Online Advertising: Pay-Per-Click vs. Paid Social

The world of online marketing is constantly changing. So much so that lately, having an up-to-date website and a business Facebook page isn’t always enough to make you stand out. This can be especially true if you’re just beginning to build your online presence. Luckily, there are ways that you can promote your practice online and on your own terms. If you’re unsure whether you should spend your money on SEO or social media advertising (or both), this blog is here to help you figure out the best approach for your practice.


Simply put, Google Ads is Google’s online advertising platform. When a patient conducts a search in Google they receive a list of results that are referred to as “Search Results”. In that list are results with a little “AD” tag next to them, which are Google Ads advertisements.

You might be wondering how to get your ad to appear at the top of a Google search. Your ad’s placement is primarily based on how relevant and useful it is to what the person searches for, your bid in relation to competitors, and a few other factors. That’s why when deciding on the keywords for your campaign, you should focus on the ones that are most relevant to your business needs. You may offer several services, but if they are already ranking well in your organic search results, you may want to focus your advertisement on another service instead.

If you are beginning a Google Ads campaign, there are a few terms you’ll need to get familiar with:

  • PPC – Pay Per Click: This is how Google Adwords is commonly referred to due to the nature of the type of advertising. Your budget is charged for every person that clicks on your advertisement.
  • CPC – Cost Per Click: The current cost for clicks from your advertisement is based on a series of factors, including but not limited to geography, competitors, your budget, and Google’s bid range.
  • Impressions: Every time your advertisement shows up in a search result this is an impression. Your impressions will vary based on your CPC and total budget.
  • CTR – Click Through Rate: This is the percentage of clicks per impressions.
  • Keywords: Your campaign is a series of keyword categories that are relevant to your business. Example: Orthodontist, Invisalign, Braces, Acceledent

Once our SEO team assesses your website against Google’s recommendations and requirements, we can provide you with a budget range based on what we think your needs are. You can adjust this assessment until you find the right budget for your marketing needs. The main goal with Google Ads is retention. We direct your ads to relevant content on your website per the keywords in your campaign to make sure the right people find you and ultimately, choose you.

Paid Social

While the main goal for Google Ads is retention, your goals for paid social media advertisements can vary. A Facebook ad, for example, can be meant to drive traffic, app installs, catalog sales, conversions or just general brand awareness. As a dental office,  you’ll likely be focusing on traffic, reach and brand awareness.  

While our social team doesn’t directly manage social ads, we can tell you what you should take into consideration when setting one up:

  • Objective: What are you trying to do with your ad? Promote a service? Raise brand awareness? Show off the team?
  • Audience: Think about who you are speaking to and what appeals to them. It should be a demographic that is in need of your services.
  • Channel: You can run social ads on Facebook, Instagram and even Twitter. Think about which channel will serve your objective the best. Typically, we recommend focusing on Facebook as it is where you’ll likely be able to reach the majority of your demographic.
  • Content: Consider what kind of content will engage your audiences the most. With Facebook ads, for example, you can choose to share a video, a single photo, a carousel or a slideshow. For example, if you’re looking to raise brand awareness, you might want to share a fun video. If you’re promoting a new service on the other hand, you might opt for a carousel instead.

One of the greatest things about paid social ads (and one of the points mentioned above) is that they allow you to target specific audiences. You can select the age, gender and even location of the people you want to reach. That means you are essentially guaranteed to reach people who may not follow you directly, so long as the parameters for your ad are set so that they fall within your target demographic.

The Takeaway

The good news is that whether you decide you want to go with pay-per-click or paid social, they’re both extremely cost-effective when compared to traditional advertising. And, through observation and trial and error, you’re able to continually adjust your campaigns to make sure you’re keeping your ads in line with what your audience is most likely to respond to.

Paid promotional services online are without a doubt one of the best advances of online marketing, but don’t forget to balance it all out with your own genuine and unique content as well! Ads are great, but your website and social presence should still feel like they’ve got a real person behind them. It’s all a balancing act and while finding balance might not be easy, it’ll leave you with a loyal online community that will be well worth your effort.

—Rebekah McBride & Michelle Hammond, Sesame Communications

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Sesame is an industry leader in integrated, cloud-based marketing and patient-engagement solution designed exclusively for your practice. We know that effective patient communication is vital to the success of your practice and the efficiency of your team. With Sesame, you can take your practice to the next level, allowing you to concentrate on what’s really important – your patients!