Choosing the Right Online Advertising Strategy: Social Media, PPC, or Both?

Jen Holub
image of person holding mobile phone

When you’re planning your online advertising budget, it can be difficult to know exactly where to invest your money.

Do you focus on advertising in search engines like Google or Bing, or should you pour all your resources into popular social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn?

Before making that decision, take a look at what each form of advertising has to offer and how it aligns with your marketing goals.

How Social Media Ads Work

If you’ve ever spent time scrolling through updates and videos on sites like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, you’ve seen a social media ad. These are less-obvious sponsored posts that show up right in your feed, as well as the more obvious text and display ads that appear alongside your feed.

Scorpion ad snippet

To ensure you’re reaching your most ideal audiences, you can target your ads to users based on factors like location, demographics, interests, and online behaviors. So if you have a pet grooming business and you’re looking to target pet owners in your city, do it!

When does it make sense to use social media ads?

Social media advertising is an excellent way to raise awareness of your business or brand.

With this strategy, you’re able to expose thousands of online users to your business when they aren’t already thinking of you, and you can even get them engaging with your brand through comments and shares. When a user sees your brand enough times or interacts with your business online, they’re more likely to remember you down the road when they need services like yours.

Use social media advertising when you want to spread the word about your business to new audiences, drive engagement, or drive action.

How PPC Ads Work

Paid search ads, commonly called pay-per-click (PPC) ads, appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).

Google PPC ad snippet

Just like the organic (unpaid) search results, PPC ads are driven by the keywords included in a search query. They can also be targeted to online users based on other factors like location, demographics, past search behaviors, and even past interaction with your website.

When does it make sense to use PPC ads?

PPC advertising is effective for reaching potential clients when they’re close to the point of making a purchasing or hiring decision.

At this point, the online user is actively searching for services like yours, so they’re more likely to click on your advertisement.

To ensure you’re reaching your target audience at the right time, bid on keywords that they’re most likely to use close to the decision making stage, like “Valencia children’s dentist” or “DUI lawyer in Valencia.” You can also use other forms of targeting to further refine your audience

For example, you can target online users within a 5-mile radius of your business who are entering specific keywords between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Use PPC advertising when you’re more focused on driving conversions (new calls and inquiries from prospective clients) than building awareness.

Diversifying Your Strategy with Social Media & PPC Ads

If you have the flexibility in your budget, it’s a great idea to use both social media and PPC advertising simultaneously.

That way you’re covering all your bases and reaching potential clients at different stages of their buying journey. So, while you’re bringing in warm leads , you’re also filling up your pipeline by getting other online users thinking about your business, even if they’re not ready to use your services just yet.

If you’d like to ease yourself in, start off with social media ads and a branded PPC campaign (a campaign based on keywords related to your brand). Then if someone sees one of your social media ads, remembers your business name, and later Googles it, you can ensure your business will appear at the very top of the search results. You’re only one click away from new business!

An experienced digital marketing partner can help you create an online advertising strategy that brings you the right level of exposure and new business.

Learn about Scorpion’s PPC and social media marketing services!

Photo Credit: