Native Advertising vs Content Marketing: Why Do We Need It?

Trillions of dollars are spent every year through E-commerce.

It’s intimidating to enter an industry or marketplace because major corporations and businesses are already taking up space.

Yet, this doesn’t mean a small business doesn’t have its place.

Small businesses have:

  • Flexibility
  • Intimate customer service
  • Agility

The only aspects a larger company or business has over smaller individuals are the advertising and marketing budget.

The Web is a great equalizer.

A small business can find its audience when they’re creating engagement with their community. It’s why there is a debate between native advertising vs content marketing.

Do you push the offer or let them find and share it naturally?

Large companies and businesses aren’t able to adapt to the ever-changing scene of the Web. The community has already shifted their interest by the time they’re implementing strategies.

You have an edge.

Native Advertising vs Content Marketing: The Differences

There’s no debate when it’s native advertising vs content marketing.


Native advertising is a specific method of distributing content while content marketing is an umbrella term for content distribution.

Native advertising is content marketing, but not all content marketing is native.

Native advertising vs content marketing has differences. They’re meant to promote businesses and brands through content to consumers but in different ways. The former is a method while the latter is more of a philosophy.

Native Advertising

Native advertising is paid for/sponsored content which is placed on large platforms. The information is relevant and valuable while tailored to the “rented” content distribution platform.

The goal of native advertising is to introduce a brand in a seamless way. It’s a natural experience for regular users of the platform it’s hosted on.

Visit Buzzfeed, Instagram, or even Time. You’ll find sponsored articles matching the tone and direction of the website. These can be noticed toward the top or bottom of the piece because of their “Sponsored by…” tags.

Platforms such as Yahoo Gemini, Outbrain, and Taboola are content discovery platforms which host native advertising pieces. These platforms place native ads within content streams. The ads are tagged as sponsored and have different visual styles for exposure (and FTC compliance).

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the big picture.

Content takes many forms such as videos, guides, newsletters, industry reports, podcasts, images, white papers, and ebooks.

The purpose of content marketing is to create a long-term goal for the efforts placed into the content delivered websites, social feeds, and use of third-party platforms.

A content marketing tactic could be creating guest articles on relevant websites which point interested parties to a landing page offering a free ebook on the topic. The party is engaged throughout the process which aids in conversions and sales.

The platforms you choose are any you deem valuable for content delivery. Measure authority of the sites used to improve your backlink strategy in tandem.

Implementing Native Advertising and Content Marketing

Time and resources going into content creation need metrics to track to determine if it’s an effective strategy to grow your business.

Metrics include:

  • Click through rate
  • Conversions
  • Link quality
  • Brand awareness

It’s also worth measuring whether the content is likely to convert.

Content is very helpful for existing customers, too.

If the goal is to convert new individuals then content for either type should be created in a way that pulls a new audience through understanding your company’s products or services.

Native Advertising

Consider the following for implementing native advertising:

  • In-feed units
  • Paid search results
  • Promoted listings
  • Integrated content

Native advertising will be likely existing content marketing efforts but transparent (labeling) the content as sponsored and tailoring it to the platform. It’s like guest posting but allowing the content to speak for itself without being overly promotional (or at all).

Content Marketing

Consider the following for implementing content marketing:

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Social media posts
  • Newsletters
  • Ebooks & whitepapers
  • Podcasts

Try a “top-down” approach.

Record a video covering an interesting topic. Transcribe the audio and pair with images to become a blog post. Strip audio and turn it into a podcast. Take content snippets and share on social media.

One thing to think about, too, is how content will be delivered to viewers. Ad blockers are on the rise.

Native advertising embeds the message in a natural manner versus aggressive banner, audio, and video ads. The same is done with tailoring the content marketing plan to sell offers without relying on embedded ads.

Native Advertising vs Content Marketing: DIY or Professionals?

One must consider the value of time in the native advertising vs content marketing debate.

Ask “Would I”:

  • Spend hours creating content?
  • Outsource the work to professionals?
  • Know where to take the efforts?

The DIY approach to native advertising vs content marketing is possible if you have the time and investment in the resources.

But, when there are employees to be managed, contractors to deal with, and larger decisions to handle — it might be a better choice to leave your marketing to the professionals.


You already have a monumental amount of work that needs to be done to keep the business operational. Taking on the monumental task of content marketing and implementing native advertising probably isn’t something you need to add to your list!


A DIY approach is possible if you plan, answer questions, and create content important to the community. Analytical data changes dynamics and direction once a return on investment is found.

This may not be something manageable on your own.

Whether you choose native advertising vs content marketing both are valuable in competing against larger companies and businesses within your industry.

It gives you an edge while they struggle with bureaucracy. Use it to your advantage!

Your turn: Which strategies do you think might work best for you, native advertising vs content marketing? And when you’re ready, contact us to get started with help for all your digital marketing needs.