The Massive Difference Between Paid and Organic Reach

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Written By Mayleen Meñez

Paid and organic reach have a common goal, and that is to get people to see your content.

In this new normal economy, you need to have a competitive edge since most businesses, from small businesses to big enterprises, are moving online. But which one is best for you? Which one should you be focusing on? 

There is a continuous evolution of both organic and paid social media landscapes. The pandemic actually changed the social media landscape even further.

What are Organic Reach and Paid Reach?

Organic reach is the number of users who see your content through unpaid reach or strategies. It involves people who see both your updates and your Facebook profile.

Paid reach, meanwhile, involves the users who see your content via one or several paid campaigns. Your choices for ad placement and targeting affect your paid reach. It can affect your organic reach, as well.

1. A Shift in the Difference Between Organic and Paid Reach on Social Media

Facebook’s organic reach is on a decline by up to 52 per cent. It is a steady and rapid decline. 

Paid Reach vs Organic Reach: 4 Massive Difference

Facebook posts are down by 2.2 per cent as of last year, meaning “brands could reasonably expect their posts to be seen by about 5.5 per cent of their Page’s followers. Big brands can expect even lower averages.’

Facebook’s organic reach is experiencing this decline because of the influx of content. There are approximately more than 30 billion pieces of Facebook content every month. Because of this, Facebook now curates only the most relevant content for its users. Thus, further diminishing the organic reach of Facebook posts, even for big brands. 

We also see unexpected social media platforms rise to massive fame, especially during the height of social distancing and stay-at-home sanctions. 

TikTok, for instance, became a viral social media platform with a phenomenal 800 million monthly active user base increase during the heat of the pandemic. TikTok has a record of 115 million app downloads in March 2020 alone.

It makes TikTok the leading social media platform today. Its popularity is still rising and goes beyond its original supporters of teens or millennials. For this reason, different brands add TikTok brand positioning as part of their SEO campaign

It is an excellent example of how you can start with organic reach and shift to paid reach just as quickly. 

2. New Technology Enhances User Engagement 

Another reason why organic and paid reach platforms are ever-changing is the new technology. New technology enhances user engagement and real-time content.

An example of this is Facebook and other existing networks like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. The BUY buttons are now a normal occurrence and even taking off on social media platforms. Automated retail is revolutionizing the digital space. 

Check out this video now to learn how to add BUY buttons on your site: 


So you may start with organic reach on social media and then shift to paid reach once you are already using these product-placement strategies on your accounts.  
As the leading brands ramp up their paid campaigns on social media platforms, the more they monetize platform investment. It, in turn, diminishes organic scope.

3. Social Commerce Blurring Organic Reach

Social media statistics show that 29.6 per cent of US respondents use social commerce to complete a transaction. Almost 70 per cent of those respondents are buying on Facebook.

So being on social media nowadays is no longer just about content and conversations. What used to be a place where organic reach is put to optimal use for branding is receiving a fresh wind of income thru ads and paid reach strategies.

Marketers investing in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) also invest in SMO (Social Media Optimization) as well. SMO is using social media networks to monitor and increase an organization’s content and online presence.

Social media is now a proven platform to help retention programs for getting leads and clients, remarketing, and engaging current fans or customers. 

It is why social media marketing is blurring organic reach. Compared to search and email marketing, it may be relatively new, but it’s a platform through which most eCommerce teams are ramping up investment (workforce and tools). 

4. What is Paid Reach?

Paid reach or paid advertising gives money to an advertisement site (a web page or a social media platform), so its users see your content first. 

For example, paid ads are the top suggestions on Google search results. Every 10th post on Facebook is also an ad. You will also see paid ads via sidebars, headers, or footers on your favourite sites and forums. 

There is no escape from online marketing ads, even though you are using an adblocker. Social media sites are also finding more ingenious ways that users cannot avoid paid ads. To compound this, it is now much harder to notice any paid adverts. 

Paid content disguises itself as List-Content. If you see content like “Top 10 Sweaters You Can Afford” or posts like “Just found the MOST Awesome sweaters ever!” Those are paid content. These kinds of content surge around the web and social media platforms today. 

Let us look at the pros and cons of a paid reach.

  • The Pros

There is a lot to enjoy when it comes to paid reach or paid ads. It is quick and versatile, there are many choices, and it is easy to calculate outcomes.

A quick way to advertise is through online advertising. After setting the parameters, your ads can go live quickly, and results will begin to come depending on your budget at the same hour. 

It means that if you see something that is not working, you can immediately adjust your ad or strategize what can do better. It is effortless to produce any results and adjust targeting, strategies, target keywords, and the like.

There are several platforms you can optimize for paid reach, whether directly or indirectly. You can so direct advertising via the following platforms:

  • Facebook

  • Instagram

  • Waze Advertisements

  • Google Display Network

  • Bing Ads

  • Mobile Ad Networks

If you prefer indirect paid advertising, you can try the following: 

  • Privately Sponsored Instagram posts / Facebook posts / Tweets

  • Co-written or guest-written blogs

  • Product placements

  • Social shoutouts

Although you and your team manage the direct ones, the indirect ones are sourced to an entity or network with a broad following that you want to target. 

For example, you can pay an Instagram influencer to post three stories about either using your brand or talking about it. These influencers can also choose to produce a video or some original content where your brand is prominently featured. It is a very effective way to optimize your website too.

Indirect advertising would be a little more challenging to measure. On the other hand, paid ads results are also very straightforward to measure. Analytics from direct advertisement sites can connect to your website. You will quickly see the exact number of leads, conversions, engagements, and so on. 

  • The Cons

The breadth of usability and upfront cost are the two biggest inhibitors to using paid reach for your advertising. Expense is the most significant disadvantage of a paid reach. But it is only a disadvantage if your paid campaigns do not work

If your paid campaigns work, the expense can be considered a good investment. Ads can run as little as $5 a day, while for a series of videos, Instagram shoutouts can easily cost $10,000 or more. 

Another disadvantage of paid reach is its sheer degree. You can set options for a paid reach, which is, again, great if your ads work. But if the settings you have chosen are not optimal, it can be the very limitation of your paid campaign. 

There is such a broad network of paid reach that you can cast and so many different ways to optimize recent emerging trends. You need to be in charge of several additional items all at once. You also need to determine which ads to commit to trends can change as quickly as they begin. 

It can be daunting, but you can develop a solid understanding of what works best for you and your brand over time.

Paid Reach vs Organic Reach: 4 Massive Difference

Is Organic Reach Better Than Paid Reach on Social Media?

All organic posts are work-in-progress images, random thoughts, exchanging posts with other accounts, and links to blog posts as long as you don’t pay to boost them (more on ‘boosting’ later). Unless it happens to go viral, organic content can normally hit far fewer eyes than a paid post.

But you cannot dismiss them altogether. Brands can still use organic posts to engage daily with followers. Brands can stir conversations through trending questions, share brand photos, highlight user-generated content (UGC), and more. 

But if you want to reach your target market more efficiently and quickly, then revert to paid reach. Announcements, sales, and other major information need to be within paid reach. 

Therefore, it is not one over the other, but knowing when to use one to optimize your site. The end goal is connecting with your audience for conversion. If both paid reach and organic reach are not bringing conversions, you need to adjust your digital marketing strategies right away. 

Effectively using digital technology for your business in this global economy is how digital marketing strategies take flight. So instead of just going with one strategy, optimize both paid and organic reach to boost your online presence even more.

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