Content Marketing vs. Ads: Where Should You Focus Your Money?

Marketing Spending SEO vs PPC

It’s the great debate of digital marketing. Should I invest my marketing spend on paid channel ads or focus my resources on a content marketing strategy?

Before we jump in, remember no rule says you have to choose one over the over. While many successful marketing campaigns today rely on a mix of content marketing and ads for branding and lead gen, 70 percent of people would still rather learn about products through good content.

You can generate leads using either paid ads or content marketing. Using both can be effective. But you should understand how each of these marketing strategies works and know what ROI you can expect from each.

Of course, there are no exact figures about which works better than the other. Every business will achieve different results.

Want to know how to calculate the cost of content marketing? Use this formula.

This article will help you determine where you should focus your money, starting with outlining the objectives of each strategy:

  • Paid ads have a primary focus: to promote or sell something.

  • Content marketing is a tool that enables you to connect valuable content with the right audience at the right time.

You should experiment with what is the ideal percentage of your marketing budget to go towards paid ads versus content marketing. But generally speaking, it's best to start by first investing in a content marketing strategy that yields quality, relatable content, and then use paid ads to boost your content reach.

PPC Can’t Succeed Without Winning Content

Ads can include everything from search ads, display ads, to social ads, and even native advertisement.

Ads don’t work without good content. If your ad is perfect, but it drives users to a page filled with subpar content, users will notice. So while your ad may have been successful at attracting visitors to a landing page, your content wasn’t able to convert them into a contact.

Possibly worse, search engines will start to pick up that users aren’t engaging and bouncing back (when a user clicks on a link but instantly clicks the back button to navigate back to the search results), which have adverse effects on your search rankings.

Try to think of paid advertising as an opportunity to boost your content. With PPC, you can drive more visitors and leads to your content.

Devote Energy on Marketable Content

Content marketing is one of the most sustainable, return-heavy marketing strategies you can employ. According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising.

Creating good content is difficult, though. And you have to be able to do it well if you want to see a return. That means you can’t shortcut your way to results.

To start, how do you determine what constitutes good content? The process is different depending on whether you're a small, local business or large-scale corporation. The target audience you're going for will determine what people want to look at, read, and engage with regarding content.

There also isn’t a cookie-cutter formula for how that audience will engage with your efforts. It's going to differ from cities, geographic regions, beliefs, and their emotional temperament. Understanding your audience is the first step to creating quality content.

Final Note

You can generate more traffic and better leads to convert into customers with both content marketing and ads, but the time frame will differ.

As always, time is one of the most significant and most elusive factors in any investment decision you’ll make for your business. When it comes to growing your business and generating the leads you want, it comes down to how you use your time. Most importantly, you need to create content that speaks with and engages people if you want your business to be seen and heard.

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