Content marketing: A quick guide to the different categories

Content marketing or native advertising is a medium that tears up the rulebook, seeks out disruption and challenges existing ways of doing business.

It’s a bit like the digital industry as a whole, which is why it is the go-to advertising medium for digital, says Dale Lovell, the Chief Digital Officer at the UK agency Adyoulike.

In an article that explains the different content marketing terminology, he says it’s understandable that marketers are confused by the plethora of new categories and sub-categories, such as:

·         Branded content;

·         Content partnerships;

·         In-feed distribution;

·         Native display;

·         In-stream native;

·         In-ad native;

·         True native; and

·         Content widgets.

“If you are confused, the first thing to remember is that you are not alone. For a while now, native advertising has been a catch-all term,” he writes in the article titled The Main Categories of Native Advertising Everyone Needs to Understand.

Lovell explains the most common content types:

Branded content

“At its core this form of native advertising involves a publisher creating a bespoke piece of content for a brand that is in keeping with the publisher’s audience expectations and tone of voice. This native advertising format is, essentially, a partnership between one specific publisher and one specific advertiser.

“The advertising brand has sign off on the proposal and the concept, but it’s the publisher that leads the creative build and delivery.”

This content is increasingly being created by publishers’ highly sophisticated internal commercial content teams to ensure it meets specific audience expectations.

Ryan Willoughby, Director of Content Marketing at Australian Doctor Group agrees: “We find that when our internal team create partnered content that closely matches our regular content it is more likely to be read.

Whether or not it has a brand attached is irrelevant as long as it aims to inform, not sell.”

Independently produced

This type of content fits in with the tone and style of the publication but carries labelling such as sponsored so readers know the content wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for a commercial backer.

Adherents argue that this style of native advertising is the only real form of content marketing that should exist because it ensures that the content sits, looks and feels like the surrounding editorial of the website in which it sits, Lovell writes.

“It isn’t always about promoting a brand or product. Brands often forget that they are one of the leading experts in their fields, and the level of education and information that they can provide outside of their brand is incredibly valuable to their customers that, if anything, helps to build the foundations toward selecting their products,” says Willoughby.

Increasingly publishers are looking for commercial organisations to help fund their sponsored content as marketing appetites evolve from marketers and consumers alike.

In-feed native display

This is the category in which Lovell specialises, but he acknowledges that not many people fully understand it. Digital advertising spaces on publisher websites aren’t just for the regular advertisements anymore and companies are now starting to relook at how they use this space to more effectively drive traffic to their content platforms.

This is his elevator pitch:

“My business runs Facebook-style adverts across a network of publisher websites. The adverts are typically promoting interesting content – editorial or video. The adverts are normally positioned directly in-feed and will run across all devices; mobile, desktop and tablet.”

He says this type of content marketing replicates the advertising style and uses the same assets as social media advertising but moves it to the direct publisher environment.

“They are bespoke native advertising units that seamlessly fit into the publications on which they appear – and can usually run all types of content asset – editorial, video and more.”

Content Recommendation / Content discovery

These are the promoted stories that many websites carry for third parties at the bottom of their articles.

“Content recommendation offers huge scale for marketers. You can pay just a few cents per click for a website visit, and have your content shared across thousands of websites. You only pay for the visit. It is usually not traded programmatically – but this is changing, and is typically operated via self-serve dashboards that you can load content and budgets into easily and effectively.

“If used properly it can complement your wider digital marketing activity and be a valued part of your arsenal in distributing good quality content, at scale.”

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