Marketers across the globe are constantly plagued by the question; “should I spend my dollars on social media marketing, or search engine marketing?” To help answer this question, MDGAdvertising has produced a really nice infographic breaking down some of the various campaign components you would generally look at when assessing a marketing campaign. These include:
MDG’s review of Lead Generation performance included SEO, PPC and Social Media Marketing as the key metrics. The research which included interviews with more than 500 marketing professionals across B2B and B2C companies produced a single clear winner for lead generation; organic SEO. Although difficult to achieve without a lengthy campaign and a number of outside considerations, organic SEO is a clear winner for lead generation. But one must ask the question, at what cost? Because of the time and expenditure involved in achieving quality search rankings, is this a fair assessment when considering the ROI? Maybe long term, but this metric is very interesting none-the-less.
The Brand Awareness component of this infographic produced social media as the winner according to rankings in terms of objectives. Brand Awareness ranked #1 for social media marketing and #3 for search engine marketing. From my experience, this research is pretty undeniable. Search is great for lead generation, but social is excellent for brand awareness, and certainly a great bet for a quick return on your investment.
With this in mind, although there is still great value in using social media for targeting local users, consumers still rely on search for their local information requests. Consumers will almost always use search to locate information on websites as their starting point, and that includes services such as Google Places. Although social media has great potential in this area, search is still the winner at the moment if you’re looking to reach a local consumer base.
However if it’s interactivity and engagement you’re looking for, marketers will choose social media as their preferred platform, but interestingly not by as much as you would think. Although social media was a winner with 65% of marketing professionals stating they would use social media for increased interactivity, SEO scored 54% and Paid Search scored 34% indicating strong value across both of these channels if handled effectively.
Finally, with changes to search engine algorithms constantly in the mix and strong signs that social signals such as likes, tweets and +1′s affect search performance, the good money when comparing social vs search, is actually on a campaign that includes a mix of content marketing for SEO, and some strong social support for that campaign. As marketers survey the social and search landscapes, we are set to see a large shift toward marketing campaigns that comprise both platforms to achieve a well-rounded result for the content owner.
I agree with the conclusion that organic SEO is the clear winner for lead generation. The first thing that came to my mind was the value that video brings to SEO. When your business dominates the first page of natural Google for different searches you don't give the competition an opportunity to market their business. For example, if you have video in place that shows why your brand is better than your competitor when a consumer does do a search for your competitor your video will dominate the search. Equally important, is that like the article states search is great for lead generation but social is great for brand awareness. I've seen way to many owners that are from the "old school" not understand the value of social media for their business. So many still think that if they build these amazing dealerships that buyers will storm through the door however, that strategy may have worked in the 80's but it's a failing strategy today. In today's market we know that we must fish where the fish are.
At the end of the day consumers still rely on search for local information requests. And your mission if you accept it is to utilize SEO/SEM/PPC, social media and VSEO so that you can capture your consumers at the ZMOT or at their point of interest.