Organic vs. Paid: Understanding the Basics of Organic Growth and Paid Advertising

And Which to Use for Your Short-Term Marketing Goals and Long-Term Marketing Goals

Growing your audience base and reaching more people is understandably one of your biggest marketing goals. There are two ways of going about reaching your target audience: organic growth and paid advertising.

But what are the differences between organic and paid?

And which helps me meet my brand’s short-term marketing goals?

Which helps me meet my long-term goals? 

Let’s take a look at the answers to those questions. First, we’ll look at the difference between organic and paid for both social media and search engines. Then, we’ll take a look at which (organic vs. paid) meets your short and long-term marketing goals. 

Organic vs. Paid on Social Media Platforms: What’s the Difference?

Organic social media refers to the sharing of unpaid posts. Organic posts can be text only, pictures or video, and can include hashtags. They can even have links or be event listings. Your unpaid posts can promote your products, inform your audience about new products, share industry insights and so much more. In other words, organic social media posts are any posts you make that are unpaid. 

Paid social media is exactly how it sounds; it is a post that you pay for. When you advertise on social media, the platforms all have a variety of ad types you can choose from: video ads, stories ads (like on Instagram), boosted posts (such as on Facebook), carousel ads, challenges (like on TikTok) and more. Organic vs. Paid on Search Engines: What’s the Difference?

Organic vs. Paid on Search Engines: What’s the Difference?

First, it’s important to know what SEO stands for: Search Engine Optimization. Again, the difference here between organic SEO and paid search engine advertising is that one is free and the other is paid for. For example, a few ways you can organically boost your website’s SEO is to include a list of keywords in the metadata of your site, encouraging happy customers to leave reviews on review sites or blogging. The keywords in your site’s metadata are the words that your customers are searching for online. Search engines will read this metadata and if your keyword matches a search term, your website will display in the search results. Review sites will link back to your website’s main page and generally each review will have its own page. The more web pages that link back to your site, the higher your SEO score will be, meaning your site will place higher in search rankings. You also want your blog to link back to your main website and be sure to include keywords in your title, subtitle, search description, image name and alt image tags. Again, these are the keywords that your target audience is searching for online. 

Paid search engine ads are known as PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising. This is when you pay search engines, like Google, to display your website in the top search results or use image ads on partner websites. It’s important to note that if you do PPC advertising, you’ll want to pay close attention to your advertising campaigns, checking in each day to make adjustments. If you don’t, you can blow through your entire advertising budget in 24 hours. 

Using Paid Advertising to Reach Your Short-Term Goals

Paid advertising, whether on social media platforms or search engines, are designed to give you quick results whether that is getting a larger following or boosting sales. This is because paid advertisements boost your brand’s visibility to your target audience. The period you run your advertising campaigns for is short-term as well. This is because it is important to change up your ads. You don’t want to run the same ad for an entire year! People will get bored or worse, tune you out completely. The amount of time you run your ads for is up to you and can depend on your audience and how well your ads are doing for your ROI (return on investment). It is important to note that over time your many different advertising campaigns on both social media and search engines will help build toward your long-term strategies. 

In short, paid advertising = a temporary boost to meet short-term goals. 

Using Organic Posts and SEO to Reach Your Long-Term Goals

Organic posting and SEO both take longer than paid advertising to build traffic to your website or build a following. Here, persistence and patience both pay off. Because you aren’t paying to boost your visibility, you have to do the legwork to meet your goals and this all takes time. Not only does using organic posts and SEO take longer, but they also meet those long-term marketing goals. Organic posts that provide useful information to your target audience help build brand authority. Building brand authority takes time but even once you have it, you have to maintain it by continually posting content that continues to build on what you have. In other words, brand authority is a continuous, long-term goal. 

In short, organic posts and SEO = doing more legwork over time to meet long-term goals. 

Conclusion: Why You Need Both Organic and Paid

Know that organic posting and SEO is just as important as your paid advertising. A well-rounded marketing and advertising strategy will have both short and long-term goals. Not only that, but once someone follows or likes your brand on a social platform because of an ad, you have to do the work to keep them there by leveraging organic content (social posts, blogs, etc.) that retain and engage your audience with content they find useful.