Content Marketing vs. PPC: Which Should You Turn To for a Better ROI?

Content Marketing vs. PPC: Which Should You Turn To for a Better ROI?

Businesses rely on a strong marketing strategy to funnel web traffic and increase sales, and several effective strategies exist to help achieve this. Content marketing and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are the two most popular strategies. 

Today, up to 73% of B2B and 70% of B2C marketers utilize content marketing as a part of their overall strategy. Moreover, 29% of marketers say their content marketing has been extremely or very successful within the past twelve months. PPC has also become a popular digital marketing method, with search advertising spending expected to reach $190.5 billion by the end of 2024. 

Both strategies have proven viable means of attracting consumers and improving revenue, but how do you know which is best for your bottom line? This article will expand on each to help you decide which will be worth your investment.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing uses content to create an audience and drive interest in a specific topic. What that content is will vary from business to business and platform to platform. Generally, content can be things like articles, videos, podcasts, or other forms of media. Content marketing typically focuses on creating and keeping a loyal audience.

Source: Shutterstock

Pros of Content Marketing

Loyalty

Since content marketing focuses on building an audience, there is a sense of brand loyalty that comes along with it. This loyalty makes readers more likely to return for products, services, and content. 

Additionally, consumers tend to share their thoughts about brands with friends, family members, and social media followers. Keep in mind: news about your reputation will spread quickly.

It’s a Place for Advertisements

One way to offset the cost of content creation is to use advertising on the platform you use to host your media. These might include embedded ads on your web pages, sponsorships, or pre-roll ads like those you see on YouTube videos. Running a YouTube channel is one of the best strategies for making passive income online, but you will have to check with each platform to see if you qualify for monetization. 

Branding

Effective content will showcase your brand and make it more recognizable to your audience. Your colours, fonts, tone, and more should all be present in your materials so that when an audience member visits your website or sees an ad from your brand, they can quickly and easily recognize it. 

Cons of Content Marketing

Upfront Investment

Although social media platforms are free to use, you must account for the cost of content production and, if applicable, a web domain. That being said, most web domains are very inexpensive too, with the average cost being between $10 to $15 per year. 

Articles typically cost less to produce since many writers already have access to a computer and the Internet. Visual media, on the other hand, requires specific devices like audio recorders, cameras, and editing software. Additionally, there are pre and post-production costs like script writing, set/location prep, and editing. 

Time-Consuming

Quality content takes time to create, edit, and distribute. Your media and platform of choice will also impact the time it takes to gain visibility. 

You Need Knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

To ensure your materials are seen, you will need to know about SEO, a process used to improve the rankings of your content in search engine results. There are several ways to enhance your content ranking. Some techniques include adding keywords, developing your brand as reliable and trustworthy through consistent and high-quality materials, and topic relevance to your ideal audience.

Example of Content Marketing

Social media is a key way modern people interact with the world. There are thousands of content marketing creators found all over social media. Innovative Dental – Cosmetic & Implant Center is a YouTube channel with a dentist as the owner. This channel focuses on educational and workstyle content to promote their practice. 

Audience members can gain a sense of trust and knowledge as they watch their videos. This means they are already familiar with a dentist and their work, and the education they receive makes them better able to understand adequate care. 

Social media is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies that dental clinics can use because it enables a clinic to make direct, personal connections with their patients in this way. For their followers specifically, Innovative Dental is more likely to come to mind when they need to see a dentist because there is already some rapport built through viewership. 

Success Tip

As mentioned above, media can be time-consuming to produce, so it is paramount to use your time wisely. In the case of content creation, this can manifest in several ways. 

One main tip is to schedule your time, which will aid you with time management and prevent you from spending too much time on content creation. You should know when to brainstorm, produce, and post the media you create. Remember, discovering your ideal and most productive work pattern may take a few weeks. 

What Is PPC?

PPC, or pay-per-click advertising, is a digital marketing strategy in which businesses are charged per click they receive on an advertisement. This can be a fairly straightforward process, but each platform will have its nuances to how PPC ads operate. These advertisements typically focus on consumers who are ready to make a purchase and, in some cases, are already familiar with a product.

