Sizing up search and social media
Strategist James Brown attended Social Media Week to debate the differences between social and search...
Using an interesting format, we were asked to consider ourselves shareholders of a new company, with a marketing budget to hire only one digital firm this year: a social media agency or a paid search agency.
Two teams, representing the different agencies, stood up to make their pitches. Then the audience voted by holding up red and green cards. It was a bit like Ready Steady Cook.
We heard plenty of fair arguments and interesting stats. Two-thirds of UK consumers use online search to inform their offline purchases. Tweets about UK brands are three times more likely to be negative than positive. Paid search has a clearly demonstrable ROI. Social thinks beyond a quick click and is an invaluable customer insight tool.
The result? Search pipped Social by three votes.
Interesting? Well, there was an elephant in the room, albeit one that was acknowledged often and with an apology: we all know you'd be mad to make a big investment in only one of either search or social. They work together in interesting ways.
Everyone involved was at pains to explain that, of course, their agency did more than just social, or more than just search. In fact, the whole thing was started with a big caveat – to push their team's agenda, the panelists may say things they don't actually believe!
So, in a way, the result was moot. But as an exercise in making us think about why we're using social media and paid search, it was really useful.