Paid vs Organic: which advertising is best?


July 17, 2023

bird's eye view of a curvy road

As we all have probably learned on our individual B2B journeys, a marketer really never stops utilising new techniques and tools to further their strategy. One thing that I haven’t spoken about before that is absolutely crucial to build awareness, drive traffic and convert leads is paid advertising. Using a balanced mixture of paid and organic ads is an extremely effective tactic. But how do you go about doing it successfully amongst all of the noise already out there?

Firstly, what’s the difference between paid and organic advertising? This one’s kind of a no-brainer. Organic advertising is nearly always free, and generally is more useful when exposed to people that are already interest in your brand and its offerings. On the other hand, paid advertising is yep, you guess it, paid for. This can help you reach a far wider audience filled with potential leads that are perfect for the services you offer. Whilst organic advertising makes you appear more approachable and human, paid advertising comes across as more of a standard sales pitch. This is why it is important to utilise a healthy mixture of the two.

Paid advertising is quite a broad term with a process that should be adhered to. First, what platform do you want this advertising displayed on? Google? Facebook? LinkedIn? Each one has its own rules, tone and parameters, so make sure you tailor your advertising to them. Even if you choose to use the same paid ad campaign on multiple different areas of the internet, you will likely have to tweak it each time to fit that specific site. For example, if you were advertising on Instagram, you’d probably have to go with something visual based with minimal text. Whereas that same ad on say Google would likely scrap the visual and be all about an enticing header and intro sentence. For the purpose of B2B marketing though, you’ll probably be focusing your paid advertising on LinkedIn – where the biggest community of B2B marketers lie. LinkedIn has definitely risen to the occasion, with a dedicated campaign manager designed to guide you through creating a paid ad campaign. They allow you to set the audience filters, budget and time your campaign runs for. It’s an excellent tool for creating easy, long running paid advertising that you can consistently analyse the performance of and tweak.

So now we know what paid advertising is and some examples, let’s go deeper into the many benefits of it. First and foremost, it gets you seen by a far wider audience of potential leads than organic content ever could. Paid advertising also saves your overall strategy rather a lot of time, as it the money spent towards it will ensure it shows up higher on search results than organic content. After all, what would be the point in paying for it if it’s on equal footing with the free stuff? There are, however, a couple of catches to the wonderful world of paid advertising. Firstly, paid advertising doesn’t last beyond what you pay for. Once your budget is up, your ads won’t slowly fade out of existence. Nope, once the money pot runs dry the advert will automatically and immediately disappear. You’ll have to start another campaign with a new budget all over again if you want to keep going. Secondly, and this is another no brainer, paid advertising can be very expensive for results that aren’t always guaranteed. On LinkedIn, you must place a bid price on your ad and beat out other people looking to take up that space. This makes it highly competitive and could lead to you increasing your budget beyond what you initially set.

Furthermore, paid advertising will always hold much more of a risk than organic. You’ll never really know how well your ad is going to perform until you post it up. After a while, you’ll be able to analyse it, and whilst you can use that analysis to improve it, it’s still costing you all the time that it’s up. Not every time can be a success, so what if your ad gets far below the results you were hoping for? Not an awful lot you can do there I’m afraid, just try and be better next time?

Now organic advertising is all about building up trust and building up a dedicated audience that will engage with your content. Always try to push out a regularly flow of organic content on different platforms, people like consistency. Now, as you build up your audience via this organic content, it will actually reduce your need for paid advertising. Never underestimate the organic ways of marketing like word of mouth. Get a couple of high-quality leads, build relationships with them by turning them into clients, and watch the news about your company spread. This is why it’s a good idea to run both paid and organic advertising parallel to each other, as one draws people in, and the other is designed to keep them there.

So, there you have it. Paid advertising and organic advertising were designed to work in tandem, just ensure you maintain consistency and thoroughly plan your paid ads. Good luck!

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