Social Media

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Quality Versus Quantity and 3 Reasons Why Your Content isn’t Moving

by Joanne Dolezal on 28th October 2019

When it comes to content marketing, the quality versus quantity debate just got serious. Based on Buzzsumo’s 2019 publication of analysis of content performance on the platform, new challenges face content marketers.

Changes in software, social media platforms and messaging apps create fresh challenges if you are designing marketing and sales strategy for your organisation.

These three key challenges are content shock (or saturation), changes in social media affecting content performance and the need to increase content quality or compete on content quantity.

Key Challenges for Content Marketers

Content shock and information density

When Mark Schaefer first talked about Content Shock in a 2014 blog, many in the content and digital marketing world predicted the end of ‘content’ as a strategy.

Schaefer was writing in response to a huge increase in the volume of content being published hourly on every digital channel and the finite number of hours we human beings have in the average day to consume it.

Schaefer is a leading light in the content marketing world and his blog, Content Shock – Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy, created a tsunami of comments. Many agreed, some disagreed, but the core idea, that content marketing may not be a sustainable strategy for some businesses is not to be dismissed out of hand.

This is how Mark Schaefer described it:

“Content Shock: The emerging marketing epoch defined when exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect our limited human capacity to consume it”.

The challenge that Schaefer was facing as a blogger and podcaster was that he was essentially ‘paying’ people to consume his content. It takes time to produce, especially podcasts, and although it is free to self-publish online, there is a time cost involved: number of hours x hourly rate, for example. Time that could be used more profitably elsewhere. The ROI would be delivered further down the line from the number of website visits, leads and conversions.

With the sharp increase in content published across all channels in recent years, there is a greater supply of information to the customer and more competition for their attention. If demand does not increase as sharply – due to the finite capacity to consume digital content – then the business would see a diminishing ROI (or ROTI – Return On Time Invested).

If the time cost had to increase (for better quality content), or the volume of web traffic decreased (due to increase in competing content) then the time cost may increase to such a level that it ceases to be a viable strategy for some businesses. Especially those of you who are in a sector or industry where there is a huge volume of competing content.

The concepts of the Money Value of Time (MVOT) along with the Return on Time Invested (ROTI), originally developed by Rory Vaden, are particularly relevant to content marketing. It is a viable strategy for no- or low-budget marketers, but only up to a point.

“Over time, the low budget content producers are eased out of the consumer mindshare as we “pay” more for their attention. Pay with their time, or increasingly pay to increase the distribution of content via social media or digital channels.” Schaefer

Marcus Sheridan, another leading light in the US content marketing world wrote a blog, Six Arguments Against Content Shock, arguing that:

  • great content will always win;
  • it costs no more to produce great content;
  • content shock is irrelevant if you have an identified niche;
  • customers will always research purchases and seek answers;
  • content marketing does not require a big budget;
  • and technology will provide the solution to finite consumer demand (for content).

His content marketing philosophy – listening, communicating and teaching – goes some way to explaining his point of view and belief in quality versus quantity.

“To me, that’s all we’re striving to do here. And because these words are the core of content marketing, and because they’re also principle based, the value of this will never go away. Listening will always be critical in business.”

Effective communication will always dramatically impact consumers. And powerful teaching will always be the key to generating consumer trust and action.” Sheridan

So, on one side we have ‘measurable results’ and on the other we have ‘relationship building’ – not necessarily at odds with each other, until the increase in competition for customers attention reaches a level that is unsustainable. It could also be when others in your company raise questions about whether this is the best strategy, the best use of your time and budget.

“Of course there are always exceptions in business and everyone can point to their favourite “David” beating a Goliath. But the economics of content marketing are straightforward: create lots of great content that can be discovered by customers and potential customers. If you can saturate your market, all the better.” Schaefer

Fast forward to 2018, and the publication in January of Content Trends 2018 – BuzzSumo Report by Steve Rayson (BuzzSumo is a paid research and monitoring tool).

The report (and accompanying slide show) present their latest research and findings based on analysis of content performance across the BuzzSumo platform. To add credibility, they share the performance analytics of their own content too.

What they found is worrying, wherever you sit on the ‘purpose of content marketing’ swingometre. They track content performance based on shares, likes and comments.

First the bad news.

On average, social shares have more than halved since 2015. They looked at the median number as opposed to average number.

In 2015, the median number of shares was 8.

In 2017 it was as little as 4.









