A dilemma that most business marketers face these days is whether to go for paid advertising or free.
You have a budget. And to perform better than your competitors, you will have to align your marketing initiatives towards the best performing channels. And you have to accommodate everything in this budget.
And, it goes without saying; advertising occupies a major part of your marketing strategies as it helps accelerate growth in minimal time.
But often you are not able to gauge whether most of your marketing strategies should be focused on paid advertising or free.
Here I am sharing different models and the reasons why businesses should focus more on paid advertising over free advertising:
Paid Advertising Models
There are so many options available for paid advertising. The major categories are:
- Google Advertising
The most common paid advertising model is PPC (Paid-per-click). Google Product Listing Ads and Google Text-based Ads are some of the most popular types of paid ad channels.
Google is one of the most effective internet platforms.
- Social Media Ads
As per the statistics, social media use has increased manifold over the years.
Paid advertising extends to social media platforms as well. Most of the famous social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are offering PPC advertising facilities. LinkedIn is also a well-known channel for paid ads.
It is expected that in 2019 there will be around 2.77 billion social media users across the globe. With such a number, no business wants to ignore this area.
Social media ads are often used to build email lists. Using social media to create campaigns with automated emails can have a tremendous ROI. The average ROI of email marketing is 3800%.
Here are some advantages of paid advertising.
- Brand Awareness
The internet is full of brands and their ads. If you are a comparatively a smaller brand, with lesser visibility, you need advertising more to establish yourself online.
Paid marketing comes to your rescue and offers opportunities to reach out to your customers.
If you keep waiting for an organic reach, your competitors might outshine you and you would be still waiting for your turn. And, you cannot be sure to get results which are worth the wait.
Paid marketing has a wide reach and can bring in leads from so many sources.
There is a certain amount of credibility that the customers associate with paid ads. It makes them believe that you are a genuine business that can be trusted.
And, if you have chosen some of the most popular forums for paid advertising, they believe you more as you are connecting with them through a credible forum itself.
Credibility is important for conversions. If they trust your brand, they will try your product. You can just focus on your product and its features. And, you do not have to work that extra step for building credibility.
So, who wants to start by inventing the wheel? You can instead harness the already established credibility!
The statistics indicate very good revenues from social media ad campaigns. And a business must always capture avenues which can bring high revenues.
Following is one such data which talks about the social media advertising revenue in million USD for five countries in 2018.
The value for the US is noteworthy!
Everyone wants to achieve a high return on investment. And if paid advertising can get you that, you would definitely like to go for it!
- Focused Efforts
Free advertising has some trial-and-error associated with it. Although you are still working strategically, your time is wasted in attempts which might not bring in significant results.
The paid ads are keyword centered. This helps in getting quality search engine optimization for your products. PPC ads can bring in more traffic to your website. Ultimately, it has multifaceted benefits.
Paid advertising is platform specific. It facilitates targeting specific audiences. Thus you can focus your strategy on specific forums which can bring you more and better leads.
Even among the platforms and campaigns, you can distribute your budget as per your specific needs.
- Monitoring Performance
It is difficult to monitor the impact of free advertising. Even the best tools cannot give you an accurate idea of what is working best for your business.
And, with paid advertising, almost all forums give you analytics data to track the performance of your ad campaign. So, you can analyze and compare.
Different types of reports help you assess the parameters of your choice.
You can further build your strategies focusing on the areas which have a better scope of getting higher quality leads and more conversions. And, those which are not yielding the optimum results can be eliminated from the future campaigns.
Enough of favoring, so let me admit there are problems associated with paid advertising too!
Problems with Paid Advertising
The foremost problem is that there are too many competitors here as well. Paying and yet struggling with the competition sounds absurd. But it is true!
Due to this, you need to budget higher than the others for the desired reach. The budget competition can be tough on your finances.
Also, PPC is getting costlier with more and more businesses opting for it. You have to spare a significant budget for advertising to get the optimum results.
Moreover, there are so many platforms. And, you have to target all those where your prospective customers are present. This is time-consuming and costly too!
It is important to leverage both free and paid advertising channels for your business advertising. But I would say neither should be overdone.
For the established brands though, it may not be as important to spend heavily on paid advertising as is for the smaller and lesser known. Creating brand awareness is initially a priority. And, once the customers know your brand, they will reach out to you even from the organic channels.
An argument that goes in favor of free advertising is that does not incur heavy costs for your business. So, when you have to keep a check on your budget strictly, you can opt for these.
But, when you are spending on business outreach, the costs are an investment. Even if you are not in a position to spend a lot, and depending on your budget, you must have some paid marketing initiatives as well.
Finally, it is important to strike the perfect balance between the two. But, directing more time towards paid marketing is sure to get better results in the immediate scenario.