gpt-4 screenshot You can spend countless hours evaluating the top online marketing channels, but these days, people feel like AI and ChatGPT can give you the best answers — at least in the quickest way possible.  Let’s take a quick look at:

What ChatGPT 4.0 Says are the Top Digital Marketing Channels

Let’s start off with some obvious questions:

What’s the best digital marketing source for growing businesses?

We add the extra qualifier: “Give me statistics to support the claims” and the Ai tool says:

As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, I don’t have real-time statistics or updated information on the effectiveness of digital marketing sources in 2023. However, I can share some information based on historical trends and data up until 2021.

A variety of digital marketing sources are considered effective for growing businesses, and the “best” one can vary depending on the specific context, audience, industry, and objectives of the business.

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO is a crucial part of digital marketing strategies. By optimizing your website and content for search engines, you can improve your website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) and attract more organic traffic. According to BrightEdge, as of 2020, SEO drives 1000%+ more traffic than organic social media.
  2. Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC): Platforms like Google Ads allow businesses to display ads in search results and only pay when the ad is clicked. This can be highly effective, with Google claiming that businesses make an average of $2 in income for every $1 they spend in AdWords.
  3. Email Marketing: Despite being one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, email marketing is still incredibly effective. According to a 2019 study by DMA, the average ROI for email marketing was $42 for every $1 spent.
  4. Content Marketing: High-quality content can help build brand authority and drive traffic to a website. According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.
  5. Social Media Marketing: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter allow businesses to reach a large number of users. According to Sprout Social, 70% of consumers want to learn about products through content as opposed to traditional ad methods. Also, 74% of shoppers make buying decisions based on social media, according to Sprout Social.

Remember, while these sources can be effective, the most successful marketing strategies often involve a mix of various channels. The “best” source will also depend on the specific target audience, goals, and industry of the business. For instance, B2B businesses might find more success on LinkedIn, while a B2C company might thrive on Instagram or Facebook.

Always review and analyze the performance of your digital marketing efforts to understand which sources and strategies work best for your business. Always keep up-to-date with the latest trends, as the digital marketing landscape evolves rapidly.

Well, that doesn’t give us the answer we want exactly.  So, we continue pressing:

What drives more traffic to a website: seo or social media marketing?

As of my knowledge cutoff in 2021, research suggests that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) typically drives more organic traffic to a website than social media marketing. According to a study by BrightEdge, SEO was reported to drive over 1000% more traffic than organic social media.

The reason for this is quite intuitive: search engines like Google are a primary way people seek information online. When users want to know about a product, service, or any topic, they usually start with a search engine. If your website ranks high in search engine results pages (SERPs), it has a better chance of being visited by users.

SEO is also a more reliable source of attracting traffic, as it targets users who are actively searching for information related to your business, products, or services. This means that the traffic you get from SEO is generally high-quality traffic, i.e., users with a specific interest in what you offer.

Social media marketing, on the other hand, can be highly effective for raising brand awareness, building community, and nurturing relationships with customers. Social media channels can drive traffic to your website, but these users may not always be in an active buying stage.

Moreover, social media algorithms can change frequently, which may affect your visibility and the organic reach of your posts. Also, the effectiveness of social media marketing can vary greatly depending on the target audience and the type of business. Some businesses may see a lot of traffic from social media, while others may not.

However, it’s important to understand that SEO and social media marketing serve different but complementary roles in a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. While SEO is great for driving organic traffic, social media is beneficial for engagement and brand building. Most successful digital marketing strategies will incorporate both SEO and social media marketing in a balanced and integrated manner.

Interesting.  The AI tool says SEO and search marketing are more powerful.  It’s a supposition I’ve known for close to 20 years, but according to the 2021 data and AI, I am supposedly right.

Let’s ask a question about paid search and its benefits.

Does paid search or paid social do better for helping websites generate traffic?

As of 2021, both paid search (like Google Ads) and paid social media advertising (like Facebook Ads) are effective tools for driving traffic to your website. The effectiveness of either largely depends on the context: the nature of your business, your target audience, and your campaign objectives.

Here’s a brief overview of both:

  1. Paid Search Advertising: This form of advertising is intent-driven. When users perform a search on search engines like Google, they are actively seeking information or solutions to their needs. Paid search ads (like those on Google Ads) appear at the top of search results, providing an immediate solution for users’ search queries. This makes paid search advertising highly effective for driving qualified traffic and for conversions, especially for businesses that offer specific products or services that users are likely to search for. According to Google, businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Google Ads.
  2. Paid Social Media Advertising: Unlike search advertising, social media advertising is more interruptive and less intent-based. Ads are placed in users’ social media feeds, among the content they are viewing from friends and those they follow. Paid social media advertising can be highly effective for brand awareness, creating interest, retargeting, and driving traffic, especially when the objective is to reach new audiences who may not be actively searching for your products or services. Social media platforms have robust targeting capabilities, allowing you to reach a very specific audience based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and more.

In conclusion, both paid search and paid social can help generate website traffic, but they function differently. If you aim to target users who are actively searching for products or services you offer, paid search might be more effective. On the other hand, if you aim to raise brand awareness, engage audiences, or reach new potential customers who might be interested in your offerings, paid social could be the way to go.

For a comprehensive digital marketing strategy, many businesses find using a combination of both paid search and social to be most effective. It’s all about testing and understanding what works best for your particular business and audience.

And asking very specifically about the 3 largest channels, we try to get ChatGPT to give us “the best.”  Instead, it says basically “it depends.”

Between email marketing, search marketing and social media marketing, what is the best statistically?

As an AI model trained on data up to September 2021, I can’t provide real-time or most recent statistics. However, I can provide insights based on data up until that point.

The “best” channel among email marketing, search marketing, and social media marketing can depend greatly on your specific business, target audience, and marketing goals. Here are some insights about each:

  1. Email Marketing: Email marketing often provides a very high return on investment (ROI). According to the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) in 2019, the average ROI for email marketing was $42 for every $1 spent. The power of email marketing lies in its ability to foster relationships, provide value, and encourage repeat business. It’s particularly effective for customer retention and for businesses with a long buying cycle.
  2. Search Marketing (including SEO and PPC): Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical to improving organic visibility on search engines, and can drive significant traffic and conversions over time. According to BrightEdge, SEO drives 1000%+ more traffic than organic social media. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, on the other hand, can provide immediate visibility and conversions, especially for businesses with specific products or services. Google Ads claims that businesses make an average of $2 in income for every $1 they spend in AdWords.
  3. Social Media Marketing: Social media marketing can be an effective tool for raising brand awareness, engaging with your audience, and driving traffic and conversions, especially for B2C businesses. According to a 2021 report from DataReportal, the average social media user spends 2.5 hours per day on social networks, indicating a significant opportunity to reach and engage audiences on these platforms. However, the actual traffic driven to websites from social media often lags behind search marketing.

It’s essential to remember that these marketing channels aren’t mutually exclusive, and the most successful digital marketing strategies often incorporate a balanced mix of these elements. The “best” channel will depend on your specific marketing goals, industry, target audience, and other factors. For instance, if your goal is customer retention, email marketing might be your best bet. If you’re trying to increase visibility and immediate conversions, PPC could be more effective. And for brand awareness and engagement, social media marketing might be the way to go.

As always, it’s crucial to test, measure, and analyze the effectiveness of your marketing efforts in order to adjust your strategy accordingly.

So, is ChatGPT or AI truly more effective after all? 

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