Strengths and Weaknesses of Paid Advertising

Have you ever felt both nervous and optimistic about launching a new advertising campaign? I know I have – plenty of times. Advertising is the turning point for a majority of contemporary businesses, since the way you design a marketing strategy can skyrocket your sales or eliminate your business from the market. It is also a delicate financial issue. Social media spending in the U.S. is expected to reach more than $17 billion in 2019. This is a huge figure, and it suggests that each click you pay for has to be lucrative and meaningful.
With this in mind, there are some things that you need to know about digital marketing, and paid advertising in particular.

Pros and Cons of Social Media Advertising

You’ve probably heard many times that nothing is completely black or white in life. The same principle goes for paid online ads, so let’s see what the good and the bad sides of social media advertising are.


Quick results
All of you marketers out there struggling to create good SEO strategies probably wish that you could somehow produce the highest level of efficiency in the minimum amount of time. Well, you can achieve this using a PPC methodology. Its highly-customized approach allows you to detect and reach target audiences easily, while guaranteeing search engine visibility instantly.
Measurable results
The issue of ROI has been mind-boggling for many marketers in the last few years. SEO is a complex mechanism and the investment-revenue ratio confuses even some experienced professionals. However, PPC advertising makes it much easier to track down real effects of marketing campaigns. Businesses today make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Adwords.
PPC is affordable
Most brands can afford a PPC campaign. This is an enormous advantage; even the smallest businesses can pay a few dollars to promote their products or services online. For instance, Facebook paid advertising has a daily minimum of $1. Okay, I know that you can’t really do that much with such a small budget. But the mere fact that it is possible to launch such a low-cost campaign tells a lot about paid ads.
Precise targeting
A real strength of paid advertising lies in its ability to target audiences very precisely. You can target keywords, age groups, territories, etc. No matter what you choose, PPC is able to cover it all. That’s why almost 65% of people open one of Google ads when they are looking to buy an item online – paid advertisements are well-targeted and just waiting for potential customers to check them out.
Not only that you can target new prospects using PPC but you can also retarget users who used to visit your webpage before. This is crucial because an average customer wants to consider an item more than once before making a purchase. Using retargeting, you will increase the odds of closing the circle with potential buyers.
Page positioning
Paying for ads, you make sure that your brand’s name will be displayed in engine searches. Besides the organically generated results, each user will also see three to four paid ads because they have a priority. It means that even if users don’t click your link, they will have to see it first and most likely remember the brand itself.
High-value audience
A social network like LinkedIn gathers millions of professionals all around the world. Even more, it can introduce you to the world of high-value audiences, with the potential to secure you lucrative business arrangements. According to the recent study, almost two-thirds of B2B companies have acquired a customer through LinkedIn paid ads. If you prepare thoroughly for the campaign and target specific industries, niches, or even individual companies, you can get the maximum exposure with the relatively modest marketing budget.
Image-based advertising
Are you running an e-commerce or a physical store? If yes, you can exploit the image-based advertising on Google to present your products. Keep in mind that a picture is worth a thousand words: most buyers will be more interested in seeing the actual product than reading about it. Using visual shopping ads, you could make it easier for them to research products but also increase your own CTR potential.


It’s not always low-cost
After all this talk about the strengths of paid advertising, you might have thought – let’s go for it immediately! However, there are some weaknesses to be exposed here. First of all, paid advertising is not always low-cost and it can get a lot of money out of your pocket. This is especially the case with some industries such as insurance or banking, where the cost per click can reach dozens of dollars.
It doesn’t last forever
Paid advertising is ideal for one-time campaigns and in situations when you need instant results. But unlike the SEO, it doesn’t provide you with a long-term result. On the contrary, as soon as you stop paying for it, your campaign is over and no one will be able to find you through organic searches. This is why it is probably the best to think about combining the two aspects of online marketing: SEO and paid advertising.
Low conversion rate on Facebook
While the average click-through rate (CTR) in paid advertising is a little below 2%, this figure is much lower in the case of Facebook, the world’s most popular social network. Namely, the average CTR in Facebook ads is only 0.9%. It suggests that you will probably have to invest more into Facebook ads than you would into other social media platforms.
Higher CPC
Speaking of higher budgets, I need to tell you one more thing – LinkedIn advertising is also not too cheap. While you can run a Facebook campaign with only $1 per day, LinkedIn demands at least $10 on a daily basis. It’s a big disadvantage but it’s easy to understand it. After all, LinkedIn could be your ticket to the premium audience market.
PPC is not a sales guarantee
PPC system is the state-of-the-art marketing tool, no question about it. But it would be a mistake to think that paid advertising is a sales guarantee. Bear in mind that your business still depends on many other elements such as the product quality, pricing, and the overall consumer journey. Therefore, online ads are only one aspect that you need to take care of but it does not promise anything.
Click frauds
A number of marketers are worried about the so-called click frauds, not knowing if the clicks they pay for are authentic. Although search engines and social networks invest huge budgets to improve their anti-fraud algorithms, there are still enough concerns about the reliability of CTR received through this model of advertising. But in my opinion, the risk in this area is way too low for you to be skeptical about it.
Bidding wars
You’ve probably wondered by now what happens when several competing companies are eager to obtain the best-positioned ad in search results. Well, they usually initiate bidding wars and pay much more than expected to achieve their objectives. This can drastically increase costs of your campaign, so be careful. Fortunately, most of the marketers are putting more emphasis on ads quality than ranking, which is why some analysts claim that bidding wars will soon be gone forever.
Paid ads lose credibility
People are getting tired of paid ads slowly but steadily. This form loses credibility and now you’ll see a lot of Internet surfers scrolling down the page to find organic search results.


The PPC advertising is one of the most powerful marketing tools nowadays. If done properly, it can earn you thousands of new leads and boost conversions. However, you should be aware both of its good and bad sides. In this article, I explained you strengths and weaknesses of paid advertising. Keep them in mind and let me know in comments if you have additional inquiries about this topic.

About the Author

Sarah Loise is a member of the team, which is in charge of content creation and website maintenance. Also she uses her in-depth knowledge of commercial legal matters, commercial off-the-shelf systems, marketing and engineering in business consulting for young entrepreneurs. Sarah’s Twitter: @sarah__loise

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