When we work with our clients, we usually define these two important advertising strategies in the following manner:
Social Media Advertising – We want to target our audience based on who they are
Search engine marketing (SEM) – We want to target our audience based on what they want
Deciding the right strategy for you all comes down to the marketing funnel. You need to determine whether your customers are at the awareness, consideration or intent stages of their buying journey.
Prospective customers at the consideration and intent stage of their buying journey will likely use search engines like Google to search for what they want. Alternatively, customers who don’t realise what they want just yet, probably won’t be.
In reality, both advertising methods can be used to cover every stage of a customer's buying journey as part of a wider strategy. Social media advertising can be used to build awareness of a particular product or service to the correct audience. SEM, on the other hand, can be used to capture them when they’re ready to buy.