native advertising vs sponsored content

Can you tell the difference between native advertising and sponsored content?  Did you know there was a difference?  Were you using both terms interchangeably to describe the same idea?  It's understandable.  After all, websites across several industries mix up the terms as well. If you haven't guessed yet (spoiler alert) they're two totally different things.


If a large number of people are combining the two terms, why should it matter if they're differentiated or not?  It matters because they both have the potential for different strategies with two DIFFERENT revenue streams.  That means more opportunities for advertisers to get their message out, and more ad packages to sell.  So what's the difference between these terms?  Let's break it down:


Native Advertising

If it's promotional it's an ad, and aimed to convince rather than inform the audience. Native advertisements blend with site content so as not to disrupt the user experience.  Examples include: 

  • Advertorial - blogs and articles with a promotional tone, aimed to convince
  • Content that links out to advertiser websites or content
  • Videos and images that are biased towards a brand


Sponsored Content

This is strictly editorial.  Sponsored content is not brand-biased and focuses on informing rather than convincing their target audience.  The strategy behind this is to become a thought leader in the industry, and increase the value of the brand.  If the audience goes to that company for advice, maybe they'll buy their products as well.  Examples include:



native advertising sponsored content comparison


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