If you’ve ever wondered how much of your ad spend to put into search vs social media, you’re in good company. For many business managers, online’s mysterious enough without having to figure out how to divvy up your spend in that area.

The good news is, the difference between search and social media is simple and, once you understand it, deciding where to put your budget becomes straightforward.

Search Marketing, you’re out to connect with people who are actively looking for you, or for someone like you. Social Media marketing is more about connecting with people who fit the description of your ideal customer but are probably not looking for what you can provide and may not even be aware that your service exists.

Let’s look at each a bit more closely.

Search Marketing: They’re looking for you

As the name suggests, Search Marketing is built around the search terms that people use. Your aim is first to learn what search terms are being used by people who are seeking your services. If you don’t do that, you won’t connect with them.

If you do do that, your work is not yet done. Not everyone searching for “used cars”, for example, is your ideal customer. You may want to narrow the audience down to 18-25-year-old females who live in Auckland. Or to people who’ve previously visited your website.

That’s the power of Search Marketing. It allows you to target your audience very precisely, and therefore only pay for clicks that are most likely to lead to a sale.

Social Media Marketing: You’re looking for them

Unlike Google, people don’t use Facebook to search for information. They use it to connect with others. Likewise with Instagram, Snapchat and other social media.

So advertising here isn’t about learning what search terms people are using, but understanding the attributes of your prospective customers. If you’re selling expensive cloth nappies, say, you might be seeking people who’ve recently had a child, are on good incomes and are into green issues.

With Social Media Marketing, your job isn’t to know what people are actively looking for, but to understand the profile of those most likely to buy from you when they discover what you can do for them.

What to say

Someone actively looking for what you provide is a world away from someone who’s not. So it stands to reason you’d talk to each differently.

When someone is searching, they’re in – or close to – buying mode. You don’t need to woo them, you need to convince them to choose your product or service above all others. So be direct in your advertising copy and pack it full of benefits.

Someone on social media, on the other hand, isn’t in buying mode. Direct, benefit-packed talk is a turn off for them. Your job here is to be subtle and build to a purchase through a series of marketing like messages. That’s not too difficult, since Facebook and Instragram offer plenty of advertising options for just this purpose.

What next?

Given these insights, where should a new online advertiser begin?

If people are actively searching for what you offer on Google, you should start with advertising there first in order to fulfil that demand and generate sales.

But if few people know about what you offer, then Search Marketing won’t yield much. You’ll be better to define your buying market and target that type of person via social media.

As always, talking to us as a first step is a smart move. We’ll give you the best advice we can and, if you choose us as your online marketing partner, create and implement a strategy to keep your sales numbers tracking upwards.

If you’re of a paranoid disposition, a recent AdWords announcement won’t be helping matters. In April, Google let advertisers know that if they didn’t optimise their ad groups themselves, Google would do it for them.

Ad suggestions are ads created by Google on your behalf. And, unless you tell Google otherwise, Google will include those ads into your ad rotation.

But don’t get too freaked out.

First, ad suggestions are variations of your current text ads, not entirely new ads. So Google’s not about to make up some weird ad copy on your behalf.

Second, ad suggestions come with distinct benefits, especially for people who are either too busy or can’t be bothered to pay too much attention to their AdWords account.

The first benefit is a lift in clicks and conversions. Google’s research has shown that ad groups with three or more “high quality” ads can get 5% to 15% more clicks or conversions as long as ad rotation has been optimised. If you don’t give your AdWords account a lot of love and attention, allowing Google to contribute could be a good idea.


Don’t let your ego get in the way

Ad suggestions don’t come from humans – they’re a function of Google’s machine learning technology. So yes, you will be allowing a machine to tell you how to talk to your customers.

Essentially, Google will crawl your current content, such as landing pages and current ads. Thanks to having access to more paid search advertising data than anyone else on the planet, they have a deep understanding of the key metrics behind what gets clicks and what doesn’t, including ad copy, calls to action and trigger words.

Increasing your click through rate obviously benefits Google, as it increases their revenue. But it benefits you too.


What to do next

If you’re happy to pass the reins to Google, you don’t need to do anything. As long as your campaign’s ad rotation settings are set to “Optimize”, ad suggestions may appear and could, in all likelihood, bring more qualified traffic to your door.

Our advice, however, is to stay as involved as you can in your ad copy. While it may not do you any harm to allow Google to tweak your ads, and may even do some good, nothing beats a personal commitment to performing well.

If you prefer to keep total control, go to your account’s settings page, expand the “ad suggestions” component and select “Don’t automatically apply ad suggestions”, then hit save.

As always, if you have any questions about this development or would like expert support in this area, give us a call or fire an email through. We’re here to help.