Content Shock, or Information Density as BuzzSumo call it, is evidently having an impact as more content competes for attention.

So too is the increase in private sharing, so-called “dark social media”. People are sharing content more frequently via apps (including Slack, Whatsapp, Messenger, etc), within email or text message. You can’t see (or measure) the true number of shares your social media posts and other content have earned. You can only see engagement in the form of likes, comments, shares/retweets when performed directly on your own online platforms or on social media.

Facebook changes have had a significant impact on content performance, especially ‘reach’. In 2017, Facebook warned brands and publishers that due to the tremendous quantity of content now being published directly onto the platform, they were going to limit the number of posts and ads Facebook users were served (shown) each visit.

Brands who had spent years building their Facebook followers, saw the true organic reach of their Facebook content plummet along with engagement and referral traffic to their website.

“Facebook Armageddon”

In 2018, Facebook announced that it would now be limiting the number or ads served to Facebook users each visit too.

This has obliged brands to ‘pay to play’ on Facebook.

Other changes among the big social media players have also had a knock-on effect on sharing (and engagement).

  1. YouTube has been plagued by scandal as ‘video nasties’ pursue the same target audiences as big household brands in an attempt to have maximum exposure and impact.

2. Google+ has become largely irrelevant.

3. Twitter has recently ‘outlawed’ repeated posts – a common distribution tactic for evergreen content.

4. Even LinkedIn referral traffic is down as all the social media platforms compete for attention, time users spend on their platform and advertising revenue.

Not surprisingly, many brands are revising their entire social media strategy as a result.

3 top reasons for decline in content sharing - BuzzSumo report 2018

3 top reasons for decline in content sharing – BuzzSumo report 2018

Now the good news.

A number of online publishers have apparently ‘bucked the trend’.

The New York Times has actually seen shares of its online content (news) treble over time, since 2015. The Economist and Harvard Business Review had also seen an increase in social shares since 2015 – not in all content but in some content.

The conclusion that Rayson draws is that in an age of ‘fake news’ and information density, quality may trump quantity.

These online publishers already have a reputation, earned over many years in traditional media, for producing well-researched, informative, long-form and credible ‘news’. Rayson suggests that “people are more selective in their sharing” as they want to share something worthwhile with their audience.

Linked In sharing is also up so this is good news for B2B (business to business) brands.

New York Times - BuzzSumo report 2018

Average shares of New York Times content treble – BuzzSumo report 2018


In short, the volume of content has significantly increased and median shares have halved since 2015 but in some areas, such as news or analysis (The New York Times, The Economist, Harvard Business Review, etc) there has been a slow but steady increase in shares.

In the same period ‘clickbait’ content – with an eye-catching title but little substance – has seen a significant drop in shares and performance.

The Flight to Quality…

All of this together would suggest a preference for quality, well-researched and credible content that will presumably deliver value to those with whom it is shared, versus quantity. It also enhances the reputation of the brand or individual who has curated and shared quality content.

Many marketers and agencies turn to marketing automation as the solution to ‘quantity’ of content published, and whilst this may help in the short term, it won’t improve the quality of content created.

“Content Shock isn’t the problem, it’s the solution. By producing high quality, core evergreen content, and also regular content such as news, updates and practical tips, you provide less opportunity for new entrants who will struggle to gain attention.” Rayson

You can certainly compete on quality and you may not need to win the quantity game depending on the sector or industry you are in.

You just need to reach, convince and convert enough of your target customers to succeed.

Where do you start?

Our online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

Don’t leave without “The Easy Guide to Content Marketing”.


Photo by ytcount on Unsplash

If you’d like see the full BuzzSumo presentation:

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Joanne DolezalQuality Versus Quantity and 3 Reasons Why Your Content isn’t Moving

The Advantages and Disadvantages of YouTube Advertising

by Joanne Dolezal on 7th October 2019

If you haven’t tried YouTube advertising yet, our blog takes you through the ad types, pros and cons.

As a business, it’s very easy to set up your channel. You can add your branding and information about your company, as well as getting a personalised URL.

You can subscribe to videos for people who do similar things to you and create an interesting place for people to visit – the videos you subscribe to will be shown on your channel. It’s a great way to share quality video content.

Paid YouTube Advertising Tools

On YouTube, you can promote your business channel with Adwords campaigns, as you can on Google channels. You can also:

  • Promote your videos
  • ‘Sell’ ad space on your channel – monetisation
  • Tap in to Google Advertising Platform – Search Console

You can monetise your account, so if people are promoting something that fits well with what you do and want to advertise it, they can do this on your channel or page.

