Digital marketing is an extremely widespread practice, and it is growing every single day. People across the world use various digital marketing practices to advertise their products or services, often to great effect. Digital marketing is generally affordable, simple, and has the ability to reach a very large audience.

Two of the most popular types of digital marketing are social media marketing (SMM) and search engine marketing (SEM). Both have their benefits, and both have their negative aspects. Although different people will use different advertising mediums according to their aims, an ideal marketing campaign will include both SEM and SMM. Below is a brief comparison listing some of the pros and cons of each:

Search Engine Marketing:

SEM involves the use of ads targeted to certain keywords and placed at the top of search engine search pages. It is a very good way to drive people interested in a certain topic (of your choice) to your website, especially if you are trying to sell particular products or services.


  • SEM allows you to drive visitors to your website, even if it is relatively new and unknown.
  • SEM can increase your website traffic and, if used well, can lead to an increase in regular visitors.
  • SEM can help you increase your sales and raise your income.
  • It is very easy to measure the success of your SEM campaign, which means that you can monitor and make changes as necessary.


  • SEM can be expensive, especially if you use poor quality keywords.
  • SEM can drive poor quality traffic and can result in people clicking away from your page almost instantly.
  • SEM can be very expensive, especially if you are targeting a very competitive keyword.

Social Media Marketing:

SMM involves the use of small ads on various social media platforms which are targeted to people according to a number of pre-selected criteria including age, gender, location, and even their interests.


  • SMM is a very good way to connect with people who otherwise wouldn’t find you.
  • SMM allows you to target exactly who sees your ads, which reduces the risk of ads showing to irrelevant people.
  • SMM ads can occasionally go viral, which essentially offers a whole lot of advertising for free.


  • SMM campaigns can also be expensive, especially when it comes to achieving high visitor rates or increasing your website traffic.
  • SMM can be very difficult to master unless you have a lot of experience.
  • SMM can backfire if your ads aren’t properly targeted, leading to a lot of wasted money.

Basically, SEM and SMM are two very good tools that every website owner should consider using to expand their reach. Each has its limits, and it is important to understand these.