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Google vs Social Media Advertisements: Which is Best for You?

Ah yes, the eternal question, which to choose between Google and social media advertising?

Ok, maybe it’s not exactly eternal but it is at least highly, highly relevant to the now.

The more refined phrasing for this would be search engine marketing (SEM) vs social media marketing and to be fair, they’re both great and incredibly useful. It’s not necessarily about one or the other all time and in fact, the real thing to figure out is which to use when.

What Is Google Business Advertising?

Before digging into Google business advertising let’s define search engine marketing in general. SEM is a strategy within digital marketing that’s used to increase your website’s visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) through both paid and unpaid means.

Unpaid is your standard search engine optimization (SEO) practices that help you to organically rank better. Paid search, which is what we’re talking about here, is often referred to as pay per click (PPC) marketing and these ads can appear atop search results, on the side, Google Maps and more.

It’s quite literally when you pay each time your ad on Google is clicked. In other words, you’re essentially paying for visits to your site.

Google, being the largest search engine on the planet, is where that magic happens.

Why? Because Google holds nearly 87% of the market share of search, which means if people are searching for anything they’re extremely likely to be searching for it on Google. Hence advertising there makes a lot of sense.

50% of people that arrive on a retailer’s site from paid ads are more likely to buy than those who came from an organic link.

Moreover, as it compares to organic search, in a study from several years back, Google found that 89% of traffic generated by search ads was not replaced by organic clicks when the ads were paused.

What Are Social Media Advertisements? 

On the flip side, we have social media advertising. That’s your Facebook & Instagram ads, YouTube ads, Snapchat Ads and much, much more.

These are the ads you see in your feeds, during videos, etc.

The number of users on the most popular platforms is wild, taken in total we’re talking 3.81 billion active users in the world. And the numbers keep growing! Facebook alone has 2.7 billion users, YouTube has 2 billion and Instagram has over 1 billion users as well.

These are huge addressable markets for your brand and a place where you can directly connect with them in two-way communication. Consider that 83% of consumers that were surveyed say they use Facebook. If nearly everyone is using a platform, it stands to reason that your company should be advertising there.

The beauty of the social media platforms is that to a certain extent they self-segregate their age demographics so it makes your broad targeting easy to start from. If what you sell skews to the Gen Z set, Snapchat and TikTok are where you need to be more heavily than Facebook for example.

That type of targeting is part of the power of these platforms.

Which Is Better for What Type of Business?

Google is well suited for businesses with higher margins, local businesses in general, businesses with high customer lifetime value (i.e., doctors, universities, service providers).

Social media marketing is stellar for broadly raising brand awareness and is good for companies that rely on visuals more heavily, like eCommerce, travel, etc. Marketing on social platforms also works well for B2B companies. That said, basically all businesses can benefit from social media marketing and it’s generally more cost-effective than PPC.

Ultimately, they’re both good, that can’t be denied. Using Google ads and social media marketing strategically and often in tandem within a well-rounded digital marketing mix is going to yield the best results. Get in touch with us at The Snow Agency and let’s take a deeper look together and plan what would work best for your particular brand.