Using the same search console as Google, you can set your keywords, types of people you’re targeting and the promise that your video will appear in appropriate places.

Obviously, you hope that appropriate content will appear next to your videos.

There are three places for your YouTube adverts to appear:

your video (or someone else’s – i.e. a competitor) can appear in the search results, with those at the top being in premium slots.


You can have preview videos that sit before your video, which you can sell to others or buy yourself on other channels.



You can also advertise beside the videos.



Consider how YouTube has changed over the years.

It’s gone from being the place where we put homemade videos, to a place for big brands to host their adverts, to the film and music industries sharing videos, to today – an archive for anything you’ve ever watched. 

There’s also a whole other side to YouTube, which is educational. It’s where the how-to videos are and where we go to learn, but also where training and educational videos are.

So now let’s look at the pros and cons of YouTube advertising in more detail.

Advantages of YouTube Advertising

  • One of the main advantages is that Google owns YouTube and loves it, so everyone else does too.
  • People love videos, so there’s a lot going for you if you’ve got good-quality content on YouTube.
  • It’s the second-largest search engine (after Google) and a lot of people spend all their time in YouTube.
  • There’s a daisy-chain effect that if someone watches one thing they’ll be suggested something else, which is how they end up staying on the platform.

Disadvantages of YouTube Advertising

  •  YouTube offers sophisticated targeting for cost per click and display ads, and it’s a great place for viral content, because people love to share videos. However, the targeting is sometimes poor, and the follow-on content can be a bit random.
  • Cost-per-click is an auction, and you’re bidding against others for the highest spots. If they bid more than you, you go down of the line, so some keywords can be expensive (several hundred pounds).
  • While Google Search Console is fun to play with, it’s not for the amateur, so I don’t recommend trying to master it on your own.
  • As with search engine optimisation, it pays you to get good advice and do it properly, as otherwise you’re putting money straight into Google’s pockets.
  • One of the cons with YouTube advertising, unfortunately, is that the follow-on content (suggested videos) can sometimes be off-topic.

Now for the fun bit

You now need to decide which platform is best for you and what type of advert to do. Over the series, we’ll focus on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube, because they’re likely to be where you’re already most active and they are a good place to start.

Next time, we’ll look at how to maximise your paid social media and get the most out of social media advertising.

If you like video, check out our recording of this fascinating topic and learn from these amazing thought leaders.

Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

Don’t leave without grabbing your free eBook.


Photo by Nordwood Themes on Unsplash

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Joanne DolezalThe Advantages and Disadvantages of YouTube Advertising

Are LinkedIn Paid Features and Advertising Tools Worth the Investment?

by Joanne Dolezal on 30th September 2019

It’s time to explore the various LinkedIn paid tools and features and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of LinkedIn advertising.

LinkedIn was one of the earliest social media platforms to take off – launched in 2003 – and it benefits from having been around a long time. The platform is well-optimised, has changed very gradually over the years and has an excellent search function. It functions on keyword search: names of businesses, colleges, universities or people. It also holds a lot of content, so topic based search works well too.

This means that you can find just about anyone you want to connect with, research any company you want to work with (or for) and target prospective customers, employers and recruits specifically.

Linked In Free Accounts

Linked In is free to use and you can creat a personal profile, company pages, groups and content (posts and articles).

You also get a free InMail address, allowing people to communicate with you within the platform.

You can publish articles directly on Linked In, post and share video, text, graphics and audio.

More importantly, you can present your experience, skills and recommendations all on one page – making it very easy for potential clients or employers to find you.

Content shared on Linked In is more trusted than on other platforms (including Facebook) and you are ‘hanging out’ with a more affluent set of connections – Linked In is a predominantly ‘white collar’ network.

LinkedIn Paid Features

There are a number of paid-for features available on LinkedIn:

  • Premium Accounts
  • Sponsored Content
  • Display Ads
  • PPC – Pay per Click ads
  • Sponsored InMail

Premium Accounts

Paid accounts are great if you’re working permanently or temporarily, maybe in business development or recruitment, if you’re working on something specific in your business (such as a recruitment drive) or you’re looking to target people outside of your networks, including geographically.

There’s a lot more information available about people, and you’re allowed to send a certain number of “InMail” messages to people who are beyond the second-degree circle of connection.

