Short summary: Content Advertising
The term “content advertising” is derived from online marketing and describes a method of distributing content through active advertising. Because of the terminology and methods used, content advertising is often equated with content marketing and native advertising, but this is not correct. Although all three forms of online marketing share certain characteristics, there are some important differences, which are described in more detail below.
Content Advertising is a variant of online marketing in which high-quality content is distributed via regular advertising channels. This definition is deliberately broad because content advertising uses very different kinds of content and forms of advertising. The crucial feature is that it’s only high-quality content actively distributed via a promotional channel.
This reveals another difference from content marketing, which is a variant associated with inbound marketing. Content advertising is part of the process of outbound marketing. That’s why SEO plays such an important role in content marketing because the content that is presented also must be found in the first place. Given that inbound marketing involves the customer approaching the company, it’s necessary to lay down a kind of pathway through your content marketing – optimizing the page and its content so that the right keywords will guide the customer to your planned destination. This is not the same with content advertising where the content is prominently advertised without the user having to conduct a prior online search.
Of course, promoting the content does not mean that you should resort to cheap marketing tricks and questionable methods. Cheap click-bait actually damages your company’s reputation and also degrades the advertising content. Ideally, your content and advertising should operate at the same level, and even though the exact look of an advert will depend on the content being advertised, both your content and adverts must be of equal quality.
The distinction between content advertising and native advertising is somewhat more difficult to address, and the two terms are often used synonymously. Native advertising is about blending advertising with a website’s editorial content so the reader can no longer easily distinguish between natural and paid content (“paid content vs. organic content”). This method remains controversial even within the marketing industry and, if it is not used wisely, has the potential to harm the image of the advertiser. Content advertising makes a clear distinction between paid and editorial content, and in many instances, this is not actually an important issue: If you download a white paper, a guide, or something similar because you think the content is impressive, how you came by the content is relatively unimportant. In some instances, the user may not even notice that he or she has followed a paid link to receive the desired content. The advertising is only used to attract the reader’s attention – it’s the high-quality content hidden behind the advertising that the user finds convincing.
What are the benefits of content advertising?
One of the biggest benefits of content advertising is the fact that you don’t have to worry about making your content easy to find. SEO measures, keywords and the like have no role to play in content advertising and can therefore be completely ignored. Instead, you simply choose the distribution channel you think is most appropriate for the content and buy appropriate amounts of advertising space or advertising time. This not only makes the whole thing very easy, it also makes it possible to use ads and content in a very purposeful way. This is particularly helpful in an area such as social media because sites like Facebook usually know a great deal about their users. On Facebook, for example, you could market a guide to DIY oil changes at home by targeting tech-savvy car lovers age 20 to 40. This helps limit the cost of your content advertising while ensuring a high conversion rate.
The ability to tailor content with such precision has another advantage: It can be used for very specific topics and small audiences for which normal content marketing measures would be far too costly and inefficient. Also, content advertising usually scales well as there is generally an appropriate advertising channel for each kind of audience and reach required. This helps make content advertising extremely cost-effective.
What are the disadvantages of content advertising?
One of content advertising’s biggest drawbacks is the fact that your budget determines the success of your efforts. Although the same could be said of content marketing to a certain extent, once the content for this area has been created and optimized, this form of advertising then largely operates cost-free. However, with content advertising, the impact of advertising generally ceases once your budget has been used up – no further ads will be shown, and your content “disappears” into the depths of the network. This can be a problem for small projects with limited budgets because if an ad is terminated too quickly, a good part of its potential impact may never be achieved.
In addition, there’s a common challenge for all content advertising measures: To ensure a continuous effect, you must continuously produce high-quality content. This can be very time-consuming and hard to afford, especially for smaller departments. You can purchase more appropriate content, but this will have budget implications.
The ability to serve small audiences can also create its own difficulties. Firstly, there’s a real need to achieve high conversion rates so that your advertising campaign remains profitable. Also, it’s difficult to subdivide a small target group, which means your advertising can only be broadly targeted at that group and cannot reflect more specific features. That, in turn, implies losing many of your potential customers or, even worse, may result in some users being disturbed by the advertising, which makes your advertising ineffective.
Content Advertising can be a very useful tool to promote high-quality content. The biggest advantage of content advertising is you do not have to rely on being found by others – thanks to paid advertising channels, the content appears exactly where you want to place it. You no longer have to worry about SEO rules or page rankings. Instead, you can concentrate entirely on the quality of your own content.
In general, content advertising is a very efficient measure, so usually you won’t have concerns about the budget. However, if money is very tight, or if you plan to address a very small target group, your content advertising will still work, but your measures must be very well planned and thought through. Otherwise, your content advertising may fizzle out with very little impact.
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