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Which is Better for Your Business: Paid Search or Paid Social?

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Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is hands down one of the best ways to reach potential customers, build brand awareness and get them to buy your products or services. Over the years, platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads just keep improving their targeting, algorithms and everything else you need to succeed at PPC.

That being said, even mastering one PPC platform can be a challenge, and with the wide variety of options and opportunities available to you, it’s often hard to figure out where to focus your time, energy and budget.

This is especially true when you don’t have a dedicated marketing team to manage everything for you. Running a business is hard enough on it’s own without trying to juggle the demands of multiple PPC campaigns on multiple platforms.

So, if you can only pick one PPC advertising channel to focus on, which one should it be? Paid search? Or paid social?

While these aren’t your only options, they’re the two biggest ones in front of most businesses and understanding the differences between the two will help you identify the right marketing channel for your business. Once you know which channel you should be using, all you have to do is figure out which specific platform will be best for getting in front of your target audience.

With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at paid search, paid social and what makes them better suited to different business goals and needs.

Paid Search vs Paid Social

Before we can really talk about whether paid search or paid social is a better PPC channel for your business, we need to take a step back and talk about how each of these channels work. Both of these marketing channels target people in fundamentally different ways and understanding those difference is the key to figuring out which channel is right for you.

Paid Search

Paid search is a responsive type of advertising. A user types in a search query, the platform decides that your ad is relevant to that query and your ad shows up. Google Ads, Bing Ads, Yahoo and even Pinterest’s search ads all use this approach to deliver targeted, highly relevant ad content to users who are actively searching for that sort of content.

As a quick example, let’s imagine that you run a flower shop and you want to attract more wedding bouquet customers. If your campaigns are set up correctly, your ads should show up when someone searches on Google for “flowers for wedding”. Since your ad should be a good match for their needs, there’s a good chance that they’ll click your ad and hopefully make a purchase.

The key to paid search is the fact that it’s intent-based marketing. It’s great when you’re trying to market a product or service that people are actively searching for online. By the time they type in that search query, they’re already fairly low in the sales funnel, so all you have to do is convince them to buy from you…instead of the competition.

Paid Social

Paid social, on the other hand, is an intrusive type of advertising. Someone is checking out their social media feed, the platform determines that they meet your targeting criteria and shows your ad. Maybe they’re in the market for what you’re selling, maybe they’re not, but either way, they see your ad.

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When it comes to paid social, most people immediately think of Facebook Ads, but there are a lot of paid social platforms out there (Instagram Ads, YouTube Ads, Twitter Ads, Reddit Ads, etc), and they all work in the same basic way.

Now, the fact that paid social advertising is intrusive doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. Marketers have successfully used intrusive advertising for decades with things like billboards, radio ads or television commercials. Paid social is a lot like these tried-and-true marketing channels—with two caveats: targeting and tracking.

With a television commercial, you have only the loosest guesses as to who is seeing your ads or whether they are working. With paid social, however, you can get incredibly specific with who you target and then track how different audiences respond to your ads.

As a marketing channel, paid social ads are great for getting in front of audiences that might not otherwise find you online. Not everyone searches on Google for the solution to their problem—heck, your potential customers may not even be aware that they want or need your product!

For example, a friend of mine recently bought eucalyptus for her house because of an ad like this:

Prior to seeing these ads, she didn’t even know that she could buy fresh eucalyptus. It wasn’t on her radar until she saw the Facebook ad. But, once she discovered that this was something she could buy, she realized that it was something that she wanted to buy.

Whether you’re trying to build awareness for a product, a service or just your business in general, paid social is a great way to get onto your target audience’s radar—especially when you’re trying to sell something that most people might not actively seek out otherwise.

Which Channel is Right for You?

So, which is better for your business? Paid search? Or paid social? To be honest, they can both provide a lot of value to most businesses, but if funds and/or time are tight and you have to pick one, which channel should you prioritize?

The answer to that question is highly business-dependent. For certain goals and priorities, paid search is ideal. For others, paid social is the obvious choice. To help you figure out which channel is best for your business, let’s take a look at how paid social and paid search shake out in the following key areas: speed of results, cost and brand building.

Best for Speedy Results: Search

If you need sales now and sell something that meets a need are aware of and actively seek solutions for, paid search should be your go-to marketing channel.

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Because paid search targets the bottom-of-the-funnel, most people who click on your paid search ads are well on their way to making a purchase. If they don’t buy from you, there’s a good chance that they’ll buy from the competition.

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So, when you invest into paid search, the results are usually fairly quick. For example, when someone searches for an emergency plumber, it’s not a decision they’re going to sit and stew over. They need help now!

To make things even better, you can make your paid search ads very direct. Your audience is looking to buy, and they want you to help them choose the right solution to their problem by making as compelling of a case for your business as possible.

With paid social, however, things are a bit more tricky. You’re interrupting your audience and hoping that they’ll be interested enough to buy, but to be honest, most of the people who see your ads will need some time to warm up to your product, service or company before they make a purchase. My friend who bought the eucalyptus saw those ads quite a few times before she finally decided to buy.

