There is a war between ranking organically using SEO techniques and paid traffic. Although SEO is highly sought after, paid advertising has ruled the roost in internet marketing spending over the past decade. The question is, why? Why does paid advertising take the prize in annual spending over SEO, which leads to organic placement on the search engine results page? This is a good question because organic placement provides better results than paid placement.

Organic vs. Paid

When determining the advantages of organic over paid, simply look at the placement of organic rankings versus paid advertising. When searching for something on the internet, the top three results on the search engine results page tend to get more attention. In fact, according to MOZ, those three spots are going to be seen by 100% of searchers. The percentage goes down for placements 4 through 10. Rank 10 is going to be seen by 20% of users.

When comparing to the paid ads that are displayed along the side of the page, the top ad is going to be seen by 50% of participants and each next placement will be seen by 10% fewer people than the previous placement. Visibility is considerably higher for organic results. When considering clicks, it only makes sense that ads will see fewer clicks because fewer people see them.

Also, consider that mobile users conduct searches on their phones. If they are on the go, they may use the voice search function. When search engine results come up on phones, organic results are produced. The only time ads may be presented on a mobile phone is when the mobile user visits a publisher website that displays ads within its content.

What About PPC on Social Media?

In recent years, pay-per-click advertising on social media has taken the ad realm by storm. It can be effective when the ad resonates well with the targeted audience, but it comes at a cost. There are also some considerations to be made. For instance, ads show up on the side of the screen just as they do on a search engine results page. Unfortunately, this area of the screen can be overlooked. Think of a Facebook newsfeed page and how busy the sidebars are. It’s almost impossible to keep up.

Now think about the sponsored ads that show up in a Facebook newsfeed or Twitter feed. They can disappear about as fast as they show up. Some advertisers wonder why they have a high reach but low engagement. Busy newsfeeds are the culprits. However, advertisers keep trying in hopes that they will create that magic ad that will get the engagement they desire.

On mobile phones, the sidebar ads don’t show up, and newsfeed ads can be scrolled through very quickly. Many companies have realized they need to go the video ad route in order to appeal more to mobile users, which make up 1 billion of Facebook’s users. The Wall Street Journal found that Twitter users use mobile 85% of the time.

Don’t Discount SEO

Although SEO isn’t a practice used in social media marketing, you can’t go without it in your marketing strategy. Those organic results are very important, as demonstrated by the numbers mentioned earlier in this article. You can use ad campaigns to complement your SEO strategy, but you don’t want paid advertising to be the backbone of your marketing program.