Paid Search vs. Paid Social vs. Programmatic: What’s the Difference?

In today’s constantly evolving advertising landscape, it can be challenging for businesses to appeal to their target audience through organic advertising alone. Advertising strategies such as paid search, paid social, and programmatic campaigns, however, are proving highly valuable to growing businesses because of their ability to cultivate new leads and appeal to “bottom-of-the-funnel” customers.

While the world of paid advertising can seem overwhelming, understanding paid search, paid social, and programmatic campaigns can be extremely useful to determine the best advertising approach for your business. Let’s dig into these advertising strategies and the different ways that they boost companies’ sales and visibility. 

Breaking Down Pay-Per-Click Advertising 

Pay-per-click, or PPC, is an online advertising model that is used to drive traffic to advertisers’ websites. As its name suggests, advertisers pay publishers each time that someone clicks on their advertisement. According to Forbes, PPC visitors are 50% more likely than organic visitors to make a purchase. Paid search and paid social are two of the most prominent types of advertising on the market today. 

Paid Search 

Every time that an Internet user types, “Best local coffee shop” or “gym near me” into search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, they encounter numerous paid search advertisements. Paid search is an attractive option for businesses to improve their sales, given that customers are typically ready to make a purchase when they head to their favorite search engine. 

However, while paid search is a terrific way to appeal to customers who already know what they want, it can be costly. Even if customers don’t follow through on their purchases, the advertiser still has to pay for each click. Compared to paid social advertisements, paid search can seem expensive, but by looking at the bigger picture of whom you want to advertise to, you can more easily determine if paid search is the right choice for your business. 

Paid Social

Unlike paid search, paid social does not target customers who already know what they want. Taking the form of ads on Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, LinkedIn, and other social media networks, paid social advertisements are an effective strategy to boost brand visibility, build a loyal customer base, and spread the word about an innovative product or service. Paid social ads are generally less expensive than paid search ads and tend to reach a larger audience. When it comes to paid social vs display advertisements (which appear at the top and on the sides of websites), paid social ads are typically more effective at capturing the customer’s attention. 

That being said, it’s important to consider that paid social ads must appeal to customers, convince them of a need or problem and proceed to sell their product or service as the solution. Paid search ads, however, reach customers who are poised to make a purchase, and are searching for the right vendor. In this way, considering PPC vs paid social’s cost and reach can help inform which of these two advertising strategies best suits your business. 

What is Programmatic Advertising?

Lastly, programmatic advertising is a highly effective strategy that utilizes software to buy ads across a wide range of platforms. Programmatic campaigns bring new leads to the top of the PPC conversion funnel, which increases site traffic and sales. Like paid social, it provides a rich supply of audience data that can help businesses hone in on their target audiences. When it comes to programmatic advertising vs Google ads, businesses can actually improve their ad quality thanks to the diverse data collected during programmatic advertising, whereas Google’s data is comparatively limited. 

Programmatic campaigns can function independently to some degree, but that doesn’t mean that they should be left entirely alone. Programmatic ads need a human touch to tweak settings, key performance indicators, and campaign information. Considering paid search vs programmatic, both strategies offer precise targeting, but programmatic can support almost any marketing channel. Businesses should update their demand-side blacklist regularly to ensure that their ads do not appear on sensitive or unsuitable websites. 

Master PPC and Programmatic Advertising With C1 Partners 

Choosing between paid search, paid social, display, and programmatic advertising can be a daunting task. However, the good news is that you don’t have to navigate advertising alone — our skilled C1 Partners are here to help you find the perfect advertising approach that will help your business thrive. 

With nearly a decade of experience helping business leaders like you develop tailor-made SEO, PPC, and programmatic solutions, we are eager to upgrade your advertising strategy. To learn more about how you can revolutionize your business’ advertising approach, connect with one of our friendly professionals by calling (303) 848-3042 or emailing us at info@c1-partners.com today.