Priorities, priorities. The real issue: you’ve heard people argue both. Google ads help people find you in web searches, which is where you get most of your traffic from right now. But there’s a lot of talk around social media. Where is the best place to start?

The answer is…yes.

Not trying to be coy, but they’re both good things. Ideally, you would be doing both. But which one you should be doing in your situation, now THAT is the question. A look at each option:

Google Ads

The upside: Combined with good search engine optimization on your website (SEO), Google ads allow you to help the right people find you through internet searches. For example, if you offer housing for low-income families, running ads built around relevant web searches (“low-income housing”) will help you pop up first on the list. You can even tailor it geographically so only local people will see your ad. You can almost instantly start driving hundreds or even thousands of extra visitors per week to your website, with reasonable confidence that they’ll be the people you want to find you.

The downside: They’re not cheap. You could find yourself paying upwards of $5 or $6 ­per click for your visitors. And they’re not social—that $6 for that one visitor usually only buys you that one visitor, with no way of connecting with his friends. That is, unless you get him to connect socially while he’s on your site, which brings me to…

Facebook Ads

The upside: Facebook ads allow you to target people even more specifically than Google. Google is inherently limited to people who are actively searching for you (unless you pay for ads that appear in other websites, which are an added cost). Facebook allows you to put posts in the sidebar or even the news feeds of people who you already know would be excited by what you do. On top of that, Facebook ads are cheap (if you know your stuff, you can get someone to like your page for $0.10 or $0.15 per like), and they’re social (meaning every connection is a window into yet another network of friends who might find you exciting).

The downside: They’re slow and they take active engagement, especially if you don’t have the kind of money that would have allowed you to do a massive Google Ads campaign. You can get dozens or hundreds of likes per day, or thousands of post views, pretty inexpensively—but building that up to 10,000 likes and translating it to the activity/email subscriptions/donations you want will generally take weeks or months, and it will take a lot of planning and day-to-day engagement (whereas Google Ads technically run themselves, although you want to tweak them regularly).

Feel free to get in touch with me if you want to talk about this further.