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The Differences between Native Advertising and Sponsored Listing

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Native advertising and sponsored listing are two terms that you may have come across recently, especially if your company is involved in any form of paid advertising.

But unless you have been paying close attention to how online advertising has evolved over the last couple of years, you may have missed the distinction between the two. (There’s no shame in that; even AOL and Yahoo are playing catch up.)

To get you up to speed on the differences between native advertising and sponsored listings, we offer you a concise explanation that you can just as easily adapt for the next stakeholders meeting or impromptu networking.

Native Advertising

The simplest way to explain native advertising is that it is paid media that takes on the feel and function of the site where it exists, almost always a publisher or platform like Facebook, The Wall Street Journal or Mashable, for example.

Now, because not all sites are the same, how one site integrates native ads may be completely different from another site.

Case in point: Facebook native ads are placed in the newsfeed, whereas Google’s native real estate is within search results – although ads are placed along the top and sidebar.

The reason: it flows more naturally with the rest of the content. Rather than disrupting the user experience, native advertising caters to it.

Native advertising is about how the content looks rather than what it does.

Sponsored Listing

Sponsored listings, on the other hand, are paid ads that are prominently featured on websites in order to drive traffic to specific landing pages.

In many cases, the website that hosts the sponsored listing will place it naturally within existing, non-paid, content so that it mimics the qualities of the site.

If you noticed, we said that the content takes on the characteristics of the website…remind you of anything?

That’s right; sponsored listings can also be a form of native advertising.

The sponsored listing is more about what the content does rather than how it looks, although it can be considered native if the ad is placed accordingly.

Have any questions?

We invite you to ask us any questions about paid advertising in the comments below, or just leave a comment as to your thoughts.

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