Content Advertising

What is Content Advertising?

Content advertising is a form of content marketing which places unique, quality, informative content on paid content advertising platforms.

Content advertising differs significantly from traditional advertising, in that content advertising’s aim is to engage consumers with useful, relevant information that will expand their knowledge of a product or service and motivate them to share this content with others.

The most popular form of content marketing is blogging, but other methods include videos, podcasts, social media posts, e-newsletters, photos and graphics, and news articles.

All of these forms can become content advertising if space for them is purchased, such as through “boosted” posts on Facebook, ads on Instagram, or through a number of third party content advertising platforms.

Why is Content Advertising Important?

Today’s consumers are attuned to advertisements that feel “salesy” and are quick to turn their attention elsewhere.

Content advertising delivers brand information in a subtler way – by offering consumers valuable information that will entertain them or improve their life in some way, such as “listicles” or how-to videos.

The goal of this form of advertising is to position a brand as an expert in its field, one that can be trusted for advice, and that consumers will remember when it comes time to purchase a product or service in that industry.

Content advertising has been shown to improve brand loyalty and develop consumer trust by offering them tools or data that will help them make a smart purchasing decision.

Additionally, content advertising shows a lower bounce rate compared to traditional ads, with consumers spending more time on the page and clicking through to a purchasing site more frequently, and it averages 3x more leads per advertising dollar spent than traditional ads.

Like general content and marketing, content advertising benefits from some free exposure via social media shares, and the endorsement that comes with that sharing.

However content advertising, through paid placement or post boosting, does not rely on the artful use of SEO keywords the way other forms of content marketing do.

Whereas most types of content marketing require the correct use of keywords for the piece to appear in search engines, paid content advertising ensures visibility regardless of keywords.

Content Advertising vs Native Advertising

While at first these two methods may seem very similar, native advertising is far more branded, with frequent references to a company’s own products or services and distinct calls to action.

Native advertising has a higher bounce rate than content advertising, and is typically far less frequently shared by consumer, as social media users are traditionally resistant to sharing obvious advertisements or logos.

The aim of content advertising is to inform and build customer trust, creating a long term relationship with a consumer, while the aim of native advertising is to influence consumer behavior on a short term purchasing decision.

Considerations for Quality Content Advertising


Successful content advertising is:

  • Useful – Readers should come away with new knowledge of a topic that they are eager to share with others.
  • Inspiring – Items like how-to videos or challenges motivate readers to take action and try something new; and share that self-improvement with their friends and networks.
  • Targeted – Posts geared towards french bulldog fans or vegans perform better than those for dog lovers or general health aficionados. They may be for a narrower audience, but they feel more personalized and relevant to readers, and thus more valuable to share.
  • Mobile-friendly – The text should be simple, engaging, and fast-loading for someone reading on the subway or in line for coffee.
  • Not misleading – Consumers rarely share “click-bait” with headlines that do not match the content. Content advertising should be to the point and come with an accurate, enticing headline.
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