Paid Advertising vs. Organic

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Where should I invest my budget?

Getting your website the exposure you feel it deserves is tough given there are millions of website all competing for online supremacy! To make things worse, there are a variety of marketing strategies out there, all of which declare they’re better than the rest at providing ROI.

It may feel like your lost at sea without any idea of which direction to go!

In this blog, we’re going to put two of the biggest strategies side by side: organic search marketing and paid search advertising.

Before we dive in deep, let’s firstly define each methodology:


What is paid?

Paid advertisements sit alongside organic results and are purchased as opposed to earned.


What is organic?

Organic search results are determined by search engine algorithms and are based on the merits of each site.


How soon can you expect results?

One of the most difficult parts of digital marketing is managing your expectations. What would I expect for results and how long will it take to reach those projections?

A large ROI factor is the platforms themselves as each marketing channel operates differently. Understanding how the different types of methods work will assist you in having clear and reasonable expectations.


Paid Advertising Approach

Paying for advertising, no matter what platform (Google, Social Media, etc.) is all about placing your targeted message (ad) directly in front of users now. The goal is to create an advertisement that speaks to the user where they are in the buyer's journey. A real “strike when the iron’s hot” mentality.

Paid campaigns are mainly based on demand for the terms you're trying to get in front of users with. The more money you put in, the more exposure you will receive. If you stop bidding for terms and stop buying adverts, your traffic will drop.

The main perk when you pay for advertising is that you will receive some form of conversion when strategically building your campaigns. Often the conversion rate will be lower than an organic program, however, the turn around time of your investment is much quicker given the ad is in front of them now.


Organic Approach

Great organic search marketing works as a traffic generation program by crafting permanent traffic sources for your website. This content will remain on your website until you choose to remove it, thus being a content that drives users to your website for an unforeseeable amount of time.

Although in theory people could find and read this content immediately, the reality is that it takes time for your content to be indexed with search engines and even longer for your content to rank well.

While organic marketing is undoubtedly effective, it is a long-term strategy.

It relies primarily on posting great content and having enough users discover it to build the top of your funnel. While these users will be better quality leads, It requires a large amount of content and a lot of time to be effective. Often 6-9 months of content writing will begin to drive results while more competitive industries may take longer.

Which strategy costs more?

The biggest difference between organic and paid advertising is the cost structure itself.

Paid Advertising

A paid advertising campaign is a static and inflexible price which is based on a cost per term you wish to rank for. This cost is determined by the platform your adverting on and can fluctuate based on the demand. Though it can fluctuate, typically you don't see much change unless something large within the industry causes the change. 

Traffic growth PPC

The general rule of thumb, is to expect the same cost each month and to expect the same estimated amount of visitors from your budget. Ie: If to gain 100 new customers is $100 this month, then the cost to repeat this next month will be the same. In theory, the more money budgeted on your paid campaign would result in more users.



Where online paid advertising has an implementation and return cycle every month, the work you do in an organic strategy differs. Organic marketing campaigns operate by building on the work performed prior. The $100 invested this month produces content that works to gain your clients as soon as it is live and continues month over month.

One main benefit to this methodology is that you aren't starting from scratch every month as the content produced gains traction and begins to exponentially get more exposure.

Here’s how the ROI of a typical organic marketing program looks.


Organic marketing ROI


Organic traffic generation programs are more of an investment than a marketing cost as it builds value that doesn’t refresh every month.Your blogs, testimonials, and web pages you create will continue to attract more users to your site,  build authority with Google, form trust, and increase overall conversion.

So, should I invest in organic or paid?

Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between the two as both can be run simultaneously. In fact, a large percentage of our clients run a number of different types of programs and campaigns all individually focused on specific areas of their marketing mix.

Paid and organic campaigns can work together brilliantly, each one supporting the other and creating a much more effective overall marketing strategy.

Depending on the industry your in, the way your buyer's persona looks for your offering, and current status of your website’s authority, a unique blend of marketing efforts are usually needed.

Paid advertising enables any organization at any stage in their development to boost their traffic and instantly kick start their business. Often, companies will supplement their paid advertising with an organic approach to build those much needed deep roots which help to improve your presence in the search results. The goal over time is for your organic traffic and ROI to grow and replace the need to pay for exposure.


So, should you invest in organic or paid? The simple answer is that most businesses need both.

A great tip for any business is to first perform an SEO audit and gain a good understanding of your buyer's persona. From there you can make an educated decision on what type of strategy fits where wit your goals, expectations, and ROI timeline.

Below is a high-level overview when making this decision:

paid vs organic


Still, in need of some expert advice?

Reach out to our team and we will be more than happy to provide some guidance!

Primal Tribe is an award-winning Digital Marketing Agency and HubSpot Partner based in Edmonton, Canada. With over 18 years of experience spanning numerous industries, our passion is creating custom solutions to help you reach the right audience with the right message. Contact us today to learn more!


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