Sponsored Content or Native Ad?

Ever since Bill Gates prophesized the supreme value of Content by creating a new phrase ‘Content is king’ way back in 1996 through an article he wrote bearing the same set of words, Content has never lost its kingdom , regardless of form or topic. While elaborating the importance of ‘content’ the Microsoft founder asserted “When it comes to an interactive network such as Internet, the definition of ‘content’ becomes very wide. For example, computer software is a form of content – an extremely important one ……..”

Sponsored Content or Native Ad

Later, when Google released its “Hummingbird” algorithm in 2013, keywords lost their premium value, while content, delivered in colloquial language became the new SEO ambrosial. It soon became apparent that Google will appreciate quality content above all, irrespective of whether it contains captivating keywords or not.

However, when content marketing gained sufficient momentum two buzzwords raised their heads alongside – ‘Sponsored content’ and ‘native ads’. Even though people very often used these terms interchangeably, content gurus thought differently. According to most of them, these are two different forms of content – in other words, two dissimilar content products. But is that realty? Let us explore and find out what is what.

To begin with, ‘sponsored content’ and ‘native advertising’ are both paid forms of content – in fact can be regarded as subsets of good old content marketing strategy. What’s more, they both accommodate and homologize with the website on which they roost, while complying with ethical editorial norms.

But there are also a lot of dissimilarities. Native advertising is basically promotional in nature and characteristics (as the name suggests), while its primary objective is persuasion than imparting knowledge (before an audience). Another significant feature of native advertising by which you may identify it will be its immaculate article-like content with an undercurrent blatantly crying out ‘call-to-action! Alternatively, it will have brand-biased content, sporting the company’s name. Native advertisements, to be precise, are nothing but advertorials created for the digital age.

“Sponsored content’ on the other hand is seldom brand-biased, while its presentation is mostly in the form of imparting knowledge among its audience. Here also the name of the company may appear more as a source of information than for transactional purposes with mild insinuations that the audience can acquire the desired information from the company if it so desires. But the real motive behind the blah- blah is to drive the audience to the company where a deal can be clinched along with relevant info.



Native advertising is advertising that is native to the platform that you are using for your advertisement. Take the case of sponsored tweets on Twitter or Facebook’s sponsored posts.  These are ad buys that only Twitter and Facebook can sell since these are native to their platforms.

Sponsored content is content typically created by the publisher and “sponsored by” or “brought to you by” the advertiser.

The brand rarely, if ever, gets a say in the content being produced. With sponsored content, advertisers pay for their brand to be associated with a publisher’s story or piece of content.