Of course, if you’re selling an impulse buy or have a particularly affordable offer, paid social can produce speedy results, but that’s generally the exception, not the rule.

Best for Cost: Varies…

“Which is cheaper, Facebook Ads or Google Ads?” is a question I get quite a lot. And it makes sense. You want to get the best bang for your buck, so it’s natural to want to know which ad platform will produce the cheapest results.

The only problem is, there’s no easy answer to this question.

If all you care about is your cost-per-click, paid social is definitely “cheaper” than paid search. After all, paid search clicks are more targeted, lower in the funnel and more likely to “buy now”, so it makes sense that they would be more competitive and cost more.

However, even with paid search, cost-per-click has a huge range of variability. On Google Ads, you might pay $3.00 per click for a keyword like “ice cream shop”. For a keyword like “personal injury attorney”, however, you could be paying $80 per click.

In contrast, the average CPC for Facebook Ads is about $1.00. For a particularly competitive audience, you might pay as much as $3.00 a click. On the surface, that seems like a much cheaper way to go, but looks can be deceiving.

Remember, you don’t make money off of clicks. You make it off of sales.

Sure, you might only pay $1 a click on Facebook Ads, but if only 1-in-300 clicks produces a paying customer, you’re paying $300 per sale. A click on Google Ads might cost you $30, but because those clicks are higher-intent, it might only take 10 clicks to make a sale, so you’re still paying $300 per sale.

This is why it’s so hard to predict whether paid social or paid search will generate a better return-on-ad-spend. Both can be extremely profitable or prohibitively expense—or anything in between—so the differences in CPC shouldn’t be your primary criterion for choosing one channel over the other.

Best for Building Your Brand: Social

Getting quick results is great. Making a great return-on-investment is vital. But if you really want to grow your business, you need to do more than just optimize for the fastest, most profitable results.

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If you want your business to grow, you need to build your brand.

When it comes to building a brand, paid search really isn’t all that useful. Most people don’t type in a search query online because they’re looking for a brand to fall in love with. Their goal is to solve a problem, not to build a relationship.

Paid social, on the other hand, really shines in this area. I mean, the whole point of social media is to build relationships. When people hop onto Facebook or Instagram, they’re not thinking about buying a new blender, they’re looking for connection: connection with people, connection with influencers…and even connection with brands.

So, if you want to build awareness and get people to buy into your company’s vision and brand story, there’s no better place to do it than social media.

Need to generate a buzz about your new product? Paid social is the way to go. Want to be the first company a potential client thinks of when they need help? Get in front of them with paid social. Looking for ways to work people through your marketing funnel? Paid social just might be your best bet.

With paid social, you can get people ready to buy, and more specifically…ready to buy from you. If people know your business and believe in what you do and sell, they won’t need to hop on Google and search around for a solution—they’ve already got you.

Best for You?

So, is paid search or paid social better for your business? Hopefully, at this point, you should have a good sense for the differences between the two channels and where their strengths and weaknesses lie.

To be honest, the right primary PPC channel for your business will depend on what you’re selling, how your business works, who you’re targeting and what you’re trying to accomplish. As a general rule, though, paid search is better for quick sales and paid social is better for long-term branding—although you can do both with either channel.

The best play, of course, is to integrate the two. For example, if you need sales now, you can set up a solid paid search strategy to get people onto your website. Then, for the people who don’t buy right away, you can use social media advertising to retarget them and bring them back. Simultaneously, you can start to build out brand awareness campaigns on social media that fill your marketing funnel for the future, ensuring that your business will grow and thrive over time.

In the end, the best PPC approach is the one that delivers the results your business needs…now, tomorrow, and for years to come.


Author: Jake Baadsgaard

Follow @disruptiveads

Jacob Baadsgaard is the CEO of Disruptive Advertising. He is a passionate digital marketer and entrepreneur with 7 years of enterprise digital marketing experience. He personally managed over 40 million dollars in annual marketing budget and consulted many of the Inc. 100 companies while at Adobe, including groups like: GE,… View full profile ›


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5 Reasons You Should Start Using Influencers to Create Content for You

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5 Reasons You Should Start Using Influencers to Create Content for You


Imagine spending 3, 5, 7, 10 years creating content about topics you love out of pure passion. Working through decision fatigue on what to create, what platform to focus on building, and not knowing the latest marketing monetization strategies to actually make money. Only creating from a place of inspiration because you care and have a message to share for years before making a dime. The dedication and consistency is what builds audiences that LOVE your media channels, listening, watching, liking, and sharing your content on a regular basis. That’s what majority of influencers have done to build their channels. 

So why work with influencers to create content for you: 

Reason #1: Audience  

If you are looking to break into a new audience and build brand awareness working with an influencer is a good path to explore. An influencer knows it’s audience better than any SEO search so they know what content to create that will motivate, inspire, and trigger to get a response. They’ve built trust through years of content creation and testing out new ideas to engage their audience.    

