Google Ads vs. Social Media Marketing

There is no denying that both Social Media and Google Ads are very effective in gaining website traffic.  Both platforms have tremendous Return on Investment. Google ads or Google Pay Per Click services are used by millions of people every day to generate business. Social Media also has its fair share of users and the fact that there are various social media platforms exponentially increases exposure as well. Advertising on these platforms costs a substantial amount of money, though it brings in great returns, one has to spend money wisely. So, let us get to the gritty of understanding which platform will be the best choice for you. Or should you be advertising on both platforms? 

First of all, Why advertise online at all?

With the rise in dependency on smartphones, laptops and technology in general, people spend a great deal of time online. So much so that people are being teased of being glued to the phones that they are missing out on life. They may not even look up to look at posters or banners, if you go for that way of advertising and TV commercials are skipped and overlooked that they may not make much of an impact. Hence, the chances of getting people to look at your advertisements are much higher with online advertising.

Online advertising gives people the power to get to know everything about your product or service in seconds. This makes it very competitive for similar businesses to outshine one another and promote their service the best they can. The number of people who rather engage in online shopping is also skyrocketing. 

With online advertising, you can:

  • Increase your brand awareness
  • Increase circulation of information
  • Create Buyer personas
  • Update buyers on what is new with your business
  • Repeatedly displaying advertisements may improve sales
  • Makes available various payment methods

With over 5 billion Google searches every day, Google gives the opportunity for many businesses to promote their content in a very systematic manner. By giving up digital real estate, Google makes a lot of money(*cough* close to $32 billion *cough*) so the method they use to run their ads involves bidding so that they can make the most of it.

Creating a Google Ad campaign:

  1. A user types a query into the search engine.
  2. Businesses may bid for their ads to show up when a particular keyword is typed into the search engine.
  3. If the keyword is part of the query and there are more than one businesses bidding for that keyword, Adwords establishes an auction.
  4. When you bid, you choose a group of keywords. Google does a crawl to identify the most relevant keyword and submits it for the auction. 
  5. Now, Google algorithms carry out a few calculations to identify which ad should show up where. It calculates a value known as Ad rank, the higher the Ad rank the better the position you get. The Ad rank is the product of the highest CPC* bid and the Quality score.(Quality score is determined by an accumulation of factors of your website). 

*CPC stands for Cost Per Click, which means with Google you only have to pay if people click one your advert.

This method of deciding on ads to put on the page creates a level playing field for businesses to prosper for their skills and quality of product or service rather than monetary dominance.

There are also many different formats of Google Ads that you can choose based on your marketing strategy.

Google can advertise your business either through the search network or the display network. The search network displays advertisements on the page where you conduct your search and the display network displays advertisements on websites or applications that are related to your keywords. 

Google Shopping is when your ads show up right at the top with all the information of your product including features, reviews, description, ratings,etc.  If you’re advertising an e-commerce related business, this is a pretty good bet to get your business going.

Video ads are possible with Google as well. On Display networks or streaming sites such as Youtube before the video plays.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing is a best way to promote business, brand, products on the social media platforms such as Facebook, twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest =. When used correctly, it can make a business very profitable. It is a boon for advertisers as it helps categorize billions of people and narrow down to a target audience to advertise to. Social media has hashtags and profiles that allow people to specify their interest and even follow the footprints on what they view in these social media through cookies to identify what they may be looking for or things that they have an affinity to. This information can be used to create Buyer Personas that can help with creating tailored content.

There are a handful of Social Media that you can choose to advertise on. It could be done organically or even paid social is available. Many social media have separate business handles that can be used solely for the purpose of promoting your business. 

There are a couple of ways you can use these platforms to advertise. 

  • You can create dedicated pages on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram,etc, and include images related to your product or service for people to get a better idea of your business. This is the part where your advertising team can get as creative as possible so that people can recognize your brand and you can gain followers. After getting followers is when the real work starts, you have to ensure you are consistent with your posts to keep reminding people of your brand and keep them coming back for more.
  • Video ads are very effective. An eye catching advertisement will make people click on your page almost immediately. If it is just like the other dozen advertisements, it is not going to make much of an impact. However, you may have to pay to get your video ads to show up on people’s walls especially if they do not follow your page. You can even create live discussions where you talk about your product or have consumers talk about how they like your product. 
  • Social Media can also be a platform for you to communicate with your target audience. You have to be ready to handle compliments, criticism and queries coming in from people. It also has to be dealt with in a professional manner to maintain a brand image. 
  • With Social Media such as Facebook you can specify what you want to achieve and the business page will aid you with your ad campaign. 

Goals such as:

  • Increasing Brand awareness or views on your page
  • Boosting Lead Generation for your company
  • Increase traffic or engagement on your site
  • Drive sales or shop visits
  • Target people through your ads

From the information above, I think it is far to conclude that both the marketing platforms bring in website traffic both directly and indirectly. Both platforms are quickly adapting to changes in behavior of the consumers. For example, people have become accustomed to the ads on the sides and tend to develop ‘banner blindness’ which is when they know that there are ads on the stridulated parts of the web page and they just don’t look at that portion. Google and Facebook have identified this and are placing their ads more strategically to get more clicks on the advertisements.

Both platforms, together, can bring in more revenue. Let me give you an example of how they come together. For instant a consumer views your ad on social media, they must have had previous interest in it for your ad to show up on their page. So, if they are intrigued by what your business has to offer. They may do their fair share of research on Google. This can even bring in organic traffic saving you some of the resources dedicated for advertising. 

Here is a table to give you a summary of what each marketing platform has to offer

Table of summary

Comparison madeSocial Media MarketingGoogle Advertising
How does it work?Advertised based on demographics of people on the platform.Advertised based on keywords and software’s such as Adword or Pay Per Click.
Primary PurposeIncreasing awareness of brand and gaining followers or potential customersBest for people who already know what they want and searching for it directly
ReachEveryone who has an account in either one or all of the social media platformsFocused on people who come searching for it 
CostCan be entirely organic or depending on your campaign it could range from $1 to $40.The higher your website’s the lower you have to pay to keep your ads at a higher rank.
ContentHave to get creative with visually appealing content and videos are encouraged as well.Advertise through minimal text and a defining image.
Effort to RunInitially setting up the account and adding exclusive content on a regular basis followed by ongoing optimization. May have to reply to customers on a daily basis.Initially setting up the account and monitoring the campaign regularly followed by optimization. Much less content creation comparatively.
Success/PerformanceCan be monitored through number of likes, shares, comments and number of followers.Can be monitored using clicks, click through rates, bounce off rates and number of sales.


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