Content marketing is huge right now. It’s a smart inbound marketing strategy to offer content of real use or interest that truly engages your target audience. At the same time, you might be hearing another term: native advertising. Is native advertising the same thing as content marketing? The answer: not exactly…but they are close cousins. Let’s take a closer look at native advertising and how it relates to content marketing.
Content and Ownership
Speaking broadly, when we talk about content marketing, we’re talking about your content that you own as an asset: your ebooks, videos, white papers, and blog posts, for example. You’ve produced this content—you own it and it’s usually on your own website or platforms. As we mentioned, it’s focused around informing and educating your audience.
Native advertising, on the other hand, is when your brand pays for placement on another platform. It’s advertising, but it’s advertising that blends in with the look, feel, and experience of the website or platform you’re using. Native advertising is less intrusive than traditional online ads and usually relevant to what the user’s interests. Consumers are becoming more and more anti-advertising. About 1/3 people in the US are using ad blockers. Because of this, native advertising is making huge headway.
Distributing Your Content with Native Advertising
The classic example of native advertising is the “sponsor content” story or link you see on news websites. Check out this example with The Atlantic and Siemens, captured on July 11, 2016. While clearly labeled as sponsored content, the link looks and feels like the rest of The Atlantic. It leads to a story and video content about wind power produced by Siemens. This is an example with a major international corporation and a major news and opinion outlet, but it teaches a valuable lesson that small businesses can use: Native advertising can be a way to distribute your content.
Is the ROI worth it?
The Harvard Business Review notes that the average cost of a native advertising campaign for top-tier news publishers (such The Atlantic) was $54,014.29; for lower-tier publishers, the average can be between $70 and $8000.
Is it worth it? It depends on your goals. Native advertising drives brand awareness and engagement without being intrusive, but you have only one channel, and it could be expensive to scale. Also, most “sponsored” links do not have SEO benefits as they are generally set to “no follow”. Yet this could be worth it for companies with bigger budgets hoping to reach specialized audiences of influencers or targeted audiences of a specific platform.
Native Advertising and Social Media
Things get more interesting when we stat to talk about social media and how it relates to native advertising. Promoted tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram, Interest and most other social network advertising counts as native advertising because they appear as an integrated part of the platform, showing up in feeds with the same look, feel, and function as the rest of the platform or site. While clearly marked as promoted, they do not “look” like ads.
The benefits of native advertising through social media outlets are many:
- They can be specifically targeted based on region, age, and more.
- It’s native advertising on a more affordable level, with possibly a higher ROI.
- It’s a great way to place your content in front of interested audiences.
- They drive website traffic and brand engagement.
Wondering about content marketing, native advertising, and how you can put it to your advantage? At BlueTreeDigital we’re your experts on media buying and advertising, as well as inbound strategies such as content marketing. We can guide your business through the options to find what works for your brand and your audience.