Is it content marketing or native advertising?

between content marketing and native advertising

20 Mar Is it content marketing or native advertising?

” What is the difference between content marketing and native advertising?”

Since I starting working in the content industry, people always ask me what’s the difference between content marketing and native advertising? It seems an easy enough answer, however, a simple Google search will reveal it’s anything but simple. So in straightforward terms, here are three differences between content marketing and native advertising.

1.Is it written specifically for the advertiser?

A big difference between content marketing and native advertising is the customization of the article. Let’s say your advertiser is Smith and Sons heating and cooling company (totally made up). You decide to buy our heating and cooling magazine and reach out to Smith and Sons to advertise. It is relevant content to the advertiser and is a perfect fit for them to have ad placement under a “5 signs it’s time to replace your cooling unit”. Bam! There is Smith and Sons – a company that can help the reader if their unit is showing these signs. Content marketing is great for this and a really easy way for a media company to bring in extra advertising dollars while providing quality content to the reader.


So what if “5 signs to replace your cooling unit” was a native ad? Unlike other companies, who do native advertising, we do not pre-write content and then put the company’s name at the bottom (this is not true native advertising). Instead, we offer total customization for the advertiser. We would talk to Smith and Sons to get their expertise to include throughout the article.

2.Is the advertiser quoted?

Content marketing is ideal for topics in which a media company has many advertisers in their community to sponsor the publication. This past holiday season we had a newspaper combine our Holiday Entertaining and Holiday Decorating content to create a giant holiday magazine for which they found more than 40 ad sponsorships! Talk about paying for it many times over. However, for local businesses that want to say a bit more than what can be mentioned in an ad under relevant content, native is a good choice.


Take funeral homes for example. It might seem a strange choice, but they are a great industry for native ads. Think about it – people have a lot of questions after someone passes away, especially with all the digital property we as individuals now also own. Native advertising allows the business to get very specific in their topic and come across as the expert in the community.

For example “how to deal with someone’s social media accounts after they pass” is a topic a lot of people Google because they don’t know how to deal with it. By quoting the funeral company’s advice and expertise on this topic, the content builds trust with the reader. Will this reader definitely use this funeral? The article is not a sales pitch. It is designed to be helpful whether they use the company or not. Most likely, however, the content will make them more open to using the advertising funeral company. This is because the information is helpful in a non-pressured way.

3.Is it locally relevant?

Native advertising produced by CTW is always local. As mentioned before, unlike other companies’ native advertising, we do not reuse canned content and relabel it for other regions. It always is specific to the advertiser in your market. Local is a significant difference between content marketing and native advertising. It is not a bad thing to be or not be local depending on the topic.


Wedding trends such as Pantone’s color of the year and drone photography are both mentioned in our bridal planner. This content is created for content marketing. These trends apply to all regions making it relevant to everyone. However, an article on “Top 5 wedding venues in Georgia for 2017” is very specific to local Georgia readers. This is when a native ad would be more appropriate.


What are some key differences you see between content marketing and native advertising? We would love to hear from you in the comments below! Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a post. 

Interested in doing native advertising or content marketing? Contact us, we can help!