An advertorial is an editorial article, which is written for advertising purposes and published both in print media and on websites. The plain text content can be additionally enriched with pictures, videos, tables, or other graphical elements. Many large publishers offer their online customers advertorials on high-coverage portals. Under current press law, advertorials must be labeled as such because they are of commercial, not of informative character. However, there is often a large gray zone.
Advertorials are believed to have originated when publishers were looking for other sources of income, since classic advertisements no longer achieved the desired effect in print media. With advertorials the boundary between information and advertising was blurred even more. This fact is already reflected in the choice of words, because “advertorial” is made up of the words “advertising” and “editorial.”
While advertising specifically focuses on the USP, in an advertorial, it is packed into an entire editorial content. In the best case, there is added value for the reader from the consumption of advertorials and thus it relays its advertising message rather indirectly.
Publishers can offer their customers an attractive product with an advertorial because in this way, content can be distributed over a wide area and used in content marketing. Providers of advertorials are usually large publishers. Major customers regularly launch campaigns with advertorials.
Guest posts are very popular in the SEO scene to obtain backlinks from other websites for their own projects. But the original purpose of a guest post is to provide the reader of a magazine or online portal additional information value.
The guest post is written for this purpose by a specialist on the topic. Guest posts also serve to improve the reputation of the author. But they are generally of commercial nature. That is what separates classic guest posts from advertorials, which by definition are commercially oriented. In online marketing, the separation between guest post and advertising is often further mixed up as guest posts are used primarily as a means of link exchange or link building.
To answer the question as to the commercial nature of a text or article, it helps to ask yourself whether journalistic aspects such as objectivity and depth of research were respected when writing the article. Furthermore, there is always the question of added value. If the basic tone of an article is the message “Buy me!” it is likely an advertisement. The advertorial diverts from its advertising nature by packaging an advertisement into an editorial topic.
In order to publish advertorials, certain rules must be followed.
If promotional content is placed in text or image form into information media, they must be clearly labeled as advertising. Usually, there is a note in the print area such as “ad” or “advertisement.” On the Internet, it is often called “sponsored post” or “sponsored link.”
Although an advertorial is primarily marked as advertising and any links are set to “nofollow” such a post can nevertheless provide additional visibility. If advertorials are booked on sites with far-reaching coverage, there is a possibility that other publishers become aware of the shop or brand and share the content of advertorials via social media or report about it on their own website. In this way the brand or the shop name can spread on the Internet.
Advertisers also may receive organic backlinks as a result. The traffic that can be generated through an advertorial is not to be underestimated in terms of strengthening domain popularity or trust. However, an advertorial should not be used for genuine link building because Google and other search engines evaluate the massive use of advertorials as spam or as a breach of the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Advertorials are an excellent way to promote the branding of a product or a company. Moreover, advertorials can accompany special marketing promotions. A new topic can also be kicked off with an advertorial to ensure media attention, so that other online or print media takes up the issue as well. Here, the advertorial can be part of a guerilla marketing campaign.
However, the success of advertorials firstly depends on its quality or targeting, and secondly, the duration and scope of the Internet portals and print media will determine how many potential customers can be reached. In principle, the motto “more is better” applies to advertorials. If you want to achieve strong advertising pressure, editorially colored articles can provide such pressure by booking massive advertorials.