Native Advertising vs Sponsored Content vs Influencer Marketing
image via Instagram
Learn The Differences Between Native Advertising, Sponsored Content & Influencer Marketing
Although the terms native advertising, sponsored content, and influencer marketing are oftentimes used interchangeably with varying degrees of overlap, differences do exist between these popular forms of advertising. Learning the differences between native advertising vs. sponsored content vs. influencer marketing can help marketers determine whether or not one format is better suited than another for each marketing objective.
See below for platform-specific examples and a bulleted list of notable differences between native advertising vs. sponsored content vs. influencer marketing:
What Is Native Advertising?
Though there are many different definitions for native advertising with subtle nuances, native advertising is best described by these following elements. Oftentimes, native advertising options will be labeled as "sponsored."
- Unique ad formats specific to individual platforms - native advertising features ad formats that are only found on each platform and not the next. For example, Instagram's Sponsored Ads are not available on Facebook. YouTube's new Shoppable videos are not available for Facebook videos.
- Publisher-specific ads: BuzzFeed, Eater, The Verge are all publishers who have developed native ad formats for their sites
- Native Advertising Examples:
Facebook (ex. Sidebar, Newsfeed)
Instagram (Sponsored Ads)
Twitter (Promoted Tweets, Accounts, Trends)
YouTube (Shoppable Ads)
Many forms of native advertising content from publishers is oftentimes ad-served (presented through an ad service). With rising rates of ad blocker usage, this form of native advertising presents a significant problem for many advertisers and publishers. Recently, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) reversed its stance on ad blockers and issued new guidelines for digital ads.
What Is Sponsored Content?
For an in-depth look at sponsored content, please reference our article "What Is Sponsored Content." Similar to native advertising, sponsored content may also include various forms of advertising and exist in different formats, but here are the primary defining elements of sponsored content.
- Produced/created by the publishing entity
- Utilizes the same format as editorial content
- Often notated as such - phrases like "brought to you by," "presented by," "sponsored by," or "in partnership with"
- Example - Huffington Post
Many times a native advertisement will be labeled as "sponsored" though the ad is not necessarily sponsored content in nature. While sponsored content can sometimes be classified as native advertising, not all native advertising will be sponsored content.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
For an in-depth look at how to create the best platform-specific content with influencers, check out our how-to guides on Instagram, YouTube, and blogs. Additionally see how to measure influencer marketing campaigns here.
Influencer marketing is a type of sponsored content that involves brands/advertiser/sponsoring party marketing through social media influencers or social media stars (Instagrammers, YouTubers, bloggers, Viners, Snapchatters) in order to effectively reach and engage their respective audiences. Here are some delineating features of influencer marketing:
- Social media influencers or "creators" are the publishers
- Social media influencers create and disseminate content on their channels and platforms
- Collaborations/partnerships - though one-offs are common, increasingly more brands are seeking to create longer term collaborations with creators
- Examples - check out examples for Instagrammers, YouTubers, bloggers, Snapchatters, Viners
Additionally as influencer marketing grows, more and more brands are leveraging and combining influencer-created content with native advertising options (ex. lifestyle blogger Aimee Song for Banana Republic's Instagram sponsored ad as seen in lead article image above).
To see how brands and marketers construct influencer marketing strategies, check out our 10-step guide here.
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November 10, 2015 By Evan