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Pay-Per-Click vs Social Media Marketing

Marketing your website or e-commerce page is key to generating traffic and increasing conversions. There are two main tools available online for marketing your website: Google AdWords and Social Media. Both offer companies creative solutions to their marketing needs and both put your website on your customers’ radar. But which is more effective, and for whom? Here, we at Thinkbound discuss the virtues of both and for which types of marketing goals they work best for. This is pay-per-click vs social media marketing.

Pay-Per-Click vs Social Media: Marketing with Google AdWords

The Google AdWords tool offers you a pay-per-click (PPC) advertisement at the top of your customer’s search engine results page. While other PPC companies exist, AdWords is the single most popular PPC advertising system in the world. The most used means it has the most support with likely the best results.

Companies using Google AdWords bid for a pay-per-click ad placement on Google’s sponsored links, specified according to the keywords searchers use, and often within a specific region. If, say, you have a printing company in Toronto, you might bid on the keyword “printing,” and aim to have your ad will appear at the top of the “printing” results page when searched for within the GTA.

It gets you in front of the proper target market (those searching the specified keyword relevant to your business), and you only pay for the advertising when a user clicks on the ad. This means you only pay when potential customers actually click to visit your website.

Google AdWords: Getting the top spot

There are many factors determining the sponsored links chosen for the top of a search engine’s results page. Factors like the quality and relevance of the keyword being searched, the size of your keyword bid, and your company’s AdRank will affect your ranking among those websites competing for the same keyword.

Choosing a relevant keyword to focus your bidding on requires a lot of research, and your keyword list must be constantly updated to reflect the current success of each keyword and what keywords are trending to get the best results. Once you’ve determined the group of keywords you like to target your pay-per-click campaign towards, then it is really a simple process of writing the ads (with keywords in mind) and setting them up on Google.

Google AdWords is effective because it connects you with customers who are already searching for your services. You end up at the top of search results with the ad, but only pay once you’ve converted a click, and by bidding on effective keywords, you can reveal yourself to the searchers most important to you: the ones who are looking to buy what you sell.

It’s an effective strategy, but whether you use it or not really depends on your marketing goals. So, with pay-per-click vs social media, is social media better than PPC?

Pay-Per-Click vs Social Media: Marketing on Social Media

We’ve already talked a lot about organic social media marketing using the features of Instagram business, but there are also paid-for (“sponsored”) options on Facebook and Instagram that will boost your posts and increase their engagement levels. This is a great option because Facebook allows you to choose who you want your posts to reach – whereas organic posts only reach those who are already following you. Sponsored posts on social media are optimized to reach your target market based on age, location, interests and more. You determine your budget (how much you would like to spend on any given post, and for how long); you determine who is going to see it; and you expand your reach to new potential customers doing so because sponsored posts go beyond your dedicated audience.

Facebook and Instagram business accounts provide additional tools that track the success of your sponsored posts, manage which platforms they are posted on, and optimize the ads based on peak times. The analytics tools provided here are excellent for testing various marketing strategies, and determining which yields the greatest results, allowing you to fine tune your campaigns, and get the most our of them.

While Social Media ads don’t tend to generate as many direct sales as AdWords, they do allow you to interact with your customers on platforms they are already using instead of relying on the customer to come to you when they search for your specified keywords. The engagement gained is authentic, building customer loyalty and brand awareness, which, in turn, can result in increased sales over the long-term.

Unlike PPC ads, with sponsored social media posts you set a daily or lifetime budget, and Facebook/Instagram calculates how many times your ad will run based on the amount you set. This is a good option for companies who want to test-run their ads and don’t want to fall into the pool of ads that you find with AdWords. So, with pay-per-click vs social media, is PPC better than social media?

Pay-Per-Click vs Social Media: Which is best for you?

Which marketing strategy is best really depends on what you intend to gain from your marketing campaign.

Google AdWords is an excellent great option for companies who want to direct traffic to their e-commerce site, and only want to pay when their ad is successful. Pay-per-click works well for direct sales, speaking to customers searching for what you are selling when they are searching for it. It’s direct sales, and works well to produce one-off sales (for seasonal businesses or businesses selling products that are not purchased on a regular basis – think a landscaping business, real estate, car sales, etc.).

For companies who want to engage with their customers on a more personal level, build a brand and loyal customer base, then social media is the correct option. The increased engagement on these platforms allow your company to express itself (its vision and values) to a targeted market, encouraging that market to identify with your company’s brand. If you are looking to gain repeat customers who will come back to you again and again, then social media is your best route (think food and beverage, clothing, etc.).

At Thinkbound, we are a team of thinkers, strategists, creatives, designers, writers, and coders who know how to make the digital world work for your business. We know what works best for who when faced with pay-per-click vs social media marketing decisions. We work closely with our clients so that we can understand who they are, where they are from, where they would like to go, and how best to get them there. We break through the boundaries that limit your business.

Call us today to find out what we can do for your digital marketing strategy!