– Sentiment: How do you feel after reading the content? Did you learn something new? Did you have an emotional reaction? Did you want to go check out the brand and learn more about their products and services? How the content makes you feel is a good indicator of whether it was native advertising or branded content. If you learned something new or felt entertained, chances are you were looking at branded content. If you felt compelled to make a purchase, it was more likely native advertising.
Virality: Another good indicator of content type is it’s shareability. Generally speaking, native ads aren’t the type of content that goes viral. Branded content, on the other hand, is often designed to go viral. Perhaps one of the best examples of viral branded content in recent memory is The Lego Movie, which single-handedly propelled Lego to become one of the most famous brands in the world.
– Production value: Another good indicator when learning native advertising vs. branded content is production value. Typically, branded content has a significant investment behind it (i.e. The Lego Movie). It also costs money to place native ads in third-party publications, but brands typically invest more heavily in branded content then they do native advertising.
Location: The last, and perhaps most obvious indicator, is where the content is located. Simply put, if the content exists on the brand’s owned channels, like a blog or social media page, it’s branded content. If it exists on a third-party website, it’s more likely native advertising.