When you want to attract targeted traffic to your landing pages quickly, Internet advertising can be a fast, efficient, and economical solution. But are you better off using a search marketing platform, such as Google AdWords, or social media advertising plan like the one offered by Facebook?
The best answer might be “either” or “both,” but to find the right solution for your business you need to know the differences between the two. More importantly, you have to know how to take advantage of their relative strengths and weaknesses.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few of the important ways that search and social media advertising differ from one another:
Search Let You Target an Interest, While Social Connects You with the Right Person
This is a subtle distinction, but a very important one. When you advertise on Google or one of the other search engines, you are trying to bring someone to your website at the exact moment that they are thinking about your product or service. With social advertising, on the other hand, you’re targeting a particular type of buyer, even if they have something else on their minds at the moment they see your ad.
When you think about those different situations and mindsets, it’s apparent that search advertising is timelier but opens you up to a lot more competition. Social campaigns, conversely, let you market your products or services to people who might want or need them even before they realize it.
In either case, it’s important for your ad copy and landing pages to reflect what you know about your customer mindset based on the platform you’re using. Think about how you’d start a conversation with someone who is asking about what your business offers, and how that same topic would go differently if they hadn’t heard of you before. That’s the big difference between advertising via search or social.
Search is About Information, But Social is About Fun
That’s a big generalization, but one that almost always holds true. When someone turns to Google, or one of the other search engines, it’s because they’re looking for information or answers. On the other hand, they’ll log on to Facebook because they want to check in with friends, play games, or otherwise be entertained (LinkedIn is the exception here, since it tends to skew more towards business).
Knowing that, you’ll want to gear your search ads towards solutions, while your social ads need to be more interesting and attention-grabbing. You can work elements of both into your campaigns, of course, but bear in mind that your customers probably turn to search and social for different reasons.
Search Campaigns Point to Your Website, While Social Ads Link to Profiles
More often than not, the search ads you put on Google or Bing are going to lead to a landing page on your website. But, social users prefer (and expect) to stay on the website they are already using.
That’s not a big deal, but a Facebook page (for example) is going to be structured differently than a landing page on your website, with unique layout and conversion options. Keep this in mind as you build your campaign and tailor your landing pages in a way that makes the most of the medium you’re using.
Search marketing and social advertising are similar, but they aren’t the same thing. To make the most of your Internet advertising dollars – and achieve the highest possible ROI with every ad – make sure you know the differences, and how they affect your campaigns at every level.
Edward Kundahl, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Ed can be reached at (or visit his websites)