What Is Content Advertising? Content Advertising Format Examples

What Is Content Advertising? Content marketing is a powerful way to connect with your customers, but it can be hard to understand what content advertising actually is.

Most people think of content as something they create for their website or blog. But really, any time you produce anything that will help someone make a buying decision, you are creating content!

This article explains how to use the right kind of content in your marketing efforts. We’ll talk about why this form of advertising works so well and how you can get started today.

What Is Content Advertising, and Should You Be Doing It? | WordStream
What Is Content Advertising, and Should You Be Doing It? | WordStream

What Is Content Advertising?

Most people are familiar with basic banner advertisements that line the top, sides and bottom of a webpage, which usually contain brief messages about some product or service. These also tend to be pretty generic and repetitive, which can make them less than effective.

On the other hand, content advertising relies on website publishers to create branded or sponsored ads that are more relevant and interesting to readers. For example: instead of paying for a banner ad that says “Buy Now!”, an advertiser might pay a publisher to incorporate a post about their product or service into a relevant blog.

Content advertising is much more targeted than traditional display ads, and has the potential to be more engaging for both users and advertisers. As such it tends to be much more expensive than standard banners as well as less risky for the advertiser.

So why pay for content advertising?

Content advertising is becoming more popular within the retail sector, with brands taking to social media platforms in order to message their audience.

This type of advertising is ideal for small-to-medium sized businesses who don’t have the budget for traditional newspaper, magazine and billboard adverts. However, when it comes to online content ads, do they actually have a positive effect on brand awareness?

In order to gauge the effectiveness of these types of adverts, it is important for companies to understand what exactly they are hoping to achieve.

If the aim is direct sales from their ads, this is easy enough to measure and adjust accordingly. But if they want to grow brand awareness, how can you tell if your ads are successful?

One way to measure the uptake of these types of adverts is by monitoring your audience’s engagement on social media. If you’re putting out some high-quality content, it should drive conversation and shareability amongst users, so see how many interactions your post is receiving. But remember this doesn’t necessarily equate to an increase in sales.

Content advertising format examples


I’m instantly struck by the notion that content advertising can serve up and down the sales funnel–from awareness, consideration or decision.

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The three ads I clicked on above led me to landing pages offering (1) an account opening process; (2) offers for free financial tools registration with some additional requirements like linking your bank account so they will send you money when it’s time(3). But also information about saving all together too through educational blog posts/videos etc…

Social media

Though Facebook has been the clear champion for ad revenue in social media, LinkedIn is still a popular platform with B2B marketers. Social advertising on these platforms can be targeted and specific to your needs as it features posts about digital marketing or even just media industry-related topics.

Content discovery

This is an example of how to run a successful native ad campaign. Sunrun, the solar panel company in this instance, has placed tips from advertisers about subsidies and rebates that can cover up front costs for installation on their landing page as well as providing specifics like regulations by state which may help you save money when getting one installed!

Publisher partnerships

Online publishers have a wide variety of content marketing options that include not only the discovery feed, but also sponsored and sometimes co-created pieces.

They also offer display ads in order to reach their audience online through these various advertising methods for an even wider audience range!

Mobile apps

The manner in which mobile apps are designed has produced yet another popular advertising channel. This time, the ad promotes a design course through Facebook Messenger!


Advertising is a great way to reach your audience. The example above comes from the Broadsheet newsletter, which was advertised in Fortune magazine as one of their ” Recommended Reads.”

Content Advertising vs Content Marketing

Content advertising quality not quantity
Content advertising quality not quantity

Content marketing and content advertising are often used interchangeably, however there is a clear distinction between the two. Content advertising is known as paid placement of branded messaging on third-party websites through display advertising or search marketing channels.

Content marketing, on the other hand, involves the creation and sharing of relevant and valuable content with the target audience with the primary intent of engaging and building relationships with customers.

The two overlap as both content advertising and content marketing involve some form of paid placement on third-party websites. Content advertising is purchased through display ad networks, affiliate marketers or search engine marketers (these three categories work together but can be considered equal).

Content marketing can be purchased via display ad networks, affiliate marketers or search engine marketers (differing slightly in this case), however they are not mutually exclusively.

Content marketing involves the creation of original content by the brand reaching out to its target audience with information relevant to that specific industry. It can include articles, blog posts videos, infographics and even eBooks.

Content itself can be a product or a service. Engaging branded campaigns include live video chats with CEOs, contests to win free products and interactive quizzes designed to help expand the knowledge of potential customers.

Isn’t Content Advertising Just Native Advertising with a New Name?

Content advertising native advertising example
Content advertising native advertising example

Content advertising is becoming a buzz term marketers are using more and more. Brands are touting their content marketing success, while publishers are introducing new ways to monetize their sites with the help of sponsored articles.

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While there are similarities between native advertising and content advertising, they aren’t the same thing. Native ads have been around for awhile, but the term has recently been used more frequently because of its co-relation to successful content advertising.

What Are The Advantages of Content Advertising?

What are the advantages of content advertising? There’s a number of them! Let’s take a look at some of the most important ones:

It attracts large quantities of highly-targeted, engaged audience members. It helps brand awareness and recognition. It can boost sales, customer loyalty and create a desire for your product or service (in other words, increased demand).

Another important advantage is that it can be done at a relatively low cost: all you need really is to invest some money in creating the content you plan on promoting – and there’s a huge array of content you can promote as an ad, such as: infographics, blog posts, videos and podcasts to name just a few.

One thing that might not be so obvious is the fact that by creating and promoting relevant content, you can achieve other marketing goals too: for example, SEO – which should be part of any digital marketing plan. High quality content will increase the authority of your website, leading to higher rankings on Google and other search engines.

What Are The Disadvantages of Content Advertising?

Content advertising is a type of marketing in which businesses pay to have their websites linked to by online content publishers. This allows them to gain extra visibility and also helps users find what they are looking for.

Consumers use the information provided in these articles when making purchasing decisions, so it can be highly valuable in getting your product in front of the right people.

However, there are also some disadvantages to content advertising that should be considered. Content marketing can be time consuming for publishers.

Many companies want to use this type of marketing, so you may find yourself under pressure to produce articles very quickly when you would normally take longer with each piece. This can leave you with less time to allocate to each article so it may suffer in terms of quality.

There are also many restrictions when using this type of promotion which can make it less flexible than other forms.

For example, if a company is unhappy with the placement or formatting of their ad they may ask for revisions several times before deciding whether to place it. This can incur additional costs and delay the marketing activity you are planning.

Content Advertising Examples

Content Advertising Examples
Content Advertising Examples

Content advertising is another way to say native advertisements, which many businesses are using nowadays instead of traditional banner ads.

These types of advertisements live within the editorial stream or content on a website, and they’re designed to resemble the design language and narrative of the website.

Many online publications use content advertising examples to make a consistent revenue stream from their readers without annoying them with too many advertisements or producing low-quality ads that might drive visitors away.

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I admit it, I don’t like banner ads very much, but I love these content advertising examples. They’re not disruptive to my online experience, and they’re actually pretty fascinating.

I’m not the only one who loves content advertising examples, either. VistaPrint saw an increase of 115 percent in click-through rates thanks to their use of this type of advertisement on the VistaPrint blog (click here for more information). Now that’s some impressive results!


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