Paid Ads: To Spend or Not to Spend?

The Indie Hackers newsletter is one of our favorite reads. It's full of ideas, helpful advice, and great resources.

This week, their newsletter weighs on the subject of "ad hesitancy":

The reality is that there is no such thing as “free traffic.” The more accurate term is “organic traffic,” which is paid for with time, energy, and sometimes, money (if you've hired an employee, agency, or contractor to do the work for you).

Sadly, time is the only nonrenewable resource. Once it’s spent, it’s gone for good.

So, which option is right for you? Here’s a framework that I use to help my clients decide:

  1. How quickly do you want results? If speed is a priority, paid options like search engine ads, social media ads, display network ads, or affiliate programs are the best option for you.
  2. How would you like to pay for awareness? If you want to spend more time than money, consider organic options like content marketing, search engine optimization, or community building.
  3. How important is control to you? One of the benefits of paid traffic is that it can be turned on, off, up, or down within minutes. Organic traffic, on the other hand, has a much longer turnaround time.
  4. How important is gathering and acting upon data to you? Paid traffic platforms offer you much more data than their organic alternatives. For example, with Facebook ads, you have a lot of targeting options (location, demographics, interests, and behaviors) and tight attribution windows. This allows you to test ideas quickly and iterate towards success in real time.

Related posts