Social Media Ads vs. Search Ads: What’s the Difference?
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Driving traffic to your website can be tricky. That’s why many small businesses depend on digital advertising. While there are many channels for this, the most popular are social media ads and search ads. Some companies wonder what’s the difference between social media ads vs. search ads. While they have similarities, they also have major distinctions. We’re providing small businesses a crash course on the two types of ads and why you might use one, the other, or both.
Social Media Ads vs. Search Ads: Fundamental Differences
The most notable difference between the two types of ads is how they target. Social media ads target the user. You create this type of promotion by defining the ideal customer, including job titles, industries, preferences, and other demographics. You are hypothesizing that buyers that fit the criteria will have an interest in your product or service.
Search ads target the keyword. You create ads that will display when a user searches that word or phrase. You can do some audience targeting, including geography.
Because targeting is different, each ad type requires a different strategy.
Social Media Ads Strategy
A social media advertising campaign doesn’t have the same look or messaging as search ads. In social media, the environment is different. Users may be less “ad blind” because it’s part of their feed. You also have the opportunity to be more visual than standard search ads. Social media ads tend to be more fun and casual.
They work best for physical products or content offers if you offer a service or solution. They are easily trackable to understand how many leads or conversions you received for your efforts. Social media ads require less investment, so they are an excellent platform for testing many ad types and messaging.
Search Ad Strategy
For Google ads, the most critical aspects are targeting the right keywords and including negative ones so that you don’t waste impressions on users that aren’t your buyers. If you’re in a very competitive field, cost per click (CPC) can be expensive. If you have a small budget, you might deplete it fast. That’s why you want to be as specific as possible with the keywords you select and the copy in the ad. You have very few characters to persuade searchers.
Search ads also suffer from ad blindness, as many prolific searchers ignore the “ad zones.” That makes it harder to connect. You can also measure your performance, which can provide you with insight on how to improve ads. In many cases, search ads return many junk leads that waste your time and dollars.
Should You Use Social Media or Search Ads?
It’s not either-or. You can leverage both to improve website traffic and expand your organization’s visibility. In deciding when to deploy what type of ad, you should work with experts and discuss:
- Audience behavior (Are they searchers? What social media sites do they frequent?)
- Physical product vs. service
- Where are you leading customers (product pages, stores, landing pages, etc.)
Social Media Ads vs. Search Ads: Deploy Both Optimally
Ideally, you’ll be able to use both ad categories to meet your goals. However, it can be complex to manage all this. So why not let experts do it for you? That’s what we deliver to our customers. Let’s talk about your paid ads future today!