Paid media is crucial to any comprehensive marketing campaign, allowing businesses to reach their desired audience and amplify their message effectively.
However, that’s only part of the equation. It’s also important for businesses to strike a balance between organic and paid media. A well-rounded marketing strategy should take advantage of the unique benefits of both tactics to maximize the reach and impact of a campaign.
But what does that look like in practice? Let’s explore some of the key roles of paid media and ways you can use it to complement organic marketing efforts.
Paid Media vs. Organic Media — What’s the Difference?
If you’re unfamiliar with the difference between these two approaches, paid media refers to marketing efforts involving paid promotion or advertising to reach an audience. This includes search ads, social media ads, banner ads, and even non-digital methods like television commercials. Simply put, the goal is to spend part of your marketing budget quickly and efficiently to reach a larger audience and introduce them to a product or service.
On the other hand, organic media includes marketing strategies that aren’t directly funded and — in some cases — may not even explicitly promote a product or brand. This can include content marketing, social media engagement, and search engine optimization (SEO). With organic marketing, businesses seek to attract and retain customers by creating relevant content that naturally drives traffic.
What Is Paid Media Good For?
While many marketers prioritize organic growth, it would be an oversight to ignore the many benefits paid media offers, especially in the context of a hybrid marketing strategy. Some of these benefits include:
Paid media is ideal for generating leads and putting your content in front of new customers at a scale you simply can’t replicate through organic means. It can also be a useful way to push through algorithmic barriers and connect with an audience that would otherwise be unlikely to stumble across your content.
With paid media, marketers have more minute control over the placement and timing of their ads, which can be very useful if a business is trying to reach specific customers at a specific
time based on its target audience analysis. Most paid media platforms also provide robust analytics and reporting tools that can provide clearer insight into key metrics like reach, engagement, and conversion rates.
A key benefit of paid media is that it allows businesses to carefully target their ideal audiences based on customer demographics, interests, and behavior. This can also involve geographical targeting, a strategy ideal for brick-and-mortar businesses that rely on foot traffic or businesses that provide local services.
While you can think of organic marketing as a long-term growth strategy, paid media is a fast, flexible option that can produce results quickly. This can be especially important for campaigns based around limited-time offers, such as flash sales, holiday deals, and limited-run products.
Creating an Effective Hybrid Strategy
So what’s the best way to balance paid and organic media? The key is to play into the strengths of both approaches. A perfect example of this is using paid advertising to highlight your best organic content. This can simultaneously increase reach and provide value to your audience, establishing a business’s authority and credibility while driving future organic traffic.
The speed and precise targeting that paid media provide also make for a great opportunity to conduct tests that improve the results of future marketing efforts, allowing businesses to make data-driven decisions about what kind of content to focus on. Even the best and most informative content won’t be of much use if it’s not what your target audience is looking for. Therefore, you can take advantage of paid media’s faster results to quickly run some A/B tests and iterate on a content strategy that can pay dividends in the long run.
Paid media can be leveraged to boost reach, improve targeting, and quickly generate new leads, but it would be a mistake to rely on it alone. Instead, businesses should incorporate it into a hybrid strategy that provides the best of both worlds to maximize their approach.