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Digital Marketing - Organic vs Pay Per Click

Author : Dominic Parrillo
Feb 10, 2016

Digital marketing is essential to the success of many types of businesses, and if you're on the web, you need some form of marketing to make it worthwhile. For most businesses, it eventually comes down to the question of choosing organic marketing like content marketing and SEO, or choosing pay per click (PPC). While the correct answer is usually a strategic use of both, depending on your business, one or the other might be the best option for you.

While PPC and organic marketing each has its pros and cons, you can make decisions based on what you think is best for your business, or based on a professional consultation.

What is PPC and Why Should You Use It?

More than 80% of marketing on the web has revolved around PPC for the past 10 years.  PPC or Pay Per Click ads are advantageous because you pay each time someone clicks on the ad they go through to your landing page, product, website, or blog. Depending on how you've set the ad up, and what search term it came up under, you can turn this into a high conversion and high return marketing method. PPC offers high conversion, measurable ads, that offer guaranteed ROI if you have a decent marketing campaign. And if you’re not making anything off of your ads, you can cancel them.

Paid search, paid banner ads, and social media ads are all part of PPC, which comprises a huge, highly customizable, market. With modern targeting and customization, you can also create custom ads for individual areas, specific demographics, and (on Facebook) people who like specific things on their social media. For that reason, paid search can have a very high conversion rate, if you research and create a proper strategy. In fact, paid search converts at a 1.5x higher rate than SEO.

Banner ads also convert a lot, as do text ads, digital ads on Facebook, promoted posts, Instagram ads, and so on. According to Enquisite, you can make up to 45 times what you can with SEO with PPC. Conversely, you will be spending a lot more. The true strength of PPC is speed, because you don’t have to wait to rank, or wait for Google or Bing to decide that your site is worthwhile, you simply pay them to show you to customers, and you start making sales right away.

What is Organic Marketing and Why Should You Use It

If you just look at the number of clicks that organic media gets over search, you'd almost be tempted to believe that it's the higher quality of the two, but that isn't necessarily true. For example, while organic links get about 8.8 times more clicks than paid links, they don't convert as well, because they aren't as targeted or customizable. This means that people who click on your blog or landing page in search are less likely to make a purchase. But that's not the end of the story. PPC marketers may be taking home the large majority of traceable online sales, but organic marketing plays a much larger part in a brands reputation, sales, and business through long-term lead generation, customer service, brand awareness, and local searches.

What is organic marketing?

Content Marketing (Blogs, website, media, photos, how-to's, whitepapers)

Search marketing (website optimization, backlinking, creating content for search)

Social Media (Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram)

For example, in local searches, 78% of local searches resulted in a visit to a business. That's hard to ignore in terms of value. Considering that 50% of mobile searches for products or businesses are conducted in hopes of finding a product or business, search is incredibly valuable to small, local businesses, even if you don’t have a website.  

Social media also plays into organic marketing, and organic search, because people look up businesses online, interact with them on social, expect customer service through social media, and even look for reviews on social media sites.

Organic can also be much more valuable over time. Money spent on a search optimization strategy is an investment, because it will likely continue to perform for you two years into the future. PPC, on the other hand, will still cost you money each time you get a click. So, organic search can eventually cost you much less per sale or click than PPC, simply because you spend money once and keep seeing returns if the SEO is done well.

Organic isn't perfect, for example, social media and search engine optimization can each take a long time to have any payoff. With hundreds of even thousands of competitors in most niches, you have to plan your approach carefully, manage your online reputation, and invest a lot of time for organic marketing to pay off. It can take months or even years for a new website to get to the top of search organically in a busy niche. If you're aiming at local search, it's usually a lot faster and easier because you have less competition, but you still need a careful and persistent strategy to rank. Organic search costs significantly less than PPC, but it does require a larger time investment and consistent work.

What's the Best Option?

Organic content drives more traffic, PPC converts more. Both can be extremely worthwhile, but sometimes it depends on your product, and your market. A good digital marketing strategy should combine both organic and PPC, because they will both work together to create customers for your business. If you have a high conversion product that users can click on and buy right away, PPC is definitely the way to go. If you’re trying to drive local visitors to your brick and mortar business, you should definitely use organic search as well.

Are you interested in learning more about PPC, Organic Marketing, or finding out which is best for you? Contact Architechs for the Web (www.architechsfortheweb.com) and ask about our free site and marketing review.