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PPC vs Content Marketing: The Pros and Cons

What are the advantages and disadvantages of pay-per-click (PPC) when weighed against content marketing (and which is best for you)?

PPC vs content marketing: marketers often weigh up the two heavyweights when deciding on their digital tactics. Both are popular methods for driving traffic to a website, but which one produces better results? Unsurprisingly, the answer really depends on your goals and objectives. Read on as we explore the pros and cons of each approach so you can decide which is right for you.

PPC is great for instant visibility

When it comes to PPC vs content marketing, a well-placed PPC ads campaign comes out on top in terms of quickly getting your website and services seen by potential customers. PPC offers the ability to buy top spots on search engine results pages, outrank your competitors, increase brand visibility, and get measurable results. Plus, PPC can be tailored for any budget, enabling even small businesses to take advantage of it.

…but it’s expensive

PPC does have its drawbacks—it can get expensive quickly and may not provide the returns warranted by expenses. Plus, be aware that once you turn the money drip off your website traffic will also go off a cliff if your ad spend is generating the bulk of your visitors.

Content marketing is another alternative which can result in long-term success at a lower cost. As both are proven approaches in digital marketing, it’s important to understand the advantages and limitations of each before deciding which one is right for your business needs and goals.

Content marketing is more cost-effective

In terms of attracting targeted visitors to your website, well-designed content comes out on top in PPC vs content marketing regarding cost-effectiveness. With campaigns running for longer time frames, content marketing is an economical way to attract visitors to your website. With a sound content strategy in place to steer your campaign you can see results from your content for months and even years to come.

…but it takes time to see the results

Your time vs your money: yes the age-old adage plays a role here too. While PPC will get you near-instant website visitors, it takes weeks or even months before content marketing offers up its results. Bear in mind that the aim of content marketing as a whole is to produce consistent and sustained results, so the lifespan of its ROI has an exponentially longer duration than its PPC counterpart.

While (PPC) campaigns can bring about immediate results, content marketing has a greater long-term impact and depending on the content produced can continue drawing potential customers for years after its creation. Investing in content marketing today enables you to set up a pipeline for consistent traffic, leads and customers for years to come.

Deciding between PPC vs content marketing: things to consider

When choosing the right fit for your brand between PPC and content marketing there are a few key factors to consider—namely cost, time, and your goals. It’s also important to think about the audience you’re targeting and how they engage with your brand and the tone you want to portray. For instance, content marketing is great for showing industry authority and building trust while PPC can focus more on direct sales and time-sensitive offers.

What’s your marketing budget?

Chances are the cost will be the main deciding factor when deciding between PPC vs content marketing or what proportion of your marketing spend you can allocate to each tactic. PPC cost-per-click can be very high depending on your industry and how competitive it is plus your PPC campaign needs continual optimising to maintain results. The main cost in content marketing, on the other hand, involves creating the content assets to publish on your website—alongside regular optimisation. Yet, the content produced will continue to draw down results for a long time.

What’s your timeframe?

Making a balanced decision on whether to focus on PPC vs content marketing requires a careful assessment of the time to see the results of each marketing tactic—and whether that timeframe aligns with your goals. Content marketing is generally accepted as having a longer-term payoff with an upfront commitment and ongoing effort to develop content that’s tailored to your target audience. On the other hand, paid search campaigns have a much shorter runway and need regular optimization to maximise results. Essentially, do you need to see results and ROI in the immediate term without concern for longer-term results, or are you looking to gradually build up your brand, sales, and ROI over a longer timeframe?

What are your marketing and business goals?

Considering your goals is essential when determining the right path for your business, as both PPC and content marketing are tried-and-tested marketing strategies that are effective in meeting specific business aims. If you’re looking for an immediate boost to gain more customers or sign-ups, then implementing a well-researched PPC plan is something to consider. However, if you’d rather increase long-term brand recognition and authority, content marketing offers that potential with high-quality and engaging content that establishes trust with potential customers. Ultimately, deciding which approach is best-suited to your goals will help you choose the best method for your brand to succeed.

PPC vs content marketing: the bottom line

Both PPC and content marketing can be effective ways to get your website seen by potential customers. It’s important to consider the cost, time commitment, and goals when deciding which method is right for you.

If you’re looking for immediate results with a healthy budget, PPC is your friend. If you’re looking to build long-term relationships with your audience and have more control over the message they see, content marketing could be a better fit (and lighter on your wallet). Whichever route you decide to go down, make sure you do your research and set realistic expectations.

PPC vs content marketing: when to seek expert help

The most successful brands use a carefully coordinated combination of the two methods to get the most value and improve the ROI (plus they both complement SEO). Using an agency to help you with your content marketing and PPC strategy is a good option especially if you aren’t a digital marketer by trade. A marketing agency can create a multi-pronged approach to your business that will help you boost conversions and grow revenue.

A seasoned agency will have the knowledge, experience and tools to get your content marketing and PPC efforts off the ground by aligning them with your overall marketing goals. This will almost certainly save you time and money down the line, while also delivering a solid ROI for your business.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your goals and how we can help you achieve them.

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