Social Media Advertising vs Search Advertising, Which is Best for You?

Author : Architects for the Web
Dec 02, 2019

Blackboard showing how PPC = $Many people may not realize social media advertising and search advertising are two different styles of promoting your services and products. Both are equally effective at reaching your targetted audience, so how do you know which is best for your advertising campaign? Discover five questions you should be asking to find out where your advertising budget would be best spent online.

  1. Do you Have a Passive or Active Audience?
    You may be thinking this seems like an odd thing to ask. However, this may be the most important of all five questions. If your audience is actively searching for specific products or services you sell, then placing an ad based on those specific keywords using search engine advertising like Google Ads would be a more effective route to go. Then again, if you are more interested in showing your products in a slide show or video format to a passive audience that may not be presently looking to make a purchase, then social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are ideal methods of getting your promoted items in front of a potentially larger number of people.

  2. Are you Interested in Brand Awareness or Immediate Action?
    This brings us to the purpose of your advertising campaign. Let's say you would like to tell as many people as possible about a new product you sell or you would like to increase the association between certain products on the market and your brand name. With both of these goals, you are focusing more on building your brand than prompting immediate action. Therefore, using a Facebook ad or an Instagram ad may be more suited to your goal because people do not need to search for those products to learn about them or see your brand name and website connected with them. 

    On the other hand, if you are hoping to boost immediate sales with your advertising campaign, then a keyword-based ad using search engine advertising could be more effective in the short term. This is because, as stated above, you are setting your ad in front of an audience that is likely already looking to buy products matching those keywords. It may be helpful to think of your own online shopping habits. When you are looking for a product like pianos and you are unsure of where to go to buy that item, you probably will enter it by name into Google. This keyword search will return a number of listings for companies that sell pianos or talk about pianos in an article or video. At the top of those listed will be the companies that paid for their ads to be shown in front of users searching for the keyword "pianos". Unless you have a specific company in mind, you will likely click on one of those paid ads to find more information about their pianos. Plus, you will have Google reviews handy to learn more about what customers have to say about the company's products. At this point, you may be asking, "But, doesn't Facebook let you target an audience's interests? How is that different?"

  3. Is it Important to Appeal Your Audience's Interests?
    We're glad you asked. Audience interest and keyword searches are different in that one suggests viewers may be interested in products like the ones you sell where the other is placing your ad in front of a user who may be searching for your product to buy right now. This takes us back to your primary goal for your advertising campaign as you can target the interest of your audience using both social media platforms and search engines. Social Media Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow companies to select a viewership with a common age, gender, location, and interest. This is an excellent tool for introduction purposes if you are looking to attract people to your website who may not have heard about your company.

    Keep in mind, Google Ads will allow you to add audiences with specific interests in some of the campaign types. However, if your products are useful to everyone, such as with a pharmacy, and your goal is to drive active shoppers who fall into key demographics like age range and location to your website or store to boost immediate sales, then Google Ads would be a great choice of advertising formats. Conversely, if you are trying to tell people about your brand of non-toxic candles that may be sold in several pharmacies and a number of other stores, you may want to explore the social media ads and use related interests as a means of reaching your targeted audience.

  4. What is Your Budget? 
    Sometimes, it comes down to how much you want to spend. Luckily, both forms of advertising can reach a significant number of active users relatively inexpensively compared to other forms of marketing. If you want to start out with a smaller budget and your goal is to introduce your brand or products to more online users, we recommend using social media advertising since Google ads can be a bit more costly upfront. 

  5. Should you use Both?
    For those with a bit more padding in your marketing budget, using both forms of advertising is the perfect balanced solution to meet all your business advertising goals. By advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, you will have the chance to win over an audience that is already sharing and liking interesting ads. Then, jump over to Google Ads and utilize keywords to entice active shoppers to click on your website link to learn more about your products and where to buy them.

Of course, at the end of the day, you should see an increase in sales and brand awareness from both search engine campaigns and social media platform campaigns with any interesting and engaging ad that is correctly targetted. The ultimate decision comes down to how much you budgeted for the campaign, along with whether you are looking for improved sales or you would like to spread the word about your brand. If you would like more information on these great forms of advertising, fill out our form online or call us at (386) 951-4770 today for a free consultation.