Where Should Your Digital Marketing Dollars Go? Paid Search vs. Paid Social
In this expanding digital age, there are more and more ways to spend money on online advertising. If you’re a small business and working with a budget, you need to decide where your presence will have the biggest impact, Paid Search or Paid Social, and understanding the simple differences between the two can make a big difference.
Paid Search ads are generally reactive – they react to the search terms that are entered into a search engine and trigger ads to display on the search results page. In other words, if you Google for “red cowboy boots,” you’ll get ads for red cowboy boots as well as organic search results.
The two biggest players in the Paid Search game are Google Ads (formerly AdWords) and Bing Ads. They are very similar in that you add keywords, create ads and site link extensions, and set up targeting parameters. Google Ads has the advantage of also having options for Display, Gmail and YouTube ads on the Google Network. Bing offers the advantage of being supported by Microsoft, and therefore the default search engine on most Windows products.
Since Paid Search ads are reliant on search queries, it’s an excellent platform if you have a product to sell, a question that you can answer, or a service that people are looking for. If you’re selling a never-before-seen (or heard) snarfleblaster, however, you may want to consider Paid Social.
Paid Social ads are proactive, placing themselves in front of users on sites like Facebook and Instagram based on their interests. These interests are collected based on page likes, posts, hashtags and their connections online. Lookalike audiences can also be created, finding people similar to ones you already know are in your target demographic.
Ads are built with both images or video and text and are targeted in many of the same ways as Paid Search, Instead of keywords, however, you target based on interest combinations. While you may not be able to target “red cowboy boots” specifically, you can target people who like fashion, particular brand names, stores and who like country music.
Social networks are just that – social, and the ads that do well here are more suited for conversation or engagement. If you’re a startup with strong imagery (that snarfleblaster is a conversation starter!) or your campaign is more content driven, this may be the a better option for your needs.
You don’t need to pick one or the other – you can actually create successful campaigns on both platforms that work together by taking advantage of remarketing. Visitors to your website who came in on a Google Ad could also have a Facebook Ad served to them at a later date, helping to reinforce your brand or message again. Or reverse the funnel and begin with a Facebook boosted post and then find them again on YouTube. There are a myriad of combinations that can be effective to land your business in front of the right eyes.
Remember that no matter where you opt to start your journey into digital advertising, there will always be testing, and your results may not always turn out as you expect. You may find that while you thought you would perform best with men ages 18-24 in Cincinnati, you actually have a solid audience of women over 65 in Kalamazoo. (Who knew snarfleblasters would be the top Christmas gift from Grandma?) Data analysis is key to determining which platform is right for you.
Overwhelmed by the idea of trying to manage an online ad campaign or just in a rut with the one you currently have running? The experts at Epic Notion would love to help! Contact us today!