Article Written by Katina Jaye Beveridge, ASBAS Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre

In this digital age where organic reach is continuously dropping, paid advertising has been the life-saving option for most businesses. The two major advertising platforms available today is social media and Google ads. Both advertising platforms are great for reaching out to your target audience and promoting your business.

But for small businesses with limited advertising budget, the question is: which platform brings the best ROI?

The answer is — it depends. Social media and Google are great advertising avenues, but one can be better than the other depending on your goals, your audience, and your budget. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each platform to help you decide where to invest your advertising dollars.

Paid Search vs Paid Social

Paid search is a tested advertising strategy that revolves around the use of keywords. The user types in the query on the search bar, then Google (or some other search engine) comes up with the most relevant results. At the top of these organic results, you’ll see the ads that match your search.

Paid social, on the other hand, allows marketers to target specific social media users based on their social media profiles and activities.

Main Differences Between PPC and Social Media Ads

  • Format – Google ads come mainly in text format. The ads are shown when doing a query and are located at the top of the organic search results. Social media ads, on the other hand, can be text, images, videos, slide show, or a mix of these media formats.
  • Targeting – Google is equipped with laser-targeting features to present ads to the right potential buyers. You can target users based on the time of the day, keywords used, device used, or even browsing history. Social media ads, on the other hand, target audiences based on profile parameters, such as gender, age, location, likes, interests, job, and others.
  • Cost – The average cost per click for a Google ad is $1-$2. Social media ads, on the other hand, can cost as low as $1. However, take note that PPC measures clicks while social ads measure impressions.

Which Is Better?

At the end of the day, you need to look at where you customers are, the type of message you want to send across, and how much you want to spend, before deciding between Google ads and social media ads.