Social advertising on networks such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have been around for a mere fraction of the time that PPC advertising has been around. Yet, although still relatively young, is a multi-billion dollar industry that is giving PPC a very good run for its money. Although PPC can suit, pretty much, any type of advertiser and campaign, there is a very good argument that social media marketing can do exactly the same, possibly with better results. For this reason, it is worth looking at the main differences between the platforms, to help advertisers decide as to what suits them the best for this situation.



Native vs Search

The main differentiator between PPC and social advertising is that social advertising adopts a native approach whereas PPC is centered around specific searches.

The way native advertising on social platform works is by showing adverts in a similar format to the content already on the website. Therefore, the advert blends extremely well with the content, making the engagement rate much higher than typical adverts, such as used in paid search results for PPC.

With this, you can expect to get your word out much easier using social advertising, with another reason for this being that the type of advert you can show is much more varied than PPC, which is just text, image or animated (as opposed to text, image, animated, video etc. with social advertising).



Targeting of Campaigns

The way web users are targeted through social advertising is quite a bit different from that of PPC. Yes, you have the same choices as to demographics, age, interests etc. However, there a fundamental difference between each targeting:

  • With PPC, you are specifically targeting those who search certain keyword search phrases, which illustrates they have an interest.
  • With social, you are targeting the type of person who you think would be interested in your advert’s contents, which illustrates they have an interest.

The difference is that with PPC you are more likely to gain a conversion since the web user is fundamentally trying to search for something they are interested in. With social, on the whole, people that come across native adverts on social media do not have a specific interest to search for something they are interested in. They are procrastinating and tend to be chilling around. Therefore, it can become a lot harder to get a conversion in social advertising as oppose to PPC even though the engagement level with social advertising is a lot higher than PPC.


Ultimately, both have pros and cons. For example, PPC tends to be a little harder to set up than social advertising. However, what has been outlined above are the key fundamental differences between the two. With this, question what you are promoting, how you know people would be interested and what your conversion is. From this, you should be able to determine which platform is best to use.

Will created Ask Will Online back in 2010 to help students revise and bloggers make money developing himself into an expert in PPC, blogging SEO, and online marketing. He now runs others websites such as Poem Analysis, Book Analysis, and Ocean Info. You can follow him @willGreeny.

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