On Paid Search vs Social Media Spending

Fellow Sage team member Greg Tirico posted an interesting link to an article which suggests that small and medium businesses are beginning to favor social media spending over paid search.

I have always thought of paid search (and even SEO) as a mistake in the consulting profession because it tends to lead to poor customer acquistion. In other words, it produces more D and F customers than A or B customers.

By their very nature web search prospects are in the gather information step in the buying process. They tend to be tire kickers who are generally looking at buying more on (pun intended) low price rather than a long-term relationship.

I think social media has the potential to change this because it turns search on it head. Instead of looking for people who already have their hand in the air (an intercept lead), social media allows the providers to look for people who have unrecognized need.

In my opinion, it is a much better place to spending marketing dollars.


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  1. Its an interesting topic to cover and while I do agree that social media is a very effective area to invest I also think paid search still holds a lot of value.

    For me paid search in its simplest form is an auction whereby you should only bid against a keyword you can make a profit out of. Therefore it’s a very clear and concise how to make the most out of this area.

  2. The trend is turning perhaps due to measurements of social media signals (likes, follows, ratings and reviews)as an inclusion into Google’s Search algorithm for a website’s popularity and authority. Keyword (seo) concepts are hard to understand, to explain and rankings often randomly change. Social media websites however have advertising systems that can target ads to their readers locality and specific and useful demographics such as age, gender and expressed interests.

  3. Really a very informative post, thanks for sharing this post.

  4. I completely agree with you! Social media has the means to do that!

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