Sponsored Content

You may have a post, a video, an event or a download that you want to promote so Sponsored Content could be a good way to present it to a wider, paid-for target audience. As it is a ‘post’ or status update, your word count is not as limited as it is on other ad formats and is ideal for raising awareness and spreading the word.

They are straightforward to set up: simply paste a link to the appropriate page into a box, and it pulls across all of the meta tags, images and information needed – then the advert is ready to go. It’s up to you to decide who you’re targeting, so you can target based on location or job title.

Advertising Tools

There are two “classic” types of advertising you can do: you can set an ad with an eye-catching image or graphic and a few words (Display Ad). Or you can set up a text only advert (Pay per Click).

I recently worked with a client moving across from agency recruitment where they were spending in excess of £50,000 a year. LinkedIn has provided them with a cost-effective targeting and recruitment channel.

Again, you can test the water and see if there’s a market, what the numbers are like and if it’s worth it, and worth spending the money on advertising. The options are CPC – cost per click – or pay for impressions (cost per 1,000 impressions = 1,000 people will see the ad). It doesn’t mean that they’re going to do anything with it, but they have the chance to see it.

You can set your budget on a daily basis or with a total, and set how long the advert will run. It gives you a snapshot of your overall campaign and make decisions from there on whether or not to go ahead.

Sponsored InMail Campaigns

Paid InMail campaigns are still relatively new and tap into the huge amount of data LinkedIn has to help you target based on profile data, contact details and so on.

You prepare the copy for your campaign and identify the type of people you want to target, LinkedIn will send it to them on your behalf. You don’t get the mailing list or the data, but they send it and it’s then up to you to manage the responses.

Advantages of LinkedIn Advertising

  • You have a much higher value audience on LinkedIn.
  • There’s also a level of seniority or degree of professional development above which people feel Linked In works for them. Members tend to be above a certain educational level, and they have a higher net worth. They’re going to have a business budget to spend and may be earning more money.
  • LinkedIn is also a big recruitment tool, so they know what average salaries are by industry, what people are worth and what their spending power is. Its targeting and search functions are fantastic, so you can find any needle in any haystack.
  • The ad platform is user friendly and the customer support is great. You can email them with issues and queries and they’ll come back to you the same day, with a response from a named person, so you feel that it’s a business service.
  • LinkedIn is also more cost-effective, particularly for recruiters – traditional ad channels can be expensive.

Disadvantages of LinkedIn Advertising

  • If you set up an ad campaign, whether stand-alone or sponsored content, you’ll get clicks and a count for how many you received, but you won’t get the contact data. It’s up to you to make sure that the secondary data capture is set up. If you’ve redirected them to a landing page on your website or data capture form, that’s the ideal method. Otherwise it’s just a number on an analytics page.
  • It’s more expensive than Facebook, with average cost-per-click being around $6 (compared to 50 cents). Minimum daily budget is $10, compared to £1 on Facebook. However, if it’s a more valuable sale (or recruit), it may be worth the investment.
  • Lastly, InMail has become a bit spammy, and more often than not people are trying to sell you stuff, rather than reaching out with anything of particular interest. If you choose to do an InMail campaign, how are you going to stand out and get people’s attention?

Remember, while there are some helpful paid features, you don’t need LinkedIn paid features to do well, or to build your network.

Now for the fun bit

You now need to decide which platform is best for you and what type of advert to do. Over the To Pay or Not To Pay series, we focus on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and YouTube, because they’re likely to be the platforms where you’re already most active and they are a good place to start.

In our next blog we look at the pros and cons of YouTube advertising.

If you like video, check out our recording of this fascinating topic and learn from these amazing thought leaders.

Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

Don’t leave without grabbing your free eBook.


Photo by Rawpixel on Unsplash

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Joanne DolezalAre LinkedIn Paid Features and Advertising Tools Worth the Investment?

Twitter Paid Tools: Twitter Cards, Promoted Tweets and Adverts

by Joanne Dolezal on 23rd September 2019

Continuing our series on the pros and cons of paid advertising on social media, we look at Twitter adverts.

Twitter is a very different beast to Facebook and with approximately 330 million users, only a sixth of the number of accounts.

It’s a very open platform, designed for mobile and really easy to use. On Twitter you can connect with people and find topics and trends that interest you.

Want to join the conversation? Jump right in.

You can follow anyone you like without having a mutual connection between you. It’s easy to gain someones attention using the ‘Tweet to’ feature; alternatively give them a ‘shout out’ with a @mention.

