Organic reach is easy, it’s cheap and it has its place. But it’s 2019 and the internet runs on ads — you can no longer rely on free advertising to truly expand your brand. 

There’s a big difference between paid and organic reach, and there’s a strategic way to use both.

What is organic reach?

Organic, or unpaid, reach is the number of people who see your unsponsored content — the content you put no money behind. This metric applies to many social media sites, Google and more.

Organic reach of course has its perks and its setbacks. On the plus side, you don’t have to pay for anything — you can work with Google’s algorithms and search engine optimization to get your content seen by people for free. Your visibility will be limited, though. With each day that passes — as more and more businesses, large and small, are introducing content marketing into their routines — running a fully successful organic media campaign is getting more difficult due to high competition. 

It’s still good practice to optimize your content for SEO and fill out your social media profiles with a robust amount of information, because sites like Google crawl that, too. A lot of your optimization revolves around keywords, which help you drive traffic to your site.

What is paid reach?

Exclusively under the umbrella of Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords), paid media on Google is the sponsored content that shows up above the rest of the results. While it will cost you cash, it’s an incredibly efficient way to drive traffic to your website. Prominence is priceless. As you may be able to tell, the top result, brandished with a small “Ad” tag, is an ad. It’s the first thing to catch your eye, as its right in your face, and it looks pretty natural there. It’s not an annoying banner ad (whose efficacy has proven to be worse). 

What’s the difference between Facebook ads and Boosts?

The difference boils down to your goal. Boosting tends to be more efficient if you want engagement — likes, comments, clicks. This can be useful in reaching people for a specific post or piece of content. Running a Facebook ad, though, offers tools for collecting lead information and targeting for conversion. Ads are more direct, but they both serve their purposes well.

Which strategy will yield better results for my business?

Organic reach is good to try, but sites are making it harder and harder to reach without paying money. If you’re smart about how and where you spend, you can complement your organic reach with paid advertising, optimized for lead generation and brand awareness. Having your website optimized for SEO, making sure your social media profiles are optimized and posting regularly are good things to do. 

But you’ll reach a ceiling quickly if you don’t invest advertising dollars on top of that. Organic reach is leaving things up to chance, while investing money is taking control. According to a study done by Kuno, an average of less than 2 percent of their Facebook fans saw their organic posts.

Facebook, for example, is a site on which it’s essential to pay for reach. That’s not to say, though, that you can simply rely on just that. It’s important to share things on Facebook to convey your brand and personality. 

Take a look at Google Search’s business model. The company relies on advertisements in order to make money, so it makes sense that it prioritizes paid content. This preference manifests itself in different ways, not least that increased exposure on Google’s front page leads to exposure, which leads to clicks, which helps your site’s standing within Google’s algorithms, which makes your ads cheaper. It’s a funnel of a process, and one that proves incredibly worthwhile. 

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