Paid Search vs. Paid Social – Which One You Should Use

Nowadays, well-prepared paid advertisements are indispensable to highlight among the competition. And although this task may look easy, there are several options to choose from. The main doubt comes when deciding between paid search advertising and paid social ads.

Each technique has advantages to help you reach the target audience and achieve your main objectives, whether to increase sales or anything else. But for choosing the best option, knowing these advantages and when to use each kind is vital.

If you’re struggling to choose the right one for your business or don’t know the difference between them, don’t worry. This article is for you.

We will show you the main aspects of paid search ads and paid social ads so you know how each one can impact your business. Make sure o take a look at all aspects, and you’ll be able to create perfect marketing campaigns and achieve your business goals.

What Is a Paid Search Ad

illustration of a laptop displaying multiple paid ads along with a magnifying glass showing the word search

As you might expect, paid search campaigns, also called PPC ads, are those “sponsored” advertisements at the top of search engine result pages. It can feature numerous ad formats, including videos, copy, and other options.

When creating a marketing strategy for the search engine results page, you can choose between numerous goals, and the platform can automatically set up the best options for you. Once the potential customers click on your ad, they will be automatically redirected to the provided landing page.

What Is the Most Used Paid Search Platform

image of a laptop displaying Google Ads' logo

When it comes to announcing in search engine results pages, there is no doubt Google Ads is the best option for your business. Google is the most used search platform in the world, connecting your brand with billions of users actively searching every year.

Not only that, but Google’s solution goes beyond just search results. The platform supports video ads, map ads, and many other formats throughout the company’s apps.

It is one of the best options for digital marketing campaigns regardless of what you’re advertising. This applies not only to your PPC efforts but also to your SEO strategies and the organic search results.

Advantages of Using Paid Search

screenshot from a google search results page showing multiple ads

There are several reasons why paid search is one of the best options for advertising your business, regardless of your objective. Here are some of the main ones:

Vast Audience

According to Google, the platform has over a billion active users of all ages, regions, etc. This makes it the perfect platform if you want to create a target demographic profile.

If you want to display your advertisements and marketing actions to the most significant number of users possible, PPC on Google is your best option. The platform also offers numerous tools to ensure you reach the targeted audience optimally and without wasting resources.

Format Diversity

Even though most search ads are ad copy and simple texts, Google Ads allows a variety of formats and platforms for digital advertising. Google’s search engine queries correspond to more than 80% of all searches done worldwide, but it is not the only option available.

Google Ads allows you to target customers on a variety of platforms, including:

  • Google Search Engine
  • YouTube
  • Google Maps
  • Google Discovery Tab
  • Gmail

Whether your objective is to increase online visibility or simply target consumers with text-based ads, there is always a platform designed especially for your needs.

Google Adwords Tools

Another great advantage of paid search, especially search engine marketing on Google, is the tools provided for you to keep track of results and other relevant information for your campaign. For example, if you want to measure which keywords perform better on the search results page, you can use numerous tools, including one provided by Google. This makes the marketing efforts much easier and can drastically reduce the necessary budget for every ad spend you have.

Keyword research drives paid search and makes engaging ads, whether shopping ads or simple visual ads, on the right corner of the results page. These tools can be your best friends if you want the best results possible and reduce your cost-per-click.

What Is Paid Social Advertising

image of a cellphone displaying an Instagram feed along with money bills coming out of it

While paid search regards paid advertisements inserted in web browsers and other searching tools, paid social refers to any paid social media advertising throughout the multiple platforms available. Both paid search and paid social also “compete” with organic results. Here, the social media users see organic content through the profiles they follow, while the paid social media ads appear as “sponsored.” Unlike Google SERP, the social media networks don’t necessarily display the ad at the top, and they are mixed with organic content. This makes it look more natural and eye-catching.

While in search engines, the user “seeks” the content they want to see, on social media, they can appear spontaneously for the users based on who they follow. This makes it much easier to directly approach the target users based on who they follow. For example, if a user follows your main competitor, it might be a good strategy to display your paid social ads to them.

Advantages of Using a Paid Social Ad

illustration of a megaphone along with icons of multiple social media platforms

Just like when doing paid search ads, the paid social technique has unique advantages, making it the perfect option for many business owners. Understanding them is vital to know how to get the best out of the chosen social media platform.

Here are the main advantages of using paid social media ads:

Variety of Social Media Platforms

While in paid search, where more than 80% of all searches done throughout the internet happen on Google, here it is quite the opposite, with numerous platforms evenly used by the audience. This can be either a positive or negative aspect. The good thing is that you have various options for making paid social advertisements, whether in formats or platforms.

On the other hand, it can be harder to reach your target audiences since it can be segmented throughout different platforms. While in Google, you have all of your audience at the same place, on paid social, users search for your product or service in multiple places simultaneously.

Targeting Ability

It might be harder to reach a big portion of the target audience with only one social media platform, but paid social allows you to specify which users you want to achieve. Facebook ads and other platforms have numerous filtering options when selecting which users will see your ads. With this, every time your ad appears in the user’s social media feed, the chances of making them click it are way higher.

You can create custom audiences much more easily and precisely than with paid search. One of the key differences between search engines and social media is that, while on Google and other search engines, the customers go after you and your product, here you go after the customers.

Visual Ads Integration

Since social media platforms consist mainly of visual elements, it is natural that ads featuring images and videos will look more natural in the feeds as well. When the user searches for a specific keyword on Google and an image is displayed, it is clear that it is an advertisement. Businesses pay for displaying images on Google, and appearing at the top highlights it even more from the rest of the content.

On the other hand, images and videos blend perfectly on platforms like Instagram and Twitter, being more visually attractive and preventing ad fatigue. If you want to show your product or create visual pieces that highlight the qualities of your product, paid social might be the perfect option.

Paid Social vs. Paid Search – Which One to Choose?

image showing different paid marketing strategies

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to which strategy to use. Everything will depend on what you want to achieve, the type of business you’re marketing, and where your audience is. 

If you’re planning to create visually stunning pieces, it is recommended to use paid social since they can perfectly blend with the remaining content in the user’s feed. On the other hand, if you’re advertising game development services, it might be better to use paid search since users needing this service will look for you.

The perfect strategy will depend directly on you and what you want to achieve. Remember that you can also work with both platforms simultaneously, which is one of the best options if you want to increase brand awareness. 

By appearing on both SERPs and social media feeds, you increase lead generation and gather more traffic to your website. But to decide if this is the right strategy for your business objectives, you need to understand your target audience and where they are.

Difference Between PPC and SEO

image comparing SEO and PPC with icons illustrating each one

In case you don’t know the difference between paid and organic ads, here is a quick explanation: PPC, or pay-per-click, regards paid search actions, where your ads appear at the top of the search results for selected keywords and terms to reach potential customers. It is one of the best ways to reach users looking for a product or service.

On the other hand, SEO doesn’t use paid search and works with organic search and web traffic. The main objective is to create strategies to help your website rank better at Google or any other search engine. The better you rank, the more likely you appear first on the results pages.

The main difference between paid search and SEO is that the first one has an instantaneous effect, while the second one takes time to develop and might take months until you see the results. On the other hand, its effectiveness is long-lasting, while with paid ads, you need to constantly spend the budget to keep appearing at SERPs.

Why Hiring a Professional Agency Is the Best Option

image from GamerSEO showing the multiple services provided by the company

Both social and paid search are valuable techniques that can help your business grow significantly, but to achieve the campaign’s objectives, it is vital to plan everything correctly. Learning how to do these campaigns and create a solid strategy is not an easy task, so hiring a professional company to do them is recommended.

At GamerSEO, we have the best professionals with years of experience in the marketing area. Whether you want to attract more consumers to your website or create a strategy to reach a specific audience, we have the perfect plan for you. 

Join the GamerSEO family, and together, we can create strategies that aim directly at your goals. Let’s create quality marketing to make your company reach another level and highlight among the competition.

Conclusion on Paid Search vs. Paid Social

image comparing paid social and paid search with an illustration for each option

No doubt, both paid search and paid social are valuable strategies that can make a business grow significantly in recognition and revenue. Each option has advantages and features to help business owners create solid brands.

But everything needs to be carefully considered and planned to achieve these objectives. Details like where your target audience is located and what type of asset you’ll use make a total difference in the performance of your marketing efforts.

Now that you know everything about paid digital marketing, it is time to choose which strategy to go with. Remember that you can always use both simultaneously. This way, you’ll make your business skyrocket in sales and lead generation.

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