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Paid Ads vs. Organic Social Media Campaigns: The Pros and Cons of Each

Candace Boren
|
June 10, 2022

As a marketer, you know that paid ads and organic social media traffic are both valuable. But how much effort and resources should you put into each? In this article, we'll explore the pros and cons of each campaign type to help you make smart choices. We'll also offer tips on how to measure the success of your campaigns. Read on to learn more. 

What are paid ads, and what are they used for? 

Paid ads are one of the most popular online marketing strategies for people and businesses to get their message out and drive traffic through their sales funnels. 

There are many types of paid ads, but the most common are pay-per-click (PPC) ads. As the name implies, the advertiser pays each time someone clicks on their ad.

Paid ads can be a great way to get your brand in front of an audience that’s already interested in what you have to offer. Since you're only paying for results (clicks), it can be a very cost-effective way to market your business.

Benefits of Using Paid Ads

  • One of the biggest advantages of using paid ads is that they can quickly provide results. Unlike building followers through creating content and relying on SEO, which can take months to bring results, you can start seeing traffic from your paid ads almost immediately.
  • Customers like them and respond well to them: especially social ads that feel native to the social media feed. Facebook advertising has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last few years and has many options for detailed audience targeting.
  • In general, people like seeing ads that are targeted to their interests, and they're more likely to click on them.
  • You can track and measure results: When you're running a paid ad campaign, you can track how many people are seeing your ad, how many are clicking on it, and what they do after they click through to your website. This information is invaluable in helping you to fine-tune your marketing strategy and optimize your campaigns.
  • Paid ads can reach a large audience. For example, with Facebook Ads you can set your ad to appear to people in a certain geographic area.

Paid ads can generate a lot of traffic quickly and easily. Simply create the campaign, choose where you want it to show, and make it live.

Drawbacks of Using Paid Ads

  • One of the biggest drawbacks of using paid ads is that they can be costly, especially if you're in a competitive market. The cost-per-click (CPC) can be high. You might also need to spend a lot of money on your ad campaign before seeing results. For example, the more your ads are served to potential buyers, the more data Facebook is able to collect. More data leads to better targeting and higher conversion rates down the line, but conversion rates may not be great starting out. 
  • Campaigns need to be constantly monitored and adjusted to be effective. You need to keep an eye on your CPC and cost per action and ensure you're getting the results you want. If not, you may need to re-evaluate your strategy.
  • Some people find paid ads to be disruptive and annoying. Paid ads have the disadvantage of being seen as a form of spam, and some may be less likely to trust your brand as a result.

What is Organic Social Media Traffic?

Organic social media traffic, on the other hand, is driven by unpaid posts, stories, and blogs, etc. that appear on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Organic social media content can be a great way to increase brand awareness and build relationships with potential customers. It’s also less disruptive than paid ads.

Example of a paid ad on Facebook. (Image Source)

Benefits of Targeting Organic Social Media Traffic

  • The most obvious benefit of targeting organic traffic through social media is that it’s free. You don't have to pay for each click or impression as with paid ads.
  • Organic traffic is also more likely to convert than paid traffic. This is because people who find your business organically may be further along in the buyer’s journey; they're actively searching for information related to your business, product, or service.
  • Organic social media marketing campaigns are more sustainable in the long run than paid ads. Once you build a following, you'll continue to get organic traffic as long as you maintain the quality of your content. This is not the case with paid ads, which need to be continuously paid for.

Drawbacks of Relying on Organic Social Media Campaigns

  • Organic traffic can be slow to build: One of the biggest drawbacks of relying on organic social media content is that it takes time to create quality content and build a following, and you may not get much traffic until you do so.
  • To get the most out of organic social media content, you need to pair it with investing time and resources into search engine optimization (SEO). This includes keyword research, link building, and content marketing. The same principles that make your content valuable to search engines also make it valuable on social media, which in turn drives more traffic to your site and signals to search engines that your content is useful.

Organic Content vs Paid Ads: Which is Better for Your Business?

The answer depends on your business goals and objectives. If you're looking for a quick way to increase brand awareness or generate leads, paid ads may be the way to go. However, if you're interested in sustainable, long-term growth, organic ads are probably a better option. There’s a good chance that your business would benefit from both, but the relative resources you invest in each strategy can be assessed by looking at the pros and cons of each one.

Both options have their pros and cons:

  • Both require ongoing management and optimization: Otherwise, your return on investment could be negative.
  • Paid ads offer consistent and reliable returns: Since paid ads get more impressions from potential new buyers, they generally perform better than organic results.
  • Organic content is free (aside from the time it takes to create, post, and manage it). 
  • Paid ads can be disruptive: Ads can be intrusive and may put potential customers off your brand.

In the end, if you’re not sure where to start, try experimenting with both paid and organic social media campaigns to see what works best for you.

Image Source 

How to Measure the Success or Failure of Each Type of Campaign

An analytics program is needed to determine whether specific content from your organic social media campaign is performing well and the ROI you’re getting compared to your paid ads. To work out the best formula for how to divide your resources, use a combination of ad spend and organic content and analyze the results. The best way to do this is using an ad management platform like MarinOne. With MarinOne, you can see all your campaigns in one place, including performance data for both organic social media content and paid ad campaigns. This makes it easy to track the success of your organic and paid ad campaigns and compare the two side-by-side.

5 Quick Tips for Implementing a Successful Campaign With Both Types of Advertisements

  1. Identify your goals before running a campaign. This will help you determine which type of ad is best suited to your needs.
  2. Define your target audience. This helps to ensure you're targeting relevant users and not wasting ad spend on a demographic uninterested in your product or service.
  3. Budget for both paid and organic campaigns. Don't put all your eggs in one basket—a mix of both can lead to the best results.
  4. Monitor your campaigns regularly and make changes as needed. What works today may not work tomorrow. So, it's important to stay on top of your campaigns and keep tweaking them for optimal performance
  5. Use MarinOne to simplify your efforts.

While paid ads can be very effective when done correctly, they do require investment, which might not be feasible, depending on your budget and the industry. To make paid ads work for you, be prepared to do A/B testing, reallocate funds if needed, and make sure to use retargeting strategies. Organic social media marketing is free, but it takes effort. You won't see results overnight, but investing in building a solid organic foundation can lead to great long-term exposure for your company.

Regardless of how much you put into each strategy, you’ll likely find that integrating both types of campaigns into your marketing strategy works the best. To fully take advantage of both types of campaigns, however, you’ll need a tool to automate and syncrhonize your efforts. This is where a platform like MarinOne comes in.

How MarinOne can help

With MarinOne’s automation tool, you can set up goals on your site using the programmable automation features in Google Analytics. You'll be able to track ad metrics, CLV, and conversions without having a full-time employee dedicated solely to analytics duties.

Analyze your organic traffic and paid ad data early and make changes according to your results, automatically boost popular organic posts, and build campaigns from your product feed. Since MarinOne works with Google Analytics, there’s no need for a separate tracking code or web property ID either.

Learn more about MarinOne’s ad automation tools today. Get in touch to speak with a team member to see how we can help you get the information and tools you need to increase the effectiveness of your paid ads and organic content.

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