Is native advertising content marketing

Is native advertising content marketing



Is native advertising content marketing?

Native advertising is designed to blend seamlessly into any given platform, almost as if it is regular, non-sponsored content. So that means it is content marketing, right?

It does, according to Jeff Soriano, senior director of demand generation at user-generated content (UGC) marketing platform Offerpop. In his opinion, the rise of social media led to an explosion of UGC, which has transformed the consumer into the marketer.

He offers McCormick as an example. A few years back, the seasonings brand tapped consumers to take pictures of the recipes they made with the company’s products. They shared their pictures on Facebook for other users to vote on. After the campaign, McCormick’s sales increased by 34% year-on-year.

“That’s really native to a social experience because that’s what we do,” Soriano says. “We look at our feeds, we see what our friends have posted, we see what other people we don’t even know have posted, and for some reason we’re really interested in that stuff – more than what a brand would say,” he says.

Because more consumers are creating content that is ultimately used by brands, it is Soriano’s opinion that the line separating content marketing from native advertising is now completely blurry.

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, couldn’t disagree more.

No, it isn’t!

ClickZ was not able to connect with Pulizzi due to his busy travel schedule, but he directed us to an August CMI blog post, entitled Native advertising is not content marketing. Pulizzi believes the distinction is important, as consistent language creates an industry standard.

“If you pay for placement, it’s advertising,” he wrote. “If you pay for placement of valuable, relevant content in a format similar to the third-party site, it’s native advertising. If you don’t pay for placement, the content is not advertising. If that content is valuable and relevant, designed to attract a clearly defined audience, and posted on your own or [an]other unpaid platform, it’s content marketing.”

SEO company Moz believes there is a line between content marketing and native advertising, having done research comparing the two earlier this year with Fractl, a Florida content-marketing agency.

Analysing Fractl content-marketing campaigns and native ads on BuzzFeed, the research found the content marketing generated significantly more links (an average of 27 versus an average of one) and shares (847 versus 373). These numbers are despite BuzzFeed’s massive volume of traffic – the site is the 38th most visited in the US and the 111th most visited in the world, according to Alexa rankings – and big-name brand partners.

Middle of the road

Scott Severson, president of content-marketing agency Brandpoint in Minneapolis, takes a more moderate approach to the separation between the two tactics. He believes native advertising is content marketing, but content marketing isn’t necessarily native advertising.

“I think content marketing refers to a broad spectrum of tactics that are all about having that direct connection with your audience through developing and publishing your own content,” Severson says. “Within that big umbrella of content marketing, native advertising is certainly a tactic within that, but I don’t see them as being synonymous.”

He considers native advertising to be content marketing when it is just one tactic deployed in a larger marketing mix. He doesn't think a native ad in isolation counts as content marketing.

“If it’s good, consumers don’t care that it’s sponsored content,” Severson says. “They care more about whether it’s providing value and if it’s quality, versus whether or not it’s sponsored content.”

To find out more about native advertising, visit the Clickz website.

Latest updates

Waters Europe

Waterstechnology launches the first-ever Waters Europe. Similar to our successful Waters USA series, we are bringing an event with the same ambitions to London.

1 Feb 2019

Risk Live

We are delighted to announce the launch of a completely new event. The risk industry has never had a cross-industry festival, but now it will.

11 Jan 2019

Get in touch

Our vertical industry knowledge, coupled with our market-leading brands and events series, mean we can significantly advance your marketing goals

Get in touch and find out how we can help you