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The iScream Social Media Blog

Social Leads vs PPC Leads (They’re Not the Same)

Educational Newsletters

A lead is a lead, right? Wrong. Not all leads are created equal, and that’s especially the case for social leads vs PPC (pay-per-click) leads from Google or other search engines. This does not mean that one is more or less important than the other, but there are differences between the two that you and your staff should know.

Nature of the Leads

The first thing we need to review is the nature of the leads when it comes to social media vs. PPC leads. To put this in perspective, think of social media leads like popping into Target just to kill some time, but walking out with spontaneous purchases. PPC leads, on the other hand, are like driving to Target specifically to buy a particular item. 

A lead from social media isn’t necessarily actively looking for your product or service. It’s likely that they were simply scrolling on social media to “kill time” when they came across your post or ad. In some ways, that’s even more impressive since you caught their attention, but it comes with complications. On the other hand, a PPC lead comes from someone actively seeking you out, or more specifically, your products or services.

Intent of the Leads

This is the primary reason why social leads and PPC leads are so different. With social leads, you have no idea where this person is in the marketing funnel. They could be in the conversion part of the funnel and ready to buy, or they could still be in the awareness funnel (more of a “learning phase”). With PPC leads, there is a much higher chance the lead has funneled down into consideration, or ideally, conversion.

Because of this, it’s common to see more leads come in through social avenues than PPC, but they are typically less qualified or not quite as ready to proceed. This doesn’t mean they aren’t important, but we’ll likely need to guide them through the upper parts of the funnel more often than leads coming through PPC.

Timing of Social and PPC Leads

Response time is the biggest difference between interacting with your social leads and PPC leads. Believe it or not, the order you should respond is the opposite of what you would think. Since PPC leads are much more likely to be further along in the funnel, it would lead most people to believe that they are more important and that they should be responded to first. 

We do not recommend this route for a simple reason: Your PPC leads WANT to hear back from you. Your social leads will FORGET about you if you take too long. These customers found your services with a different mindset and you need to tailor your responses accordingly.

Your PPC leads specifically searched for you or your product so you’re already a priority in their mind. On the other hand, your social media lead was not thinking about needing your services, so they’re quick to forget about submitting their inquiry lead. Reach out fast before you have to remind them why they wanted your service in the first place! Research from Sprout Social shows that “forty percent of consumers expect brands to respond within the first hour of reaching out on social media”. This number has climbed as time has passed and continues to do so, and people are expecting more immediate responses when they reach out through social media.

This does NOT mean your PPC leads are unimportant. You still need to reply to these leads as soon as possible (within 1 business day at the very latest, and ideally within 1 hour), so immediately contact those after tackling your social media leads. 

Cost and Conversion Rates

Cost-effectiveness and conversion rates are significant factors to consider when evaluating the performance of social leads versus PPC leads. While social media marketing can be relatively cost-effective in terms of reaching a broad audience and fostering brand awareness, the conversion rates may vary. It isn’t uncommon that someone in the awareness funnel will reach out to you with the primary goal of gaining information with no real goal of purchasing.

On the other hand, although PPC advertising is potentially more costly depending on the competitiveness of your industry and keywords, it often yields higher conversion rates from lead-to-purchase simply due to the user’s intent-driven behavior. When users click on your ad, they are already in the mindset of taking action, which can lead to a more efficient ROI.

From the nature and intent of the leads to the timing and cost, you and your sales staff need to be aware of the differences between social and PPC leads. Like a parent of multiple children, you can appreciate their differences but still love them equally. If you need help with your social leads or PPC leads, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation!