Paid media versus quality content: which is more effective?

April 6th, 2018
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As the old adage goes: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Paid media

Charl Bosman, Paid Media Manager

Paid media is all about putting your content in front of the right people at the right moment.

In an ever-more-competitive digital marketplace, quality content no longer reaches even your most avid followers – let-alone your target market. This trend runs through both social media and website search visibility.

Paid media on social media platforms allows you to amplify your messaging and reach the people that matter to you, rendering organic reach mostly unrealistic – regardless of the quality of the content. It is also more objective-based and almost endlessly targetable: a well-executed promotion strategy allows a business or brand to not only achieve specific goals, but also to track them effectively.

In terms of SEO, for example, organic rankings for competitive keywords are a long-term undertaking, whereas paid search and display impressions can deliver immediate results.

Paid media campaigns are measurable, in real-time, allowing marketers to measure ROI immediately and adapt according to a client’s needs – whereas a focus on content generally requires much more input for the same measure of success.

Quality content

Clerissa Visser, Content Manager

High-quality content delivered consistently will, firstly, gain your page loyal followers. These consumers will at the end of the day generally be more likely to actually buy your product, rather than just engage with your content on social platforms. Secondly, a content strategy that truly resonates with your audience will also assist with amplifying your organic engagement and reach metrics.

That being said, however: should your content not be reaching the right people, you may as well be blowing smoke into a hurricane.

While paid media will often drive up both your reach and engagement metrics, you can often see the difference between content that has a balanced and effective strategy by its engagement rate: a decrease in engagement rate is often (but not always) an indicator that your content is either not reaching the right people or isn’t connecting with them.

With enough budget you can reach anyone you would like to talk to, but if you aren’t speaking their language, your “elevator pitch” to a potential new consumer won’t mean much.

The verdict?

Good paid media will simply get a foot in the door, but good content will get you a seat at the table.

Paid media allows your quality content to work for you as intended. Without quality content, you may reach your target market, but converting them into actual customers will be a challenge.

At the end of the day, a consolidated strategy will play to both strengths and not just make your content visible, but will also provide a lasting brand impression and create loyal consumers – both on social and in the marketplace.

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