Source: Shutterstock

Pros of PPC

Little to No Upfront Cost

There is little to no upfront cost to PPC ads, so there is less of a barrier to entry. If there is any cost, it comes from ad creation, as you need some materials ready to post. With a good sales funnel, most clicks should generate a sale, and therefore, the cost per click should be worked into the cost of a product or service to ensure its expense is covered.

Targets Buyers Who Are Ready To Purchase

There are some exceptions to this rule, but PPC ads typically focus on those ready to buy a product or service. PPC ads within search engines will appear on related searches to consumer inquiries, leading to more traffic and sales.  

Cons of PPC

Highly Competitive

Many advertisers have noticed the convenience and low cost of using PPC ads. For this reason, there is a lot of competition to ensure your ad is selected as the one that appears. Platforms offset this by running auctions and bids. High-demand areas may lead to higher bids and higher cost per click, but those in low demand may not garner enough traffic to offset the cost. It takes a while to develop and hone the right strategy for optimal return on investment. 

Potential To Be Ignored

Search engines are required to label sponsored links/ads as such. As a consumer, it can be difficult to distinguish the quality of a product/service based on an advertisement. Or the ad may be irrelevant to the individual, so they may choose to ignore the ad completely.

Example of PPC

Google is the top search engine, with over 63,000 searches per second. Due to its vast reach, Google Ads is a practical and profitable platform for PPC marketing. When you run ads through Google’s PPC method, your results will appear at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). 

Other platforms that offer pay-per-click include Bing and Facebook. Remember that Facebook is a social media platform, so your ads will appear along users’ feeds instead of via a SERP. 

Success Tip

Use A/B testing to select the PPC ads and bids that generate the most sales. This is a testing strategy in which two (or more) different ad campaigns are launched simultaneously. Viewers will see one of the ad types. Analysts can then review how each one performs. Once it is clear which ad is more effective at generating leads and sales, the other one can be discarded. 

This testing strategy is so popular that in 2020 Facebook Ads rolled out an experiment tab in the ads manager to look at the metrics of A/B tests. 

How To Decide Which Strategy Is Right for Your Company?

Ultimately, the decision between the two is up to you. Both take time to establish a reliable ROI, so it is important to set a budget and stick to it as you progress.

Pay-per-click has little to no cost to begin, but you will have to bid for your cost and slot. Too high of a bid without the revenue to cover these costs will quickly run through your budget, but too low of a bid will prevent you from improving traffic and sales to your site. 

On the other hand, there is content creation. This form of marketing usually has upfront costs, which can be reduced through various strategies like filming on your phone instead of the newest camera. Unfortunately, the ROI is a long-term game because it takes time to cultivate and grow an audience. 

Once an audience is established, you will begin to see an increase in revenue as leads and sales come from your audience rather than those unfamiliar with your brand. What’s more, you can eventually monetize your content, which will offset the cost of creation, so sales from content creation will eventually have a higher profit margin. 

Additionally, you will need to consider your ideal audience. A well-timed ad engages buyers and increases sales, but it is also difficult to land perfect timing in a highly competitive landscape. It is also hard to gauge whether these are cold sales or ones that have been primed for your products and services. Consumers may be ready to buy, but it will not always be from you. 

After establishing an audience with content marketing, your readers are already primed to purchase from you. This can create a strong sense of loyalty, making viewers more likely to purchase from you than your competitors. Nevertheless, a bad PR team or major controversy can ruin your reputation and cause your audience and sales to plummet. 

Final Thoughts

Content marketing and pay-per-click both have an established role in online marketing, and both have pros and cons. Also, your strategy may change over time or become a combination of methods. Regardless of your path, TechWyse Internet Marketing offers several resources and services to help you navigate your decision. To get started, call (416)-410-7090 or contact us here.

Post By Shanice Jones (11 Posts)

Shanice Jones is a techy nerd and copywriter from Chicago. For the last five years, she has helped over 20 startups build B2C and B2B content strategies that have allowed them to scale their business and help users worldwide.

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