Reason #2: Creative 

When you find the right influencer to work with they can be an extension to your business adding to the creative content department. Creative content is a pain point in a lot businesses and why organizations for years have paid big buck to marketing agencies to take this off their hands to make the commercial, promo video, and ads. When you have someone who’s outside of the organization, who’s built an audience, and can play in their strength it will be an added value to any brand and business.  

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Reason #3: Dynamic 

It’s not just any content that’s being created from influencers, it’s dynamic! Ideally, working with an influencer they are coming to the table with ideas for videos, social media, and ad content that will seamlessly incorporate the brand into their audience. Since they know their audience best let them lead this conversation and find a common working ground to let them move forward on their ideas. This type of content is the win-win-win for the brand, the audience, and the influencer’s media channels. 

Reason #4: Consistency 

Consistent content with any media channel is key to creating brand awareness for a business. When you have an influencer who’s outside of the organization not distracted by the day to day operations of a company, leaving them to create consistent dynamic content is something most brands didn’t even know they needed. 

Reason #5: Strategic 

It’s a strategic move for an organization to outsource content creation to an influencer who’s put in the creative work to build an audience. It’s an immediate traffic source to tap into and create brand awareness. There’s an opportunity to put paid marketing dollars behind the content and boost it’s engagement creating more opportunity for a brand. 

On average it takes a person 5-7 impressions to link a brand’s logo to the company. Add in another 7 impressions for them to remember it in the abyss of brands that are being marketed to them daily. When you work with an influencer to create dynamic consistent content you’re increasing your odds of your brand being recognized faster and identified by a trusted source. Good luck on your road to content creation with influencers!   

Valerie Viramontes

Valerie Viramontes is a purpose-driven entrepreneur, women’s and girls empowerment leader, conscious marketing expert, media strategist, and founder of V2 Solutions & Girl Hacks.

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Valerie created her boutique agency specializing in product launches and sponsorships for health conscious podcasters, influencers, and wellness companies. She uses her experience to create win-win-win deals for her clients, brands, and audiences. This has put her behind launches of companies and products with sales into the millions working with brands like Spartan Races, Barbell Shurgged, The Strong Coach, Complete Human and so many more! 

In Valerie’s free time she is a catalyst to remind young women of their inherent wisdom, intuition and power, and guide them to access the confidence within to make healthy choices in their lives. Add in hiking, dancing, reading, exploring new places to eat and she’s in her happy place!



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Data and privacy concerns grow among consumers

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Data and privacy concerns grow among consumers


Consumers are showing greater concern over how data is gathered online and in apps and smart devices, according to a new study by GroupM, the media investment arm of WPP. The research was conducted in December by GroupM’s Audience Origin (formerly LivePanel) and included 1,000 U.S. consumers.

The findings indicated a decline in the number of consumers who feel comfortable sharing their data on health tracker apps or to allow smart home devices to automatically order refills for household items.

Sharing info. Over three quarters (77%) of respondents strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement: “I worry about how companies use my personal data online.” This was up from 72% in last year’s report.

Also, only a small percentage of consumers believe that the company who makes a device in the home, or its software, should have access to the data. That number is 5.4% in the current study, down from 6.9% in the previous one.

Read more: Predictions 2022: Data strategy and privacy

New tech. Consumers are less enamored with new technology in their house. Only 51% of respondents in the survey agreed with the statement: “It’s important my household is equipped with the latest technology.” The survey the previous year had 54% agree.

Also, 32% somewhat or completely agreed that new tech “confuses me,” up from 28% the year before.

Why we care. In this study, the numbers appear to be consistently in the 5% range for drop in consumer sentiment around privacy, data and new technology.

It’s not a massive drop, but it’s not nothing either. Individual brands can overcome this barrier by managing a better conversation with their customers about their privacy and data practices.

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Take, for instance, the wide disparity in the way email subscriptions are managed. Some brands offer a one-click unsubscribe, while others hide the option behind a number of additional screens and questions. Marketers can cut through with transparency, and the ones that do will be ahead of the game as privacy law catches up in the states.

About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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Trending in Marketing: Content Marketing Trends to Carry You Through 2022

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Trending in Marketing: What Trends Are Coming in 2022


  1. We all know that women stereotypically shop more, but what about men? 75% of men are planning to spend more in 2022, Pinterest explains their study on why.
  2. Vertical scrolling is a feature on almost every social media platform, it’s what the common consumer is most familiar with. Instagram plans on taking their story feed vertical as well, giving the app a more “TikTok feel.”
  3. The graphic design niche isn’t for everyone, it’s hard to keep up with what’s what in the field. Here are 12 upcoming graphic design trends to keep you at the top of your game all 2022.
  4. The rules of SEO seem to change more than the Instagram algorithm, making it feel more like there are no rules at all. Could there be a “Best Word Count for SEO?”



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