Gaining more leads, increasing sales and improving ROIs for marketing efforts are some of the ultimate goals for all marketing companies. Now, if we look at the present digital marketing landscape, we get to see two very distinctive and powerful approaches dominating the industry namely; content marketing and paid ads.
I am sure you must have heard about both the techniques and wanted to know which one is more suited for your business.
So, this time around I have come up with the detailed content marketing vs paid ads comparison to help you understand the scope and benefits of each of these powerful digital marketing techniques and how they can help you achieve business bottom lines.
- Paid ads: In paid marketing, you pay the search engine for the clicks and views of your online content. It’s just like the advertisements you see on televisions (just that it’s much more targeted than TV commercials).
- Content marketing: That’s an organic effort where consistent high-quality content is generated as a means to improve rankings in the search engine and improve the traffic to the site.
Now, as I said before, both of these are powerful digital marketing techniques and come with their pros and cons. Both of these can be much rewarding provided you are able to implement them the right way, whereas, done poorly can be disastrous for businesses.
Starting with paid ads, it’s one of the most widely adopted digital marketing strategies at present. It’s a great technique for businesses looking to gain more reach and increase visibility for their products/services instantly. On Google, this would be achieved by targeting keywords or phrases that reflect the search queries made by the users. The paid ads will also need to be complemented by the landing page, where you would like the visitors to land. Interestingly, paid ads aren’t just limited to Google, and can be done on social platforms as well. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and others are ideal platforms for paid ads, enabling businesses to improve their reach to a highly targeted audience. These platforms give you various filters, to improve the reach of your ads including age, sex, interests, region, job titles and others to improve your ROIs.
Another great feature you can leverage to improve the sales and revenue for your business is the “remarketing”. This is basically when you target your ads to the audience who have visited your website. For instance, as an eCommerce store, you can target the paid ads to customers who have earlier landed on some of your product pages. This way, you can create highly-customized ad copies to pull visitors back to your site or even offer them some incentives to close the sale. Yeah, it may sound a little creepy, but believe me, it’s highly effective.
So, in essence, paid ads give you the tools and features required to completely customize the marketing content and come up with ad copies that include everything the audience wants, thus maximizing your chances to increase conversion rates and enhance business revenues.
Ok, now let’s see some of the potential benefits of using Paid ads technique:
- When done the right way, it helps to improve sales in a short time. Paid ads are particularly useful to boost sales during a promotion or holidays discount
- Paid ads generate quick results with A/B testing. These are also useful to identify the content customers’ are responding to
- It helps to bring your services/products right in front of the target audience quickly and much easier as compared to search engine optimization techniques
- Paid ads give businesses more filters and features to reach the right audience who are actively looking for the services/products offered by the business
With all the positives of paid ads, there certainly are many cons as well. To start with, it is important to note that paid ads are no magic bullet that will transform your business into a multi million dollars company overnight. So, let’s see some of the cons of paid ads:
- I strongly believe that paying to get customers slowly but surely make companies solely dependent on paid ads. And if we are to look at the budget we are talking about, the monthly cost of paid ads can become as high as USD 50k per month, yielding a profit of maybe 10k or even lower. While the ROIs may vary from business to business, however, relying solely on paid ads to drive sales is definitely not worth the efforts
- When relying solely on paid ads, you are nowhere over the internet without the budget. As soon as your budget ends, your visibility and reach would simply disappear as it wasn’t there, to begin with
- The rise of ad blockers are also closing in the opportunities for many audiences
- An average person see around 5000 ads per day, which makes most of the audience immune to pay any attention to the ads
- According to statistics, over 80% millennials don’t trust the paid ads, they will instead rely on organic results more
These sound scary, right? Now you must be thinking that with all these cons, are paid ads worth the money?
Well, I can’t deny that these are some scary cons, but that doesn’t mean that you can ignore the effectiveness of paid ads. Here are some considerations to make when going with paid ads:
- Paid ads don’t work like an automated function where all you need to do is to press the button and wait for sales to happen. Instead, you would have to analyze and research a great deal about the target audience and keywords to be able to come up with engaging and thorough ad copies that can make sales
- Since you are paying for every click, you need to be hyper-focused to target audience to make sure that the audience that lands on your website take the actions, so you get the return on your investment
Ok, I guess that nicely sums up our introduction and briefing to the paid ads. Now, let’s see the alternative technique; content marketing and how it may help businesses to boost sales and revenues.
