Digital Advertising

Digital advertising / Digital Marketing, which is also referred to as Internet advertising, is a marketing tactic that businesses often employ in which they use Internet technologies to deliver advertisements to consumers.

The full spectrum of digital advertising includes promotional advertisements and messages delivered through email, social media sites, online advertising on search engines, banner ads and affiliates programs.

However, digital advertising can really be separated into two categories: search engines (Google, Bing or Yahoo) and social media platforms (LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook). Search is undoubtedly the most effective and trackable digital advertising medium that can ultimately generate traffic as well as measure conversions and ROI. On the other hand, social media offers a low-risk and potentially effective tool as it is more cost-effective than search.

There are several misconceptions regarding digital advertising in the context of branding and marketing integration, and when either medium should be used. Here are a list of pros and cons for both categories, which should give you a firm understanding as to when search or social media advertising ought to be applied:

SEARCH ENGINES

PROS

  • Search allows for effective targeted marketing. The keywords search engines use will direct targeted consumers to you so you won’t have to look for your target audience.
  • The majority of consumers who come across your brand through a search engine already have the intent to purchase the applicable goods or services, resulting in increased traffic and higher conversions.
  • You can use search analytics to figure out the exact words and phrases consumers are searching for and incorporate these keywords. 
  • Paid ads are great way for businesses to get their brand and products in the search engine results pages (SERPs) without all the time and expertise that is typically needed to raise their site profile in organic listings.

CONS

  • The ultra competitive playing field requires a considerable investment of resources and time, especially considering that SEO algorithms are constantly evolving.
  • Despite this investment, there are no guarantees. Studies show that 75% of searchers are unlikely to navigate beyond the first page so if you don’t have the budget to keep your brand at the top, either in organic or paid ads, then you’ll find it difficult to compete with the big players.

SOCIAL MEDIA

PROS

  • You don’t have to estimate your target audience’s demographics since all this information (gender, age, location, interests, work, etc.) is provided to you. 
  • It is far more cost-effective than search, offering a low-risk tool.
  • Social media fosters brand loyalty, making it a great opportunity for creating lifelong customers.
  • The ability to target a city or neighbourhood based on various parameters can make social media extremely impactful for local businesses.

CONS

  • A large number of consumers don’t have a social profile. Unless you know that your target audience is on social media, you could be throwing advertising money down the drain.
  • Most users of a social network are there to ‘socialise’, not to shop. As a result, your conversion rates on social networks are going to be a lot lower than search where ‘intent’ is more implicit.
  • It can be time consuming. Those businesses that simply create a Facebook ad without taking the time to plan their strategy, flow integration, goals and objectives will ultimately waste their money. 
  • It can be difficult to set metrics and define your ROI. The medium offers great opportunities for business, however, since there are only a few direct conversions it is hard to figure out exactly how it is profiting your brand.

So now you’re probably wondering which medium to go with: search or social media? Well, the short answer is both. Your customers are likely using a combination of both these mediums, and it’s evident that the infrastructures of search and social are slowly beginning to merge.

Maintaining effective social media practices can inevitably increase your organic rankings, while new social network advertising opportunities can help you uncover key information about keywords, target audiences and your competitors. You can, in turn, use this information to fuel your paid search campaign.

The two mediums should be used hand in hand as social networking can help build a strong brand awareness and establish credibility, while search is a great tool for creating conversions. When used in concert, social media and search can help you reach your target audience and ultimately generate return business.

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