They are two of the pre-eminent models brands can use to reach customers. But how do display advertising and branded content differ?

Display advertising appears in dedicated, advertiser-specific slots in news products and is distinct from publisher content. Branded content can be presented in the style of publisher editorial, rather than appearing as an ad.

According to research from RAMetrics, a research tool offered by RAM (Research and Analysis of Media), those differences can be complementary.

Display drives awareness

RAMetrics data summarised by Newsworks shows:

  • Display ads boost recall - 65% of readers recall seeing them versus 55% who recall editorial-based ads.
  • Display ads increase familiarity - that is true for 57% of readers, versus 44% who said the same for content-based ads.

Content for engagement

In general, branded content comes into its own if advertisers want deeper levels of engagement with a smaller target group, who will find the content personally relevant and interesting.

  • Content piques interest - users rate branded content more interesting (60%, versus 46% for display).
  • Content is more useful - readers say branded content is more beneficial (40%) than display (26%).

Best of both

While each approach has particular strengths, brands and agencies do not have to operate on an "either-or" basis.

By choosing publishing partners with a broad footprint and a diverse range of delivery tactics, marketers can combine these two approaches to even greater effect.

With both tools available, we think we at News UK can help a brand tell a broader story, dive deeper into relevant themes and create lasting associations with consumers.

Branded content excels when it leans on the expertise of experienced editorial talent.

In both cases, we aim to incorporate ideas that we know will best resonate and engage our audience in a way that straight display advertising alone often cannot.