Is Social Advertising Replacing Search?

According to a study released earlier this year by CMO Council, 54 percent of marketers plan to boost their online budgets in 2014. Marketing managers keep gaining confidence in their online efforts as the results they’re able to bring through the different channels available on the web keep growing.

But that’s not the most interesting part of the study. That would be the distribution of their planned investments. It turns out that the area where marketers are willing to spend the most is social media advertising (71 percent). What’s also surprising is that search engine marketing comes last on the list (66 percent).

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It’s apparent that social media is the new black for many online marketers.

In many cases, social ads are cheaper than search ads, and enable us to target new audiences based on demographics and other characteristics. This is something very difficult to achieve with search.

Using Social Ads for Affiliates

The biggest difference between search and social is that the former works purely by matching a given search phrase with the user’s intent. This is often accurate and can give good return rates, but it’s not always the most effective method for all niches.

In some cases, social media menages to produce better results because of its totally different nature. Where search is based on taking the keyword and matching it to an add, social media ads are based on taking a group of people and then creating intent within the selected demographic.

Granted, it does require us to take a guess regarding what type of users might be interested in what we have to offer, but because of it, we have a unique opportunity to reach people who wouldn’t otherwise stumble upon our offer.

Research is Key

At the end of the day, search ads are designed to take a guess at what certain user might be interested in based on the search phrase they’re using. Very often the guess is correct, especially if the phrase is obvious enough. But even so, it always represents just a temporary interest of the user. It’s very common for the same person to be very interested in product X one day, and not interested in it at all the next day.

With social, it’s different. Having done proper research – learning everything we can about our audience – we can make some long term assumptions and pick the right offers according to what we know has worked on other (similar) people.

That is why doing proper research is key with social ads, and it also goes a lot deeper than search marketing research and picking a bunch of “money keywords.”

In the end, social advertising is surely something we should pay a lot of attention to, both in what’s left of this year and going forward in 2015.