Paid search and paid social are two very popular forms of digital advertising that many businesses use to reach customers online. Choosing between the two can be challenging for your business if you do not understand the pros and cons of each.
In this article, we’ll explore the differences between paid search and paid social media to help you determine which is the best option for your business.
What is Paid Search?
Paid search, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, is a form of online advertising where businesses bid on keywords related to their products or services. When users search for these keywords, their advertisement will appear on the search engine results page (SERP).
Paid search is ideal for businesses looking to reach potential customers actively searching for their products or services.
Positives of Paid Search
Targeting – Paid search targets specific keywords related to your product or service, ensuring that your ads are shown to users actively searching for what you are offering. This means you are being shown to people with high intent of purchasing your product or service.
Immediate results – Being shown to people with high intent drives immediate traffic and conversions on your website, making it a great option for businesses looking to generate leads and sales quickly.
Measure Performance – Paid search platforms like Google ads and Microsoft ads provide detailed performance metrics, making it easy to track the success of your campaigns and allowing you to make data-driven decisions.
Negatives of Paid Search
Competition – Paid search is highly competitive, and bidding on popular keywords can get expensive. Ensuring your account is running at a sustainable ROI is the key to success on PPC.
Limited audience – It only reaches the users actively searching for keywords related to your product or service. Thankfully, there are other ways to utilise PPC platforms to reach your target audience even if they aren’t searching for you – so it’s important to run campaigns other than search campaigns!
What is Paid Social?
Paid social refers to advertising on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok.
Paid social advertising allows businesses to reach a large, engaged audience by targeting users based on location, demographics, interests, behaviours, and more.
Positives of Paid Socials
Broad reach – Paid social advertising can reach a large, targeted audience, which is ideal for businesses looking to expand their reach to new potential customers. It is great for growing your brand awareness in your target audience, as well as testing out new audiences.
Engaged audience – Social media users are often more engaged with content on these platforms, meaning that paid social advertising can drive higher engagement rates compared to other forms of advertising. Social media can be a great way to build a community around your brand.
Affordable – Paid social advertising can be more affordable than paid search, especially for businesses targeting niche audiences.
Negatives of Paid Social
Limited targeting options – Depending on the platform, the targeting options available for paid social advertising may be limited, making it harder to reach the right audience. It’s important to understand your audience and what social platforms they use to ensure your business uses the right platform to reach your audience.
Less immediate results – Paid social is great for keeping your brand top of mind. When reporting on the success of a social campaign, it’s important to remember that social ads are usually in the middle of the buyer’s journey - so while you may not see direct conversions/sales/leads from social ads, it’s likely that your social ads assisted conversions. You should consider different KPIs for social campaigns vs PPC campaigns.
Which one will you invest in, Paid Search or Paid Social?
Paid search and paid social media both have advantages and disadvantages, and the choice will highly depend on your business goals, budget, and target audience.
Ultimately, we recommend our clients use a mix of both. Paid social helps users along the buyer’s journey, attracts new audiences, and helps build a community online. Paid search is there to capture those who are ready to buy now – ensuring you stay on top of SERPs to seal the deal.
We find out your business's goals, objectives, and target audience before we recommend a mix of paid social and PPC, or one or the other.
Here at ExtraDigital, our specialists have a vast experience in both Paid Search and Paid Social, and we are more than happy to advise you on the best option for your business! If you are interested, get in touch via the contact form below.