Content marketing has remained one of the most effective and powerful digital marketing techniques for long (when I say long, it means as long as digital marketing has come into existence). So, I guess you may very well realize the potential of content marketing and rewards you can reap out of the technique. While the idea behind content marketing seems pretty simple, in reality, it is a multi-facet technique with various modules involved. Some of the components involved in content marketing include blogs, articles, newsletters, email marketing, press releases, infographics, videos and much more. The idea behind all this stuff is to become an expert in your industry, which will help you to become part of your audience and once you become part of your audience, you won’t just be a business, you’ll be a brand.
Ok now let’s see some of the pros and cons of content marketing, so we can assess the technique against the effectiveness of paid ads.
If paid ads aren’t a magic bullet, then neither content marketing is a magic wand. The key to success in content marketing is all about consistently producing high-quality, richly-resourced and informative content across various platforms. Here are some of the benefits of using content marketing to boost sales and revenues:
- High-quality content marketing is like the bliss of fresh air amongst all the “noise” in the digital marketing industry. Online users long to read, listen and hear informative posts which aren’t all about the marketing but carries some value on its own
- High-quality content (in any form that’s text, infographics or videos) relates to the audience and create emotions, which may result in a loyal customer base
- Ask me and I will say that genuine content marketing is the only honest marketing approach, where you don’t force users to make the purchase but offer them real information so they are able to make their own decisions
- Content marketing is one of the most powerful SEO techniques, which help businesses achieve higher search engine rankings (organically), which aren’t temporary but permanent positions
- People like to trust organic result more than paid marketing results
Ask any marketing expert and he will tell you that content marketing is the only true marketing that’s left in the world and that content marketing remains the most impactful marketing for the future.
With so much positivity, you must be moved towards the impact of content marketing. However, I would recommend not making your decisions so fast. That’s because we are still to see some cons of the technique which may include:
- While you may not be able to comprehend at first, in reality, content marketing is equally (if not more) expensive as paid ads
- To be able to achieve the desired outcome from content marketing, you need to come up with high-quality and superior content over and over again. And the cost of such high-quality content won’t be much lower, you can be sure of this
- Unlike paid ads, content marketing doesn’t deliver instant results. It may take as much as 6 months to 1 year for content marketing to deliver desired results; that too if you are able to come up with quality content for the whole period consistently
Again, too many cons, right? Now you would again be confused if the content marketing is worth the investment?
In all honesty, it’s worth every penny of your investment. Just a few considerations for you:
- Consistency is the key to content marketing. You can’t rely on a single piece of high-quality content for success, rather you would have to come up with the same standards over and over again
- Be patient, content marketing is more like the marathon where businesses with the highest patience take it all
Content Marketing vs. Paid Ads – Comparing The Two Techniques
Let’s break down the winners between the two techniques into various KPIs:
- Targeting Audience: As far as targeting the right audience is concerned, paid ads with hyper-targeting possibility is the clear winner
- The time required for ROIs: Again, paid ads lead here as well with its ability to deliver instant results
- Cost-effectiveness: While content marketing is nowhere near as affordable as for the liking of most businesses, it nonetheless is much more cost-effective with better returns as compared to paid ads
- Trust-Building: Again, the advantage lies with content marketing as users tend to rely more on organic results as compared to paid ads
- SEO: Content marketing is the clear winner as one of the most impactful SEO technique, whereas, paid ads do not influence search engine results
- Risk Factor: Until you deliberately try to scam people with rubbish content, there is no risk factor, whereas, paid ads do come with the high-risk bracket
- Longevity: Paid ads are only relevant until you have the budget, whereas, the results from content marketing are permanent. So, the advantage lies with content marketing
Content Marketing vs. Paid Ads – So, Who’s The Winner?
Well, ladies and gentlemen, we do have a clear winner here and that’s content marketing…
While content marketing may be seen as a lengthy and slow technique to bring results, the results of the technique are definitely worth the time and energy investment. Not to forget, done the right way, content marketing will simply transform a business into a brand – which is the zenith of all digital marketing efforts.
Danya leads the digital marketing department at Digital Gravity, a mobile app development company. As a marketing geek, she is constantly after new techniques to optimize sales and marketing prospects for clients in a crowded marketplace. Danya’s mission is to streamline the marketing process by leveraging digital technology and optimizing marketing techniques to bring better results.