​Latest data shows marketers who need clicks and conversions should distribute content and paid ads on search, where consumers are more likely to engage.

As you expand your brand’s digital footprint across web channels, you can’t afford to overlook search. Social media ​is en vogue, email is tried and true, video is hot, but search continues to stand out as the most effective ways to reach qualified customers.

Marin Software’s Q4 2014 Performance Marketers’ Benchmark Report found search is the channel where consumers are taking the most decisive action with brand content. ​The study primarily looks at paid campaigns, ​but contains important insights for brands running organic content marketing strategies about how users interact with top web channels.

Search is still your most valuable channel for clicks & conversions

Clickthrough rates are higher for search than social media or display advertising, meaning users have a stronger tendency to click the links they see in SERPs than they do on news feeds or on other websites. In fact:

– Desktop users click search ads 5x more often than social ads

– Smartphone users click​through almost 6x more frequently on search than social

– ​Desktop search clicks have 10x the conversion likelihood ​of social clicks

– Smartphone search clicks convert 15x as often as mobile social clicks ​

​Sm​artphone users​ ​​have a higher clickthrough rate than tablet or desktop ​users. Mobile users’ conversion-readiness should inspire every brand to consider their mobile strategy as much as their channel strategy this year.

Deciphering user behavior to build smarter marketing strategies

Why is search still the most effective channel for marketing? It’s because of consumer intent.

People browse social media networks. They go to search engines when they want to find solutions and answers. Social users who come across a brand’s paid ads or promotional content are less likely to click through because that means navigating away from the platform a sales-oriented page.

On the other hand, users who go to a search engine and enter a product-oriented term to do some research have already demonstrated interest and will more frequently click through on related content and convert.

Does this mean social media is less valuable? Certainly not.​ But it highlights that the content promoted on social should serve a different purpose than that promoted with search ads.​ Social media is often the source that sparks consumer​s’ interest​​.​

Half of Americans say they’ve discovered a brand from paid ads, and 72 percent of marketers report social content has helped them close deals.​ It’s just a potentially longer path to conversion.​

To be successful across social, search and the web at large, marketers need to build campaigns that reflect their customers’ behavior. Once you understand how the moving pieces fit together for a cohesive strategy – you can leverage web ​content across different channels to have the greatest impact on each.

​Brafton’s complete guide to repurposing content explains how to share content on different channels to best engage audiences.​

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.