How to Avoid the SEM Apocalypse with Paid Social

Nov 17, 2016 | How to

Do you depend on paid search?

A surprising number of sophisticated marketers tell us they get ALL of their customers from SEM. But what happens in the event of an apocalypse? Saturation kicks in, or a big advertiser comes along and buys up all the inventory, or the person running your paid search program suddenly leaves? Are you prepared?

You can avoid the apocalypse by diversifying your risks and investing differently in your growth, with paid social. To help you evaluate your options, here is a brief overview of the top four platforms:


      • The 800-pound gorilla of paid social
      • More audience intent than display, but not as much as paid searchfacebook
      • More attention on your ads, with relatively high click-through rates
      • Broad adoption, with a multitude of different types of audience
      • Mature ad platform has been around for 6 or 7 years
      • Gives you powerful controls, from API access to audience-targeting levers
      • A mechanism for acquiring new customers and for market research


      • The least successful paid social platform in general
      • Has application in very specific industries, like finance or media
      • Not a great source of new eCommerce customers


      • Everyone targets the same B2B decision-makers
      • Very expensive to compete with huge companies like Oracle and Hubspot
      • If money is not an option, and time is of the essence, go for it!


      • Like SEM, Pinterest targeting is based on search
      • Unlike SEM, allows you to show ads to the right type of person based on what they are searching, even when they aren’t searching for your product
      • Also allow you to deliver ads to those searching for what you are selling
      • Covers the entire decision making journey
      • Fewer advertisers means less demand and cheaper checkouts
      • A really interesting option when other platforms get more expensive around holidays

In a future posts, we’ll give some tips on developing your R&D strategy for paid social. For now, just be aware that investing in paid social can be a great way to mitigate the risk of the SEM apocalypse. When it happens, you’ll be prepared.


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