquire and attract a clearly defined audience which can convert. It entails curating and creating relevant content that will attract and retain customers. Content ranges from blog entries, social media posts and comments, infographics, digital ads, and bylined articles.

Native advertising, unlike its counterpart is based on paying a third party to distribute content for you. A marketer pays an advertiser or content creator to develop content for them. It is then published and appears as the marketer’s own.

Most marketers find it challenging to choose between the two marketing techniques. Below are critical questions marketers should ask themselves before making a decision:

1. How much are you willing to spend?

The cost of native marketing is way higher when compared with that of traditional marketing. Studies reveal that marketers may have to issue a pay-check in the five-figure range for native marketing. This is certainly a challenge to most start-ups and small businesses.

In comparison, contributing ideas to influential media outlets may be a cost-effective way for marketers to put out their content. Marketers may also spread their content through digital ads on social media platforms to be able to reach the targeted customers.

2. What is the importance of reaching the targeted audience?

Every marketer desires to see their content reach the targeted audience at the right time. This can be achieved when the content is properly directed. Properly using marketing platforms and strategies helps marketers in controlling when their content is seen and who sees it.

Social media platforms help in scheduling and specifically targeting based on the behavior and interests of potential customers. This undoubtedly extends the life of the content. Marketers can leverage their content through digital advertising to ensure that it reaches the right audience.

Native advertising helps marketers to reach a wider market range. The challenging part is directing the content to the target audience. Marketers should thus conduct thorough research on the different levels and modes through which different techniques work before deciding on the models to use.

3. What is your goal and how will you measure your success?

There are numerous metrics that can be used to evaluate the success of your content marketing strategy:
  •  Click through rates
  •  Comments
  •  Impressions
  •  Likes
  •  Shares
As a marketer, you need to determine what to measure in order to track the success of your marketing campaign.

Native marketing has three pivotal benefits:
  •  A potential for a myriad back links to your site
  •  Millions of good impressions
  •  Increased brand awareness
This works best when it is directed to the right audience. However, if you are looking for engagement with your audience, marketing your content is the better option.

Marketers can target social content to particular people on specific forums or platforms. The forums need to have proper back-end analytics. This helps you to access customer demographics as well as quality metrics. This gives a clear picture about what people are viewing what type of content. Such data points can then be combined with analytics software to evaluate the success of your marketing campaign.

Content used for native marketing on the other hand is published on third-party platforms. You therefore need to know the metrics used by the third-party platform before kicking off your campaign.

Which is better between native marketing and content marketing?

An average online marketing campaign may deliver key performance indicators that are better or even equal to those delivered by a native advertising campaign. Note that the two marketing approaches are quite distinct.

If a marketer’s budget cannot support both techniques then what they want to achieve for their brand should be the main focus.

Below are key pointers that may further help a marketer to decide on whether to use content strategies or native advertisements:
  •  Both techniques will help in boosting your brand awareness. Content helps improve SEO while native ads on the other hand improves social engagement.
  •  Content brings about benefits such as optimized conversions, organic rankings and brand awareness.
  •  Content helps give rise to quality links, a high number of leads, and increased social shares
  •  Native campaigns on the other hand lead to increased site traffic, higher views, and audience engagement.
  •  Benefits of native marketing are brand engagement and awareness.
  •  Content faces the challenge of the need for long term publisher and investment partnerships.
  •  Native advertising on the other hand faces challenges such as lack of cost of scale, being perceived as an “ad” and the lack of SEO benefit.
  •  Native marketing tends to take a salesy and pushy tone which may be perceived to be friendly so as to follow the writing style used in the publication.
  •  Content marketing on the other hand takes a takes an authentic tone that does not seem to pressurize the reader to make a purchase. It rather identifies the reader’s pain points and gives actionable solutions. The solutions may not involve the product or service but the goal is to create a rapport with the reader by engaging them.


Evaluation is an important part of the two concepts that we are discussing here. It is critical in refining the campaign as needed in order to increase the return on investment. Investing in either of the techniques should be an ongoing process for every marketer and should not be perceived as a “one-off” procedure.

When choosing the technique to use, the basic determining factor is simple: who is your target audience? Other factors include:
  •  Your product, service or brand
  •  Your goal
  •  Your budget
Note that the digital marketing world is dynamic by many standards. As a marketer, you need to strive to know the relevant trends that you can keep adding to your marketing strategy. The two techniques discussed above should ultimately complement each other.


As we have discussed, content marketing and native advertising need to complement each other. Each technique has its own strengths, which when combined can result in incredible milestones. It all depends on what your goals are. How far can you stretch to reach them?