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Paid vs. Organic on Social Media

You can use different marketing communication channels to take your users and conversion volumes to the next level.

Own channels

These include your website (direct traffic) and your e-mail campaigns.

Organic channels

These include unpaid channels through your own content. Examples include SEO and your referring sites, as well as the unpaid messages you share via social media.

Paid channels 

This includes your AdWords/ Bing campaigns, but also your Facebook/ LinkedIn advertising campaigns.

Which channels deliver the best results?

In this blog we will look at the impact of organic vs. paid channels:

  • How do you measure the impact of organic vs. paid channels?
  • How do you determine whether an organic/paid channel is successful?
  • Which channel delivers more, organic or paid?
  • How do you optimize these channels?

Ready to start?

Use campaign measurements to determine the impact of your paid channels!

SEO and referring sites measure Google Analytics automatically. Google Analytics has automatic integration with AdWords, but also with Bing. Organic social media referrals and paid campaigns should be measured using UTM campaign tags. UTM stands for the Urchin Traffic monitor.

This is another legacy of the Analytics package that Google Analytics bought back in 2005. What is the advantage of these campaign tags?

With these campaign tags you can determine which social media referral or paid campaign has the most impact on conversion:


 in addition to the UTM campaign tags, use the campaign data import function within Google Analytics. This allows you to use the displays/clicks and costs from your campaign system in Google Analytics. This allows you to determine the actual ROI of your (paid) campaign.

How do you determine whether an organic/paid channel is successful?

I cannot give a standard answer to this question. This depends on your type of website and KPI’s. My advice is to use the AGE model to determine your KPI’s for your organic & paid channels. Then you can determine the impact of organic and paid channels on the final results.


SEO and referring sites seem to be free, but of course, they are not. Just think of the time you invest in writing your content. Or getting links to your website. (link building)

Take this into account when determining the impact of SEO/referring sites.

You should also compare apples with apples. Compare SEO with a paid channel such as AdWords and Bing, but especially not with organic/paid social media.

Social media campaigns are more practical for orienting users or your existing customers than users with a purchase intention. They are not actively looking for a product.

Which channel provides more, organically vs. paid?

That is a very relevant question. Where do you need to focus your attention, organic or paid channels?

Which type of channel has the most impact on conversion?

The number of users from organic social media (Social) is slightly higher than the LinkedIn ads. (sponsored) However, the conversion from LinkedIn advertising is twice as high.

The big advantage of advertising LinkedIn is of course that you can link specific target groups and landing pages to your advertisements. This is, unfortunately, a lot more difficult within your organic social media campaigns. In addition, you have no control over the display of your messages within your organic social media campaigns.

What % of my followers actually see my shared messages?

The average interaction percentage via organic LinkedIn/Twitter campaigns is usually not above 1%, while with a LinkedIn advertising campaign you can achieve higher.

SEO vs. AdWords

SEO and AdWords are the most important channels for many websites. Therefore it is not a luxury to compare the impact of these channels with each other. 


always compare your AdWords results over the years. This allows you to determine the impact of your content strategy over time:

How do you optimize organic and paid channels?

The next step, of course, is to optimize your paid and organic channels. How do you do this?

My advice is to have at least specific content (read landing pages) written for your paid campaigns, such as AdWords/email and social media.

This way, you can respond to the typed in keywords/target groups (read visitor’s intention) from your paid channels.

Then, of course, you want to apply this landing page strategy for your SEO campaigns as well. This is a lot more difficult, but certainly not impossible.

You can, of course, adapt your landing pages to your most important SEO keywords. It is, of course, crucial that you have internal and external links to these created landing pages so that you build a ranking for these created landing pages.

In addition, you can reuse the best performing AdWords advertising texts for the SEO meta-data of your search results. (title and description)

The approach here is to achieve coordination within your SEO campaigns between typed in the search query, your search result and the content on your landing page.

This is virtually impossible for organic social media channels. You have hardly any behavioral data that you can link to a specific landing page. In addition, you have no control over the number of views for your shared links.

That’s why I advise you to invest 90-95% of your time and budget for social media in advertising campaigns. What are the important things to include in your advertising campaign?

Use Facebook/LinkedIn’s behavioral data to approach a specific target group, for example, the LinkedIn groups or detailed target groups within Facebook;

Link a specific landing page to your Facebook/LinkedIn ad;

Consider the customer journey of your Facebook/LinkedIn user. Are you targeting the advertising campaign to an orienting/purchasing user or an existing customer?