Native Advertising vs. Content Marketing – Where Is the Difference?

In Online Marketing Native Advertising and Content Marketing are often used as synonyms although they describe different marketing approaches. But can you tell the difference? Let’s shed more light on the matter and start with a definition.

Content Marketing

The essence of Content Marketing consists of informative, educational or entertaining content with a high value for customers. Instead of big advertising claims content marketing focuses on storytelling, the main goal is to satisfy certain “pain points” of the targeted audience and not to sell products directly. This way, valuable content can help brands increase awareness, change perception, strengthen trust and create a sustainable interaction with users. As a marketing strategy, content marketing covers an early part of the sales funnel, as well as it helps to increase loyalty of clients long term.

Native Advertising

Native Advertising is an online marketing form, which is characterized by its special ad format and placement. Designed in the look & feel of the editorial environment, native ads are placed in the users’ direct reading flow. In this way, they fit into the surrounding content and do not disrupt the user experience. As a result, consumers consciously choose to engage with the ads and are more open to the advertising message. To avoid any confusion with editorial content, native ads are labeled e. g. as “sponsored” or “ad”.

But if Content Marketing and Native Adverting are not the same why do people tend to use both terms to describe the same thing? The link between both approaches is the need of targeted content distribution. Creating engaging content is only half the battle: to make it work, content needs visibility. Particularly in the context of a content marketing strategy, Native Advertising is the perfect format for generating greater reach for branded content from owned, earned and paid media. Using Native Advertising, high-quality content can be unobtrusively integrated on news sites, themed portals, blogs etc. to drive users to the content. In combination with user data, the placement of content recommendations can be even adjusted to users’ individual interests. This way, the relevance of the content is increased additionally and readers’ interaction with your content is enhanced.

Native Advertising not only helps brands address specific audiences directly but also to measure the relevance and performance of content as well as to optimize all related KPIs. Therefore, paid Content Distribution is crucial, since it ensures that every content piece reaches its target group.

As you can see, both Native Advertising and Content Marketing have different goals but together they are the perfect combination to bring high-quality content and relevant users together.

(We updated this article in August 2017 and published it here.)

Author: Lucie Feldt


  1. vpn

    Thanks for your Cool Blog.

  2. Nils Jochimsen

    Hello Lisa, we are sorry, it was a typing error. The term “pain point” describes an issue that the user struggles with. Let’s say you are looking for a new car insurance but don’t know which one to choose. An article about what you should pay attention to when you buy an insurance could help you find the right product easier – and might solve your pain point. By providing this kind of relevant content, a brand (e.g. an insurance company) can thereby benefit from building trust and credibility. We hope this answers your question.

  3. Lisa

    Thank you very much for this interesting article, it very well explains the difference between Native Advertising and Content Marketing. However, in the paragraph about Content Marketing you are referring to “paint points”. What exactly do you mean by this?
    Thanks in advance for your reply 🙂

  4. jhon

    good post

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