Paid Social vs Paid Search

Digital

Paid search or paid social? With so many platforms and options, it can become overwhelming and confusing. We take a look at which paid ads are best.

Written By

Thomas Coughlan

Posted On

24 Jun 2019

Paid advertising has become a popular aspect of online marketing due to how powerful the tools can be. Tools such as Facebook Ads and Google Ads are becoming easier for everyone to be able to reach their target market. However, depending on how in-depth you would like to go and how many platforms you want to use, it can become overwhelming and confusing. If you break them down into paid search and paid social, it makes it easier to see where they will fit in your marketing strategy.

Paid Social Ads

Paid social are the paid ads you see when using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. With these types of ads, your audience may not necessarily be looking for a solution to a problem. Before seeing your ad, they might not even realise they have a problem. These ads allow you to reach your target audience and highlight the problem they have and how your business can solve it.

Using the platforms’ analytics tools, you are able to track the performance of the ads. With this analytics, you are then able to adjust your message and who you are targeting to fully achieve your objectives. Depending on how large a budget you want, you can reach as large of an audience you want.

Paid Search Ads

Unlike paid social ads, paid search ads appear when someone has searched for a query. Although Google Ads is the most popular of paid search platforms, most search engines have their own including Bing and Yahoo. With paid search ads, you are able to choose which queries you want to target with your ads. This means that you can have your ads showing to people who are likely to be ready or almost ready to buy.

Unlike paid social, you don’t need to convince people that they have a problem as they are already aware. You only need to convince them that you are the best solution.

Best to use for fast results?

Paid search is great if you are looking to achieve short-term goals quickly. As you are targeting people who are ready to convert, if done right, you should see results quickly. If someone requires your product or service as soon as possible, they are not going to waste time searching the web looking. Paid search allows you to get your company in front of them before their intent goes.

Best to use on a small budget?

Not everyone has large budgets specifically for online ads. However, you can still achieve your goals with a smaller budget. On average, cost per clicks on paid social ads are less than paid search ads. However, this can quickly rise depending on the competition of your target audience. However, as we have already mentioned, people who click on your social ads may not necessarily convert straight away. Therefore, they may end up click on your ads more often before converting. Whereas with paid search ads, although on average they are more expensive per click, there is a higher chance they will convert after just clicking once. It’s important to carry out research on both before picking the right option to achieve your goals. The cheapest cost per click may not necessarily be the cheapest option in the long run.

Best to build brand awareness?

There is always only going to be so many people that are searching for queries that are relevant to your business. People are not going to be searching for problems you solve if they don’t know they have the problem. Therefore, increasing the awareness of your brand is needed.

Paid social ads are great in doing this. They allow you to get your company in front of your target audience by telling a story with images, videos and compelling text. Increasing your brand awareness through paid social ads can also save you money in the future. If you can grow your following through social, they are then more likely to use you when they have a problem that you solve without the need for you to have a paid ad to reach them.

Which is best for you?

Deciding whether paid search or paid social is best for you company depends on your company, audience and goals. Both have advantages and disadvantages so using a mix of both will be best. However, if you don’t have the time and/or budget to be able to do this, focusing on one will be better for your company.

At this point, you should now have a better understanding of which will be best for you. You will always need to keep an eye on your advertising. If you are still in doubt, it’s best to start slowly and testing is a great way to find out what works best for you.

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