Two players are ruling the digital world, content marketing and native advertising. Let's sort it out – what is the difference? And who has the highest ROI?


  • What Is Native Advertising?
  • Native advertising is a form of paid media where the content is placed "in-feed" and inherently is non-disruptive. This includes promoted tweets, suggested Facebook posts and editorial-based content recommendations from content discovery platforms like Outbrain, Taboola and Strossle.

  • What Is Content Marketing?
  • Different from traditional advertising, content marketing aims to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience by creating and distributing valuable content that consumers actually want to consume (consumers are normally trying to avoid traditional advertising). Content Marketing is normally created through storytelling features like sponsored content, sponsored infographics, sponsored videos and social media activities.

  • How to Measure?
  • The goals for content marketing and native advertising are very different. While both want to increase brand awareness, content marketing is also intended to strengthen the brand position and build relation to the audience. This is confirmed by the way both are measured: The number one metric for native advertising is click-through rate (CTR) and the number of leads generated, where content marketing usually depend on engagement metrics, impressions and likability of the brand. The often-used metrics to measure content marketing performance are active dwell time (ADT), scroll rate (SR) and scroll depth (SD) on the content.

  • Higher ROI With Content Marketing
  • Research indicates that content marketing impacts more key performance metrics and has a higher overall ROI than native advertising, even though both have their strengths and weaknesses. Fractl and Moz found that content marketing has a better overall return on investment when analyzing survey responses from more than 30 content marketing agencies and cost data from more than 600 digital publishers.