The world of digital marketing is in constant flux. With internet trends rising and falling so quickly we can barely keep up, it can be tempting to try and stay ten steps ahead of the curve with your marketing efforts.
Should you be ditching tried and tested strategies to remain relevant in a world with a revolving door of digital fads and memes?
Is it better to trust the staying power of what you know, knowing that this week’s trend will be inevitably recycled for something else by the next business day?
The answer isn’t nearly so black and white. Classic approaches to marketing, such as paid search ads, are classic for a reason. But in a world where the human attention span can only deal with 3-second TikTok videos, it may not be enough on its own anymore.
So does the answer lay in social media? Keep reading to find out.
What is paid media marketing?
Paid Media is a method to promote your brand through sponsored placement.
In simple terms, businesses purchase ad space to showcase their products or services. Paid media differs from earned and owned media, as with these strategies, a company doesn’t pay to put their content in front of the audience.
Earned & owned media channels are still investments of time and money; however, they use different platforms to show your brand.
What are examples of paid media?
- Search Ads: A search ad is a type of Google ad. If you use search ads, Google will show your company’s ad to potential customers searching for related industries, products or services.
It uses pay-per-click payment, meaning you only pay once someone clicks on your ad.
- Social Ads: Social media ads appear on the target audience’s social media feed. A marketer inputs the details of the target market to whom they would like to show the ad.
With social ads, you input your campaign’s budget and then pick the bidding strategy.
Paid search vs paid social: what’s the difference?
One of the core differences between Google Ads and social media ads is how users can be targeted. Depending on your campaign type, Google ads allow different ways of targeting users.
For example, when using classic search ads, you can target users by inputting the keywords potential customers are likely to use.
Social media ads, however, don’t use keywords to target users. This blog focuses on Facebook and Instagram ads (also known as Meta ads); however, many social media platforms have similar parameters for ad targeting.
When targeting users on social media, you input key demographic information regarding your target audience instead of using keywords.
Audience Targeting in Paid Search Campaigns
Because paid search and paid social ads use different methods for targeting users, marketers will be working with users at opposite stages of the customer journey.
Users who search for a product or service have already shown interest. They are already aware of the products or services in your industry and are evaluating their options.
Because they’re already aware of and interested in your product, these customers are in the consideration stage of their customer journey.
Social Media Targeting
Unlike search ads, when social media ads are presented to users, they show up without any intention from potential customers.
Marketers put demographic information into ad sets, assuming that the audience which fits these demographics might be interested in the product or service.
As they are yet to learn about these products or services, these users are in the awareness stage. They haven’t taken action that prompts your ad to be shown to them.
In short, Google lets you find new customers, while social media and Facebook ads let new customers find you.
Understanding the Consumer Decision Making Process
Here is a question to answer that will help you decide which advertising platform would be the best for your business:
At what stage of the Customer Decision Making Process were your existing clients?
What is the consumer decision making process?
- Problem Recognition: the user recognizes they have a need for a certain product or service
- Information Search: The user goes online to look for relevant details and information
- Alternatives Search: Having found several options that may suit their needs, the user weighs their options to find the best fit.
- Purchase: Having evaluated their options, the user makes their purchase.
- Post-Purchase Evaluation: Afterwards, the user considers the purchase they made. How was their experience, does the product live up to their expectations?
This stage is important for determining whether or not they will likely be a repeat customer.
Your past marketing data is a vital part of digital marketing strategy creation. Take a look at your existing clients and think at what stage they have been once they found your business.
Did they know why they needed your product? Have they seen your competitors’ products? Did you have to explain to them how your product can make their life better?
This question will allow you to find a better approach to proposing your value.
If your product is somewhere far in the hierarchy of needs, meaning you have to showcase its abilities of it to create a need in human minds, then it is better to target a potential target audience (Facebook ads) than using keywords (Google search ads).
A good example is the female apparel industry advertisement.
There is no way a woman would wake up thinking she needs a skirt with hidden shorts with a big pocket on the right side and a V-shape cut on top! In this case, targeting an audience with specific demographic details with a video ad format would be ideal.
By using social media ads, a marketer can create videos that showcase how that product can cover the needs of the specific target audience.
This approach will give a much higher return on marketing investment and will put potential clients in the problem recognition stage of the decision process.
If existing clients came to you with specific requirements or they were at a specific life point once they needed your product, then using search ads could be much more beneficial.
An example of this case is a junk removal service. A potential customer has already recognized a need in your service and is now on the Information search/ Alternatives Search stage.
Any demographic can use junk removal services, so setting up a target audience would be harder while keyword research can be easily done in this situation.
Therefore, using Google search Ads would be a good option.
Displaying your ads on Facebook is a great way to get your product or service in front of many eyes. It is a valuable tool to increase awareness and create need recognition. However, it has lower intent traffic as the ad appears by itself.
Google search Ads, on the other hand, can bring better return on marketing investment if your potential customers are in the Alternatives search phase.
It is used with higher intent customers; therefore, it usually has higher conversion rates. By creating a specific keyword list that is narrow (exact and phrase match), a marketer can lead those customers to purchase. In addition, using the right bidding strategy can help you win!
The Future of Search and Social
To sum up, social media and google search ads should not be “VS”, but “+”.
by using those platforms in complementary ways, you can test the waters before you fully jump in.
A good tactic in complementary usage of those platforms is starting with Google Search ads with a conversion tracking set up on a specific landing page.
Because Search has higher intent, you are investing in the right audience. Then, after creating Search ads and landing pages, you can estimate the campaign’s conversion rate.
If the conversion rate is not satisfying, Facebook retargeting ads will increase it. All you have to do is to retarget people who clicked on Google Ad and visited your landing page but didn’t make a purchase using Facebook ads. This one of a lot of ways to combine the platforms without overspending.