Paid Advertising vs Organic Marketing: What's The Difference?

As a marketer, I often think that the differences between channels are quite obvious & well-known. However, after hearing feedback from clients, it is apparent that, unless you’re working with marketing tools every day, the differences can be overlooked. 

For a layperson, the many different channels & approaches to increasing your exposure online may be quite overwhelming. 

Nonetheless, knowing the differences between marketing approaches could help you determine which is better for your business.

And to be honest, successful businesses often have a variety of approaches to marketing their products. All of these approaches come together to form a marketing mix. 

The rest of this article explains the difference between paid advertising & organic marketing.

Let’s State The (Not So) Obvious

First things first, let’s cover the primary difference between paid advertising & organic marketing.

Paid advertising is a placement that you pay for on a publisher’s site, platform, or application. Under the paid advertising branch, there are two primary subsets: paid search & paid social. 

  • Paid search refers to the advertisements that are placed on SERPs. 
  • Paid social refers to the ads placed on social media feeds & platforms. 

Organic marketing, on the other hand, is the act of placing content on the internet so that people come across your business naturally. When talking about organic marketing, the term search engine optimization is often used interchangeably. 

And for the most part, organic marketing is all SEO. To put it plainly, you stand no chance of being found by consumers if you do not place search engine optimized content online. 

Therefore, the primary difference between paid advertising & organic marketing is that you pay for placement in paid advertising campaigns whereas you earn placement in the organic approach.

How To Implement Paid Advertising

In order to incorporate paid advertising into your marketing mix, you’ll need to:

  • Determine a marketing budget
  • Solidify your goals
  • Decide which advertising channel is best for your goals
  • Pick an advertising platform
  • Gather creatives
  • Create your campaign
  • Launch & optimize

Determine a marketing budget

First & foremost, you’ll need to determine a marketing budget in order to understand how much you can allocate to advertising. The Small Business Association recommends that you allocate at least 30% of revenue to your marketing. 

While this figure is just a guideline, you need to take into account that paid advertising is not free & you need to plan a budget in order to implement it into your marketing mix.

Solidify your goals

Before you can decide which advertising platform to use, you need to solidify your goals. Perhaps your goal is to gain brand awareness. Maybe you want more signups or appointment schedules. Whatever your goal, you need to understand the actions you want to drive with your campaigns. 

Decide which advertising platform is best for your goals

When determining which advertising platform to use, you should ask yourself the following two questions:

  • How do people often find a business that offers my product or service?
  • What action am I trying to drive?

The answers to these questions will help you determine whether a paid search ad or paid social ad is more fitting for your goals. 

For example, a service industry operator may want to implement a paid search ad because people often go to search engines in order to look for services.

An eCommerce business, on the other hand, may opt for paid social ads because of the visual appeal of social ads. 

Pick an advertising platform

Once you have determined whether you will be serving ads on the search network or on social media platforms, you’ll then need to find an advertising platform that serves ads in your desired channel/platform. 

Of the most popular paid search platforms, Google Ads is the leading one (as you could imagine). Within the Google Ads platform, you can serve search advertisements in SERPs or display advertisements on publisher sites.

Nevertheless, the basis of your targeting will be search data. 

On the paid social side, Facebook is the leading platform. The Facebook Ads Manager has many ad types & extensive targeting capabilities. The basis of their targeting algorithm is user data & interaction within the platform. 

Gather creative components

Now that you have determined your platform, you will need to gather the creative components required for your ads. It is important to note that different platforms & ad types will require different types of creative components.

For instance, some ad types, such as Google Search ads will not allow you to use images. Therefore, your creatives will be in the form of copy alone. 

Nonetheless, the creative process is an important component of the advertising process & can make or break your campaign.

Create your campaign

Once you have collected your creatives, you’ll then need to create your campaign within your advertising platform. This is where you will set up your campaign targeting & decide where your ad will be served. 

Targeting for paid search advertisements include:

  • Demographic data
  • Keyword search data
  • Interests

Targeting for social platforms includes: 

  • Demographic data
  • Interaction within platform
  • Interests

This is by far the most technical part of implementing paid advertising. In addition, it is the most important. For this reason, many business owners opt to outsource their paid advertising needs so that they do not spend time & money on wasted ad spend.

Launch & optimize

Once you have created your campaign, you’ll want to launch & optimize the campaign. Campaign optimization is often done by tweaking targeting, making the process extremely technical. Campaign optimization is another primary reason that business owners outsource their advertising needs. 

How To Implement Organic Marketing

Now that we have covered how to implement paid advertising, I’ll explain how to incorporate organic marketing into your marketing mix. 

You may be surprised to find that you’re already doing it. 

Every time that you post something on the web about your business, you are engaging in organic marketing. 

That means every social media post, every addition to your website, or picture you add to your listing is a form of organic marketing. 

In fact, I am even engaging in organic marketing right now by writing this blog. 

What will make your efforts successful is optimizing your content, pages, listings, etc. for search engines (aka SEO). 

Organic Marketing For Local Businesses

With that being said, we can bucket organic marketing efforts into the following buckets:

  • Business listings
  • Website content
  • Social media posts
  • Backlinks

Keep in mind that the world of organic marketing can get much more complex. However, for a local business like yours, these are the most important components of SEO. In order for you to increase your online visibility, you need to get to work in all four areas.

List your business

First of all, you’ll want to list your business in as many places as possible. This is so important for a local business because search engines reference business directories for local searches. 

Therefore, you’ll want to list yourself in as many places as possible so that you show search engines that you are relevant. 

Optimize your listings

Once you are listed everywhere you can be, you’ll then need to optimize your listings for search. This can get extremely technical. We have a wealth of information on this topic here. 

You can also backlink your listings to your website. By doing so, Google will see the interconnectedness of your digital presence, which will work in your favor in the long run. 

Optimize your website

Now that your listings are up & running, you’ll want to optimize your website for search. You can do this by inserting schema markup into your website’s code, providing social proof of your product quality, & placing your product offering throughout your website pages. 

Post Content & Engage Your Audience

One of the pillars of SEO is content marketing. This means regularly posting content on your business listings, social media pages, & website (if you have one).

Search engines, specifically Google, also favor businesses that respond to customer reviews on their listings. By doing so, you engage your audience & show that you are active. 

We Can Help!

In case you need some help, we can do all the above. Our local SEO technology makes it easy for you to optimize your digital presence & engage your audience. In addition, our Facebook Ads technology will make sure that you make the most of your ad spend. 

For more information on our local marketing products, visit our website. For more articles like this one, visit our blog.

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