Paid or organic traffic – which is better for your digital marketing strategy? It’s easy to get caught up in the pros and cons of prioritizing organic social media content or catchy paid advertisements, as it may seem beneficial to focus on one or the other. However, the best way to use both strategies is often to incorporate them together.
Paid and organic traffic are separate parts of the same whole, both aiming to bring more awareness and engagement with the brand. Paid traffic is a more traditional marketing approach, putting forward paid advertisements and promotions to attract target audiences and produce leads. Meanwhile, organic traffic represents a modern spin on marketing, using regular free content on social media or websites to build awareness and relationships with potential customers.
Like most things in marketing, both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses.
Dealing with the individual weaknesses of paid and organic traffic can be challenging, but their strengths can easily overlap and compensate for each other. Keep reading to find out the short term and long term benefits of each, and how to begin incorporating them both into your marketing strategy.
Short term vs long term benefits
Paid social media provides many short-term benefits to engage customers. Working directly with social media platforms can help target specific demographics with relevant interests to your brand. This can lead to an instantaneous spike in sales and engagement.
It also helps that thanks to advancing technology, over 2.14 billion people have started shopping online since 2021, usually viewing options on social media stores. Advertisements have become bread and butter for many modern shoppers and are likely to invite immediate interest with the right approach.
Of course, paid traffic hardly guarantees views or engagement. Not only are people likely not to pay attention to paid social media advertisements (unless they’re looking for similar products or services), but such advertisements can also be costly. TikTok, one of the most popular social media platforms in 2023, can cost $500 minimum for a single campaign, with influencers costing up to $2,000.
Meanwhile, organic traffic has become popular with brand marketers for its long-term benefits. Brands can post appealing or helpful content on social media accounts to engage with followers and potential customers. These posts can also be a great way to showcase your brand’s value and voice, allowing followers to develop a positive relationship with the brand image over time.
While organic traffic sounds brilliant in practice, it’s often beholden to the platform functions. All social media platforms perform on different algorithms that can change rapidly, making it difficult for brands to adjust their content optimally.
Why not incorporate both?
Both approaches appeal to parallel benefits, with paid traffic providing immediate but temporary returns while organic traffic builds lengthy but sustained customer relationships.
The two also have complimentary weaknesses – paid traffic struggles to achieve affordable engagement, while organic traffic writhes with platforms for audience exposure.
Incorporating both in your strategy serves to improve each approach’s efficiency. Having difficulty making paid content that connects with audiences? Start building a rapport through free content posting. Is your social media content being edged out of the algorithm? Collaborate with influencers or pay those platforms to boost it
While this combination sounds good on paper, there can be a lot of challenges to its implementation. Here are some tips you can consider balancing your approaches.
Testing and obtaining data
The first thing to consider before integrating paid and organic traffic content is to obtain data. Research your primary target audience and their interests, what platforms they use, what keywords they search for, and what they engage with.
One essential testing tactic to use on smaller organic social media is A/B testing, which narrows leads and reduces larger risks by posting a variety of content on a separate smaller scale before launching bigger campaigns. With readily available analytics, social media can be a great way to test the market for a variety of audiences.
You can test all kinds of content through social media, including copywriting, advertisements, visuals, or even formatting. After initial testing, you can adjust your approach based on the responses, improving the chances of audiences receiving your strategy well in paid and larger organic traffic practices.
While organic social media traffic gives you more data to process, you’ll still need to find a way to bring more eyes to organic content. Paid traffic can help boost this awareness by working directly with social platforms and search engines, effectively increasing the chance of engagement and boosting your best organic content.
Websites especially benefit from search engine exposure, though there can be numerous obstacles to reaching the top of a search. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can help by increasing organic traffic exposure and will help reach your target audience more frequently.
While you can similarly boost exposure through paid advertisements on social media platforms, there are other interesting ways to use paid traffic on sites like Twitter or Instagram. Collaborating with influencers to advertise the brand’s organic content has become one of the most common paths to take.
Measuring with tools and frameworks
Once you’ve integrated your paid and organic social media traffic, you’ll need to measure them both on their own merits. For organic traffic, you can immediately look up engagement on social media analytics or page placement on search engines. Social media analytic points to look out for include impressions, clicks, shares, comments, engagement rates, and much more. Meanwhile, SEO is rated by seeing how many of your web pages appear in relevant keyword searches.
Meanwhile, paid traffic can be measured through the different tools given by relevant platforms. In PPC, Google Ads and Microsoft’s Bing Ads provide important metrics to measure the advertisement’s engagement. Consider your click-through rate, or how many impressions led to people clicking your ads. After that, you can assess the conversion rate, or how many of those clicks resulted in purchases or other marketing objectives.
Paid and organic traffic are perfect partners for a brand’s marketing strategy and can do wonders with the right amount of planning. Organic traffic’s ability to obtain large amounts of data and establish long-term relationships can help paid traffic’s more rudimentary promotion efforts, while paid traffic can assist organic traffic in boosting short-term engagement and sales. After following these tips, you’ll be able to balance the two traffic approaches at once and reap both their benefits with minimal risk.