4 Reasons Social Advertising Is Better Than Traditional PPC


Social Media Week

Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.

42 days until 20,000+ global leaders come together for SMW June Conference. Learn more.

Search pay-per-click (PPC) ads have been a staple for digital marketers since the dawn of Google AdWords as a viable advertising medium. As Google has undergone countless changes over the past several years, the layout for ads became gradually more appealing, and marketers had access to a more diverse pool of resources and information to use in mastering their campaigns.

However, the value of traditional PPC ads is falling, and while savvy marketers can still benefit from the strategy, it’s showing diminishing returns. In its stead, a new form of PPC advertising (found on social media rather than search engines) is emerging as a preferred medium.

Disadvantages of Traditional Search PPC

Traditional PPC ad campaigns are failing, but it’s not because there’s something inherently wrong with the medium. Instead, the landscape of online experience is changing in a way that devalues the search PPC medium.

1. High Competition

The rapid rise of success and popularity of PPC advertising was part of its own undoing. Once the world at large realized how valuable posting PPC ads could be, everybody started incorporating them into their online marketing strategy. But because there is a finite amount of space in SERPs dedicated to holding ads, demand began to outpace supply, and prices began to skyrocket accordingly. Ads that once cost 25 cents per click are now running for 2 or 3 dollars per click, and companies that once made slim margins on the advertising platform are now losing money.

2. Poor Demographic Controls

Another contributing factor to the decline of PPC effectiveness is the lack of demographic control inherent in the advertising platform. It’s definitely possible to target a specific group of users based on keywords—for example, placing ads on diaper-related keywords is likely to only attract new parents—but there’s a definite lack of finesse to that approach since you cannot control who searches for those keywords and why they’re searching for them.

3. Relative Complication

To the seasoned PPC veteran, Google AdWords is a breeze. Buying, placing, and managing ads has become a routine, and some people have built entire careers out of that level of expertise. Unfortunately, it takes years of experience and countless hours of refinement to achieve that level of ability. To the new business owner or marketer, Google AdWords is a complicated, confusing system with a hard-to-understand interface and dozens of unnecessary variables.

4. User Disinterest

According to metrics published by imForza, 70 to 80 percent of all online users claim to flat-out ignore any sponsored links that appear in their search results. Since PPC ads only cost money based on the number of clicks they receive, you aren’t going to lose money on this fact. However, your demographics are going to be slightly skewed. No matter what you choose to do, you’ll be working with the minority of users who can tolerate paid search ads, and that could skew both your data and your results.

Why Social PPC Is Changing the Landscape

Social media PPC, driven mainly by Facebook, is seeking to offer a new refuge for fans of the advertising medium. Rather than placing ads on search engines, social PPC places ads directly on users’ news feeds, and the platform offers a number of benefits.

1. Better Pricing

First, since the platform is relatively new, competition and pricing is relatively low. On Facebook, you can set your budget to as little as 5 dollars per day, and you generally don’t have to worry about facing a high level of competition since you can control far more variables than just keywords—but I’ll touch on that in the next section.

2. Highly Specific Audience Targeting

With social advertising, you’re no longer restricted to a simple set of keywords, and you no longer have to worry about the types of people who will be seeing (and thus, clicking) your ad. Social media platforms know everything about their users—from their age, sex, and location to their hobbies, jobs, and interests. With that information, you can display your advertisements with laser-focus, and learn about your target audience’s deepest preferences.

3. Setup Simplicity

Because you don’t have to delve deeply into the mechanics of search volume or trend fluctuations, setting up a social media PPC is incredibly simple compared to search PPC. If you’re already used to Google AdWords, this might not make much of a difference to you, but to the unacquainted business owner, it can mean everything.

4. Higher User Interest

Over 74 percent of all users rely on social media to make their purchasing decisions. That’s no guarantee that a wider percentage of users will be seeing and clicking your ads, but it does tell you something about the value of advertising on social media compared to search engines. On search platforms, people are looking for something specific, but on social media, they’re much more open to exploring new ideas and potential purchases.

Traditional paid search advertising still holds value, especially for legacy businesses who have accommodated the medium for years. But for new businesses, and for small businesses trying to get the most out of their restrictive budgets, social advertising has too many practical advantages to ignore.



Larry Alton

Writer, Freelancer

Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.



Want to write for Social Media Week?

We're looking for individuals around the globe to contribute articles on marketing, media, technology, and more.







Comments