Why Search+Social Will Always Beat Search Vs. Social
We have found ourselves, lately, having a lot of conversations with clients around the pros and cons of Search (organic, PPC, etc) and the pros and cons of paid social media (ie: Facebook Ads). And, of course, the pros and cons of pairing the two. In a simple way of explaining it, we know that social facilitates branding an engagement and search helps facilitate conversions by driving traffic, leads and sales. So that alone should be a fairly good foundation for an argument to pair the two together in digital to generate leads and nurture them through conversion.
If you couple that with recent research data that is validating the complementary nature of the two platforms, it adds another brick. Catalyst, a search and social marketing agency, issued a report that confirmed that consumers are using both search and social media platforms through the entire customer journey.
But, there’s more to this then meets the eye.
Did you know…
- When Facebook began selling ad space, it was done through an auction based ad marketplace that leveraged interest- and demographic-based targeting. This marketplace was purposely analogous to the keyword-driven auction marketplace that Google and other search engines offer. This made it REALLY easy for Facebook to build an extraordinary ad business by making it super easy for companies to streamline the mechanics of social ad buying.
- Just in the last year, Google and Facebook have introduced ad products that essentially borrow from each other’s playbook. And both are making mobile the centerpiece (no surprise, really).
- Social is becoming a greater resource for research and discovery, particularly among millennials. This is not a claim that search is loosing ground to social as the key signal of intent, but it is playing a larger role than before.
So, why do you need the right mix and how do you find it? That is certainly the golden egg that all of us as marketers search for on behalf of our clients. Look at these statistics that explain the WHY:
- 90% of customers use search to discover, explore and engage. 72% of these consumers trust the search results.
- 85% of customers use social for discovery and purchase consideration. 81% reported that they purchased a product after initially hearing about it through their social connections. It’s that implied endorsement. Unfiltered and trusted “review” so to speak.
- And if that isn’t enough, if you combine the two – exposure to both search and social advertising – the Catalyst study shows that those consumers spend as much as $250 more over the last 3 months, and are 9% more likely to act as a brand advocate.
So HOW do you find the right mix? Start with the basics:
- Strongly align and integrate search and social marketing efforts BEFORE the messages get to the consumer.
- Leverage each channel for the strengths it supports along the customer journey.
- Test. Measure. Adjust.