The first step to finding out what type of paid media is going to work best for your campaign is to understand the difference between native advertising vs sponsored content.
Understanding Native Advertising
Native marketing integrates ads into a third-party platform’s content seamlessly, which helps it to align its appearance, functionality, and context. This differs from the traditional ways advertorials are displayed because native ads are meant to blend in with the content that surrounds them. This allows for an organic user experience that doesn’t feel intrusive. Placement ranges from sites such as articles, shopping websites, and even social media platforms.
In a native ad strategy, the goal is to focus on creating content that’s not only eye-catching but relevant to the environment. This style of adverts is effective because of the amount of engagement and interaction it generates from consumers on the third-party site.
Sponsored Content Explained
Sponsored content on either a website or application is yet another form of paid advertising. The core concept is the same as native advertising seeing as the placement of the promotion is normally done on a third-party platform or site.
The third-party platforms often include publishing websites and applications, and the advertorial’s purpose is to promote a product, service, or brand subtly so that the end user doesn’t feel like they are being targeted with an ad.
Similarly to native adverts, sponsored content often emulates the third-party platform identity to seamlessly integrate and not stand out as an advertorial at first glance.
The main difference between native advertising vs sponsored content is that sponsored content is less direct than native advertising and is usually placed in long-form content such as articles or videos. These brand-sponsored posts are less sales-centered and instead, this type of content focuses on educating the audience and creating a more authentic connection. By doing this, the audience is more likely to spend time engaging with the content.
Key Differences Between Native Ads and Sponsored Content
Interestingly enough, sponsored content is a form of native advertising, however, there is one key difference:
- The biggest difference between native advertising vs sponsored content has more to do with who is behind publishing it; the publisher or the company. More often than not sponsored content is created by the publisher with guidelines from the sponsor.
Which One is Right for Your Business?
There are a few things you can consider if you’re unsure which of the two types of “native advertising vs sponsored content” is right for your business.
Native Ads should be used if:
- You’re trying to be discreet with your advertising:
Because native adverts blend seamlessly into the third-party publisher’s environment and are usually not perceived as advertorials right off the back they are a great addition to your strategy if you want to be more subtle with your marketing efforts and not come across as overly salesly.
- You have a lower campaign budget:
Native advertising tends to be somewhat cheaper seeing as you’re providing the content yourself and the third-party publisher doesn’t need to modify or create anything for your advertorial.
- Your key focus is reaching the correct target audience:
Your chances of reaching the right target audience are higher with native advertising seeing as the publisher is most likely to already have an established audience who are interested in brands, services, and products similar to yours.
Use Sponsored Content If:
- You want to align your brand with a specific outlet or creator:
If you want to use sponsored content then you’ll first have to find a third-party publisher or creator who is open to working with your brand. For instance, if you align yourself with a TikTok influencer they will create content for your brand and promote it to their audience.
- You have a bigger budget:
Because sponsored content is created by the ambassador or the publishing network the fees could be higher when compared to that of native advertising.
- You don’t want to spend time creating the sponsored content:
If you’d rather leave the content creation down to the publisher then sponsored posts are the way to go. You relinquish all control, however, you do so knowing that the post will integrate seamlessly into the publisher’s environment and your brand will be highlighted authentically. Whereas with native advertising, you’d have to generate the advertorials automatically on a platform such as Taboola.
Pros and Cons of Native Advertising
Here are the pros and cons of native advertising to help you make an informed decision as to what’s the right fit for your brand:
Pros of Native Advertising
The positive aspects of native advertising are as follows:
- It’s better at targeting customers
- Unlike other forms of traditional display adverts, or banner ads, this is much less expensive
- Better for ad-blind customers
- Curated information is more effective at engaging audiences
The cons of Native Advertising
The negative aspects of native advertising are as follows:
- If implemented wrong they can come across as deceptive
- Google has been known to penalize native ads
Pros and Cons of Sponsored Content
To better understand whether or not sponsored content is the right fit for your needs you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of implementing this strategy:
Pros of Sponsored Content
The positive aspects of sponsored content are as follows:
- Integrating into the publisher’s environment seamlessly
- Providing in-depth educational material and value to readers or viewers using long-form content
Cons of Sponsored Content
The negative aspects of sponsored content are as follows:
- Higher budget costs when compared to native advertising
- More time-consuming process seeing as you have to find the publisher or creator and then vet the paid media content before going live
- Lastly, you run the risk of annoying the audience if the sponsored post isn’t disclosed
Best Practices for Creating Effective Native Ads and Sponsored Content
You now have a clear picture of the differences between native advertising vs sponsored content, so here are some of the best practices to keep in mind no matter which option you choose to implement:
One of the key points that are important to keep in mind is that native advertising and sponsored content are not only helpful but high quality, relevant, and contextual in nature. One of the reasons advertising fails is because of poor execution. When viewers know they’re overtly being sold something, they immediately shut off, so it’s important to understand your target audience so they don’t feel like they are being tricked.
Easily spotted native ads are frustrating for users and are just as bad if not worse than poorly executed sponsored ads. Unfortunately, due in part to bad or failed native advertising, the style of marketing has a stigma and is seen by users as clickbait-ish or spammy.
Conclusion: Making the Right Choice for Your Marketing Strategy
Paid media campaigns are an effective strategy that can help your brand reach new audiences in an effective and not overly salesly way.
Both native advertising and sponsored content are good strategies that will help get your content viewed and build brand authority, however, some key differences are important to keep in mind when deciding which one is the right fit for your business and campaign. By understanding the best use case for each you can ensure the success of your paid media campaigns.