Paid Ads vs. PR – Which One Is Better?

Brett Fennell

Brett Fennell About The Author

Apr 12, 2022 10:10:00 AM


Paid advertising has proven to be a highly beneficial marketing tactic for the most successful companies. Annual digital advertising spend is expected to grow to $52 billion by next year. On the other hand, some companies might benefit more from a PR campaign.

When deciding between the two, you'll need to consider your company's marketing goals and unique branding. In many cases, paid advertising and PR can be combined into one terrific campaign! Here are some perks of paid ads vs. PR spots, and how you can use each one to grow your brand.

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The Benefits of Running a PR Campaign

Although PR campaigns still require some degree of spending, there's a reason why they're often referred to as "free advertising." When you partner with a local charity or organization, your company is directly exposed to the patrons of those organizations. You've potentially attracted the attention of several new demographics without having to do much research on your own!

Seeing the empathetic nature of your brand automatically cements your appeal among these customers. Did you know 83% of Gen Z consumers want to buy from brands with similar values? Brands that support charitable causes and organizations can garner lifelong customers from certain demographics.

PR campaigns are also a good opportunity to grow your local audience. In recent years, consumers have shown that they like to keep their money close to their communities by supporting smaller businesses in their area. In 2020, one in five customers were more likely to shop at small businesses rather than big-box retailers.

Another rewarding benefit of PR campaigns comes from supporting a good cause or helpful organization. Sponsoring a fundraiser or donating a portion of your sales to a charity can enrich the lives of those in need. Plus, inspiring goodwill from your audience strengthens your brand community and further directs attention to relevant missions.

The Benefits of Running a Paid Ad Campaign

Paid advertising usually takes the form of an ad placed on a big social media platform. The most obvious benefit is the incredible reach of any given ad. Facebook alone has nearly two billion daily active users, many of whom will be able to see and interact with your ad!

Unlike more traditional advertising methods, paid advertising on digital channels is easily trackable. Using analytics software, you can see exactly which demographics are clicking on your ads (and when they're doing it!). This data allows you to refine your campaigns as needed with more relevant and engaging content.

Many platforms also allow you to take advantage of keyword targeting. When users search for certain hashtags or phrases, your brand's ad is more likely to appear on their feeds. Platforms like Twitter also support retargeting, which puts your ads directly in front of consumers who have previously engaged with your brand.

These ads also bring attention to your brand's accounts on social media. It's a great place for you to have meaningful one-on-one interactions with your audience. You can also showcase your brand's unique voice to all of your followers, differentiating it from dozens of similar competitors.

Best of all, paid advertising has proven itself to be very cost-effective. For example, when you use Google AdWords, you can expect an ROI of 200%. With so much revenue left over, you can devote some of that to making even bigger and better campaigns!

How Can an Experienced Media Consultant Help?

PR campaigns and paid advertising are both great strategies, but only if they're implemented properly. For example, a company whose advertising is primarily focused on commerce probably has no experience with cause marketing. This is where an experienced media partner can be an invaluable asset.

These professionals can give you insight into which type of campaign would work best for your company. If you want to pursue a PR campaign, media partners can connect you with an organization that aligns with your brand's existing values. For paid advertising, they can help you determine which platforms are the most popular among your audience.

A media partner can also help you unlock the full benefits of combining PR with paid advertising! For example, hosting a charity event doesn't mean that you can't showcase your brand's products. If your company sells toys, you can bring a couple of testers to a charity focused on children. 

You can also create digital ads that show your products and services directly helping members of your community. Multichannel marketing improves brand cohesiveness and directly increases sales. In fact, omnichannel marketing campaigns can boost purchases by up to 287%!

Paid Ads Vs. PR: Which One is Right For You?

Paid advertising is useful because of its enhanced targeting abilities and amazing reach. PR campaigns often stay on a local scale, but they can do wonders to grow your brand's reputation and audience. Still, a multifaceted campaign with both paid ads and PR relations will likely yield the most revenue for any business.

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