Money Matters: Should You Spend More On Search or Social Advertising?

Money Matters: Should You Spend More On Search or Social Advertising?

December 10, 2015 - 7 minutes read - Digital Advertising

It’s undisputed that internet spending is the smartest move for advertisers, as we trend away from costly TV and billboard models. Yet, there are a plethora of decisions to make once you shift these precious dollars to your digital marketing budget. Do you invest heavily in search marketing or social media? Various opinions have been flying around the marketing article circuit for years. We can offer individualized business coaching tailored to your business goals and unique situation, but for the masses, we created a quick advertising guide to help clarify a few points.

Search Engine Marketing

Though an “old dinosaur” of digital marketing, Search has always been a powerful player in traffic generation and conversions. The cost of Google Adwords PPC keeps going up as a result of fierce keyword competition, but Search still takes the lion’s share of most businesses’ marketing budget. Yet, we also see the shift toward more paid social starting to happen.


  • Most people entering terms into the search engine are interested in making a purchase.
  • Google Customer Match makes it easier for brands to zero-in on their target audience.
  • Customers are drawn to a company’s site, rather than direct advertising, which can feel pushy.
  • Paid ads are easy to set up, even if you have very limited time and expertise.


  • There’s no guarantee that the person clicking on your ad will become a customer.
  • Competitors can try to sabotage your advertising campaign by clicking on your ad and using up your budget.
  • The cost of bidding can become expensive if you do not have a PPC strategy and an experienced PPC manager running your campaigns.
You Might Also Like: Google Customer Match: 5 Takeaways For Advertisers

Marketing spend trends

Image Source:

Social Media Marketing

A CMO study found that 54% of B2B marketers said they’ve used social media to generate leads. What brands love about social networks is the multitude of creative ways they can tell their brand story to generate enthusiasm, love and loyalty among existing customers and prospects. Measuring total impact can be challenging, but investments in social media have consistently grown each year.


  • Much demographic information about your audience is provided for you, including age, birthday, location, interests, friends, work and recent online activity.
  • Word-of-mouth advertising is pretty much a given, with the ease of sharing endorsement information on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. In fact, research shows that 75% of the 18-26 demographic have made purchases based on social media recommendations.
  • It’s easy to quickly spot and respond to any negative press.
  • Social signals help with Search Engine Optimization.
  • Pinterest referrals spend 70% more than visitors from non-social channels like search.
  • More marketers are planning to increase spending on social media than search this year.
  • Regular interactions with your brand on social media platforms nurtures brand loyalty. According to Social Media Today71% of consumers are more likely to make purchase decisions based on social media interactions with brands.
  • Social media offers many ways to retarget and win back wayward customers.


  • Not all consumers are active on social media, so you could be missing your target completely or missing a huge pool of constituents, depending on your industry and clientele.
  • Social network users are not explicitly on the site to buy, so you need to do a bit more work for your conversions.
  • Social media can be a time drain, with 64% of digital marketers on social media for more than six hours a day.
  • In the absence of direct conversions, true impact can be difficult for brands to measure on social media.

marketing spending plans

Image Source:

The Bottom Line

The easy answer is to invest some resources into both modes of advertising. As Wealth Management Magazine contends, paid, owned and earned media are crucial to a successful marketing mix these days.

If you’re a small business starting out, putting more money into search is worth your while because it’s easy to gain traction and begin converting sales. For a small company, an investment of $1,000 in Google Ads over a six-month period can go a long way. However, you can maximize the reach of a few hundred dollars each month by paying to play on social media as well.

INC also recommends hiring a marketing firm at approximately $4,000 a month to see generous returns over the next six months. Small Biz Trends echoes that it’s almost always “worth it” to invest in a social media consultant and social media advertising. There are many ways to think about social media investment for the first time, but it will probably involve sinking money into strategy, site development, content, channel management, campaigning, and monitoring.

More established firms are expected to have a fresh social media presence. Word-of-mouth love on social networks goes a long way in lowering the cost of customer acquisition by fostering more brand loyalty among repeat customers.

Search Engine Marketing or Social Media Marketing?

Need help developing your digital advertising strategy and deciding on a budget for your AdWords campaign? Mod Girl Marketing has a team of highly trained Adwords Certified professionals who will continually test, measure and update your pay per click advertising campaign to increase your qualified leads. We can also assist your business generate leads with social media marketing while maintaining a positive ROI. Contact us to learn more!

Next Post
Tags: , ,