Paid vs Organic Marketing for Your Shopify Store

Welcome to our post on Marketing!
Now, marketing is a bit of a giant topic, but in this blog I’m gonna be breaking down paid versus organic marketing for your Shopify store.

We get loads of questions about this, and it’s understandable, right? Where should you invest your time and money? And when?! Like, what stage of your biz should be thinking about paid marketing? Should you do retargeting! Now this last point - retargeting - I’m not gonna cover that here because we are gonna do a blog post on that super soon.

But for the rest of your paid vs organic marketing questions… Let’s dive in!


Q: What is the difference between Organic & Paid Marketing?

So the short answer…. The cost is the main difference between organic and paid marketing! Organic social content is posted for free. Whereas paid social content has money behind it and helps you reach a larger audience. But it’s important to remember not just the $ value - there is often a time cost as well!

The second difference is who all sees it. Organic social posts will show up in your followers feeds. Paid social posts will show up in the feeds of whoever you choose (and pay) to target.

Q: Why Do Organic?

The main reason to do organic marketing is to focus on organic search results like SEO. This helps you grow your audience with warm leads that are searching for what you’re putting out there. It also gives you “social proof'' - people feel more comfortable when they can see you and get to know you. This you can do with your organic marketing strategy.

Pinterest is a good example for organic search results. And this is also what SEO is all about.

Once you establish and actually have some traction there, you will be sending nice warm leads straight to your store, so you can spend less time actively marketing your biz.

Benefits of Organic Marketing

  • Focuses on organic search results like SEO
  • A good way to grow your audience
  • More likely to give “warm” or “hot” leads because people are looking for these search terms
  • Gives you data on what your audience engages with
  • Good for your brand - not as aggressive as sponsored posts, people like it better
  • Can be “evergreen”, whereas paid ads stop working when you stop paying

Drawbacks of Organic Marketing

  • Can take time to build an audience and traction, and to see results
  • Time consuming!
  • You are competing with paid ads

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Should you do paid?

Did you know worldwide ad spending on Facebook and Instagram combined will reach nearly $95 billion annually in 2021?!

The benefits of paid marketing are that you have direct access to relevant audiences. And generally speaking, quicker results. Paid marketing gives you quick access to data too. The data that you get from Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel can help you make your ads stronger, and just help you make better marketing decisions going forward.

It might feel daunting, but it can super effective to drive traffic and sales

It's also a travesty if somebody is not allowing themselves to grow if they're wanting to grow because paid search ads are in the top three most influential generators of website conversions.

So, should you do paid advertising? No, if you don't have the budget and money to burn. Don’t do it when you're struggling as a business and you need more revenue. Do it when things are already going well. You've already proven that your business works, and you just want to improve everything, and you have the profit - the money to invest.


  • Direct access to relevant audience
  • Quicker results
  • Get data


  • It’s a cost to your business
  • Can take trial and error to get it right

Which is best - organic or paid?

Lookit. There is no straight answer for this - it totally depends on your business, your audience, and what platform you’re talking about.

Paid social media is different on each platform is different depending on the campaign and audience.

What you're gonna want to hear is % on Organic, % on Paid.

I hate giving the real answer, because people don't want that.

No Magic Bullet. There is no magic formula. It's bullshit, because the answer is different for every single business.

There's no right or wrong way to do it. There is no formula. There are things you can do wrong, of course! Like write out a list of 10 different platforms and try to show up on every single one. That is the wrong way.

What you need to do is ask yourself some questions:

  • Do you have bandwidth for it?
  • Do you have budget for it?
  • What platforms are your customers on?
  • How will you measure your ROI?
  • Do you have the inventory for it?
  • Do you have a team to help with that uptick in orders?

We recommend focusing on one or two and going all in and doing them really well, versus spreading yourself too thin and never really making the most of any one platform. And this is whether it's organic or paid marketing, wherever you decide to do paid marketing make sure that you're also working that platform in an organic way as well.

According to a 2019 study, search traffic generated 65% of total ecommerce sessions, 33% was generated through organic search, and 32% was generated through paid search.

The average order value for customers referred from Instagram is $65.00, followed by Facebook ($55), Twitter ($46), and YouTube ($38). (Shopify).

How to make them work together

My recommendation: use social to build an audience. When you have traction, you have proven your business concept or your brand, then you can go to paid ads because you’ll also have the profit to play with.

Find and focus on a couple of sources where you're able to drive really good, solid traffic. And when you are able to expand into a team that's when you can start to take on more marketing strategy, especially in terms of organic. It does take a lot of time and energy, and it's kind of like go big or go home.

Basically the bottom line is to use paid advertising to amplify and scale what is ALREADY working.

Using Experts

Depending on where you are with your business, you might want to think about outsourcing. At some point this is necessary, because as CEO, you simply cannot wear all the hats forever.

But sales and marketing is one of the last things that you outsource because no one is going to care about your business quite like you do, so you want to make sure that whatever you're outsourcing first, you're still hanging on to sales and marketing in terms of making sure that you have the revenue coming in to continue to sustain and grow your team.

But at some point it makes sense to outsource to an expert, right? BUT remember - you still hold the reins, right? You still need to be involved, you still need to be making sure that you're doing what you need to do to support what they're doing. And you still need to be paying attention to how things are going.

I recommend working with someone for 90 days to give them time to get the traction and the results to move forward. It also gives them time to learn your brand and your business and your ideal customer - again there's just a lot of trial and error that goes into that.

But don’t be afraid to switch up and try a new agency or expert if it’s just no working out.

Lastly, it’s important to remember, this: not all ROI is in dollars, right? Sometimes it’s in the learning or the experience you’ve gained ;)

Final thoughts 💭💭💭

So, that’s my scoop on paid versus organic marketing for your Shopify store. There is definitely a role for both in your biz, but the exact way you divide it up will depend on YOUR business. There is no magic bullet, it is just something you have to figure out.

But as CEO, having an amazing team behind me makes all the difference. Paid ads can definitely help you scale your business, but my top tip is to only really get into that when you have the cash to spend on it, and you already have proven your store concept.

Hopefully this was helpful! Leave us a comment or if you've got more questions or need some help, reach out - we've got you!

Till next time, cheers!

And if you want a website critique or need more support on strategy - hit us up!

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1 comment

  • Paris Williams

    I need help. My page is I need someone to let me know does my page look ok. How do I get adds to show on instagram etc.

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