Search PPC or Social Sites PPC?

By Matt Brown,

All businesses have a limit to their marketing budget and have to decide where to invest to get the best return. One decision for online advertisers is whether to put their budget into search Pay-Per-Click (PPC) adverts or social media sites PPC adverts. If you look at the main social media websites as a signed-in user, you will see that they all run advertising in one form or another.

For search advertising the heavyweight is Google AdWords, representing about 90% of all internet searches, and for advertising on social sites, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are the key choices. But which ones to use?

The simple answer is that a business should be advertising where their customers can be found. Generally Facebook is seen as a consumer platform, LinkedIn as a professional’s platform and Twitter can cover both. However, the only clear way to determine which is best for your particular business is to test a campaign on each.

All these social platforms allow sophisticated targeting by geography and audience type and if you are very selective it is possible to create a highly-targeted campaign with a modest test budget. Keep in mind your end goals though and how you will measure the success of the campaign. Create a single message and advert that you can use as a benchmark for each social media platform and ensure you are using the same landing page on your website and call-to-actions. Ideally you will want to see at least 200 clicks from each social media platform before deciding which one(s) give you the best results for the benchmark test and scale up on your chosen platforms. You may decide to repeat the test using a different message and call-to-action, as you may find that some messages and call-to-actions work better on different platforms.

Search engine PPC advertising using platforms such as Google AdWords is a different approach as you have the opportunity to display your message and call-to-action at the time, and place, when a potential customer is actively seeking your product or service. Search engine PPC is unique in this respect and because of this it is often better to think of search engine PPC as more like direct marketing, in that you will want to display messages that encourage immediate action.

The choice of which site to advertise on that will give the best return can only be answered for your business by testing. If you get a clear winner then great, but then try to beat the winner by testing new adverts, messages and call-to-actions and when you have a new winner, then try to beat that one as well. This is all continual hard work but essential if you are to stand above your competitors.

If you’d like to discuss any of these points in more detail with me, please get in touch or post ideas and comments on Google+.

The Author

Matt Brown is a co-founder and Director of One Vision Ltd, has been managing Google AdWords campaigns since 2001 and provides online advertising management and consultancy.

For tips and advice see and @1visionltd

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