Quality Content vs Online Advertising - Where Should You Focus Your Budget?

Quality Content vs Advertisement - Where Should You Focus Your Budget?At the start of 2014, many businesses, small and large, are re-evaluating their strategies to reach new customers and promote their brand.

Often, question usually boils down to this:

Should we focus our budget more towards online advertising (SEM) or bolster our content to develop organic results?

The one that will get you the most bang for your buck is, hands down, the generation of quality content.  Here's why:

1. Quality content = quality interactions

The first, and perhaps most stark contrast between quality content and advertisements is the generation of quality interactions between company and customer.

Advertisements mostly sit flat, waiting for a click to redirect the customer.  Content, however, is the start to a conversation, inspiration, and share.  When you're generating quality content as a company, you are sharing something that will not only interest and engage your audience, but portray your company as an informed and useful source.  This remains true not ONLY for that first interaction, but for further interactions down the line.

2. Content generation gives you the room to portray your personality

Online advertisements, especially under the "company" persona, can often lack a sense of humanity.  Content, however, helps reveal "the man behind the curtain" and put your company on a more personal level.  Mediums like blogging, for example, provide your company a regular platform to connect with customers on a personal level.

3. Content is sharable, advertisements are not

Social media platforms and quality content are, quite honestly, made for one another.  Reaching customers on a mass scale comes with the magic words, "share, like, retweet, favorite, and +1" because that means not only do your direct followers appreciate you, their friends get a chance to do the same, and then maybe even the friends of the friends... you get it.  Advertisements just don't get that kind of response.

Don't forget, quality content can be shared again, and again, and again.  If it answers a question that many people ask for example, you may find yourself referencing the same article periodically over a great span of time.

4. Content creates a following

Content, particularly in the realm of blogging, can slowly but surely build you a following.  If a reader responds positively to something you've written, they'll be likely to follow the work that you do and continue to show their support.

5. Quality content increases your company's relevancy

If you're able to consistently display newly generated quality content, particularly content that "keeps up with the times", the relevancy of your company is increased ten-fold.  Quality content reads:  "Not only does this company offer a great product or service, they are also clearly experts in their field."  Being up-to-date in your content generation is a key way to establish your company as a relevant and useful resource for your prospective clients.  Advertisements don't have this touch.

But what statistics are there?  How do the successes of advertisements compare to the successes of content?

Okay, here are some numbers:

The average banner advertisements have an exceptionally low click-through rate. According to HubSpot, the average banner ad has a 0.1% clickthrough rate, and the standard 468×60 banner has a 0.04% clickthrough rate.  Ouch.  

Content generation on the other hand, especially in the form of blogs, has much better results.  One of the HubSpot findings, for example, was that there is a direct correlation between the number of blog posts you have on your website and how many traffic hits you receive.  The more blog posts you have, the more traffic hits you will receive (this number spikes even higher between the 50-100 blog post range).  Click here to read the full study

The bottom line?

Generation of quality content is a great way to portray your company in a useful and personable light, and continue to grow your client base over time.  You can use the content again and again, and establishes your website as more than just a means of which to advertise your company, but as a useful hub of interesting and informative information.

What has your experience with content generation been?  Not sure how to get started?  Send us an email or give us a call!

Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).