Paid Search vs. Paid Social: 4 Tips for Choosing the Right Platform

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The plunge into the world of paid online advertising is an exciting one to take. It has become easier than ever to reach your target audience through social advertising on various social media platforms, as well as paid search ads on search engines such as Google.

It all becomes a bit more complicated however when thinking about paid search vs. paid social. Which one makes the most sense for your business?

Defining Paid Search and Paid Social

A solid understanding of both paid search and paid social is important to further understand the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Paid search ads are ads that are shown on search engine results pages (SERPs) such as Google. They appear on these pages based on search queries that are made by users.

The great thing about this method of online advertising is that the people who view these ads have proven they are already actively looking for your product or service. There is an intention behind their search, which your business seeks to provide a solution for in an advertisement.

This audience is ready to make a purchase and the likeliness of a sale being made is greatly increased.

You can learn more about the reasons why some Google ads accounts succeed and fail here.

Paid social advertising on the other hand includes ads that show up on different social media channels. This social media audience may not be actively looking for a solution to their problem. But your ad can still help them become aware of a solution to a problem they didn’t even know they had.

Paid social is great for tracking progress on your ads and getting business from a large group of targeted customers. 

You can learn more about how to create a foolproof Facebook advertising strategy here.

Of course, it’s ideal to use both of these marketing channels. 

But many businesses find that focusing on one channel works better for their business. 

Here we present some cases to highlight situations where it would be better to use one platform over the other.

When you’re looking to improve brand awareness

If you’re looking to build brand awareness for your brand, then paid social ads are going to be your best friend! Paid social ads are one of the best ways to reach a large audience and get your name out there.

Putting products or services on social media is a great way to get them noticed. 

This is especially true for businesses that are selling solutions that potential customers don’t even realize they want. This is also a great way to build your following. You will take on customers that can become loyal to your brand.

When loyalty is built, customers will skip the step of searching online for when they need something as they already have your brand in mind. This makes it more likely that they will choose to make their purchase from your business over others.

It’s hard to find a better advertising solution than paid social when it comes to meeting potential customers in the buyer’s journey, building loyalty, and creating brand awareness.

Sales need to be made quickly

When you need quick results and sales, paid search ads are going to be your best bet. Search ads allow you to target an audience that is ready to buy. This is because your product or service is something they’re already looking for.

While your target may not be wide scale, it consists of a warm audience that already has their cursor hovering over the purchase button. They just need one more bump from a paid search ad to get them to click.

Looking at this idea from a second angle, this target audience is in the decision-making phase. Your job is to make sure that they choose your brand over a competitor for their needs.

Facilitating a paid search ad is a great idea for those needing quick sales as many search ads are set up for quick decision-making. Viewers will see your ad and most often make a fast decision to purchase. This ups your sales and helps you to get the results you’re looking for. 

When costs need to be kept low

There’s nothing quite like needing marketing results and having a little budget to help get those results. 

In these types of situations, you will likely have a lower cost-per-click with a paid social ad than you would with a paid search ad. This audience is higher up in the funnel which often means lower associated costs.

The important thing to consider with this though is that the higher cost-per-click associated with a search ad is also usually one that is more likely to convert. 

This means that by paying a higher price, you are likely to get a higher return on your investment. Whereas with a social click you may get nothing at all.

This will be important to think about when weighing your options between paid search vs. paid social in terms of cost. Always consider what will be the best platform for running your ads over which is going to be the cheapest option.

When there’s a need for scalable growth

When it comes to scalable growth, paid search is the better choice. High conversion rates can be achieved when paid search keywords are researched and implemented. They work to drive valuable traffic.

Overall revenue has shown to be significantly higher with the use of paid search ads. According to Google, the average revenue of $2 is earned for every $1 spent on Google AdWords.

This means paid search ads have the potential to greatly increase revenue for businesses and scale them to new heights. Paid search ads are a much better choice for those thinking long-term and looking to grow.

Make the Right Platform Choice

You now have all of the information you need to understand which platform is going to make sense for certain business choices. It is always going to be ideal to use both of these marketing channels. But there are times when just one is going to be the best choice.

At the end of the day, the right platform for your business will depend on what product or service it is that you are trying to market, as well as your goals and who you are marketing to.

Blue Water Marketing in Stuart, FL, can help you to determine which platform is going to be the best choice for your business. We can then help you to establish campaigns that will help you to reach your goals, along with all of your digital marketing needs. Get in touch today!


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