And you can promote your tweets, trends and accounts.

But the best thing about paid advertising onTwitter? It’s significantly less complex than Facebook Ads Manager.

Promoted Tweets

This could be a tweet that’s performed well, with lots of retweets, likes and interactions and given you new follows. Pick your winners, not your losers, even if the loser was something you really wanted people to know about.

You can also create a stand-alone tweet, with an image, for the purpose of the promotion. As Twitter is such a viral platform, retweets, comments and likes could could get expensive if you had to pay every time somebody ‘engages’. Fortunately, they only charge you for the first time your twitter adverts earn engagement, so if the followers of someone who has shared you post also retweet, there’s no cost.

Promoted tweets appear in people’s feed, so you have the option of including a link or an eye-catching image for people to click through to an advert. The way to tell whether something is sponsored or paid for is to look for the little yellow box with the arrow.

Promoted Accounts

Promoted accounts can be a way to increase your following or your reach, perhaps in another country. However, you can only promote your account at country level, rather than regionally, which is a downside. This can add to the expense and may reach people you’re not able to serve.

Promoted Trends

Promoted trends involves using hashtag, which are wonderful. Putting a pound sign (#) in front of a truncated phrase of words allows you to create something that can travel around social media and be found at the touch of a button. Hashtags work on all the platforms, so choose the best ones for your business use them everywhere. You can create hashtags around your brand, product or company name, or any phrase you want.

You may decide to create a trend, so if you’re promoting an event that’s coming up, or there’s a national or international event or movement, you can create a hashtag around it. This will get you into the promoted trend box but also in front of people’s eyes.

Twitter Adverts = Twitter Cards

Twitter adverts also support display ads, or cards as they call them, that allow for an image plus a headline. You can promote a variety of ‘calls to action’ and your advertising goals can include:

  • Engagement
  • Website Clicks
  • Website Conversions
  • App Installs
  • AppRe-engagements
  • Followers
  • Leads
  • Video Views
  • Customised ads

Twitter also supports remarketing campaigns and can generate pixels for you to embed on key pages of your website. Using remarketing enables you to re-engage with website visitors, especially e-commerce customers who have ‘abandoned cart’.

In fact anyone who leaves without completing their transaction can be reached with remarketing campaigns.

How much does it cost to advertise on Twitter?

Twitter has a self-service advertising platform, but advertising on Twitter requires deeper pockets than on Facebook. Although it’s changed now, when Twitter first started out there was an assumption that people would have a minimum ad spend of around $3,000 per month. It is currently around £50.00 per day minimum spend.

You simply go in, set things up in draft format, then leave. Twitter will drop you a line to remind you that your ad is not yet finished and invite you to come back. This is a good way of experimenting with it first. You may decide you don’t like the creatives (images or graphics) or the link you wanted to include wasn’t quite ready yet. You are able to pause and return to your advert.

Pros and Cons


  • Cost per engagement is a great feature, especially on a viral platform like Twitter.
  • Twitter has great interactivity and there are many ways that you can use it.
  • Geo-targetting was introduced last year so you can now advertise ‘locally’. Before, you could only advertise at country level.
  • It’s the most open platform so it’s easy to connect with, observe and follow people without necessarily having a mutual ‘digital’ connection.


  • On the downside, targeting isn’t 100% reliable and is not as sophisticated as on Facebook or LinkedIn. They’ve done some work, however, to improve targeting by using email addresses and IP addresses.
  • The news feed is very busy because there’s so much posting going on every second.
  • You may only have a second for someone to see your ad, so it needs to be eye-catching.
  • And it isn’t cheap to advertise on Twitter, so less enticing than Facebook and their ‘boost’ feature.

Now for the fun bit

You now need to decide which platform is best for you and what type of advert to do. Over the To Pay or Not To Pay series, we focus on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube, because they’re likely to be the platforms where you’re already most active and they are a good place to start.

In our next blog we look at the pros and cons of Linked In advertising.

If you like video, check out our recording of this fascinating topic and learn from these amazing thought leaders.

Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

Don’t leave without grabbing your free eBook.


Photo by on Unsplash

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Joanne DolezalTwitter Paid Tools: Twitter Cards, Promoted Tweets and Adverts

Facebook Advertising, Custom Audiences, Split Testing and Remarketing

by Joanne Dolezal on 16th September 2019

Facebook has a whole range of sophisticated advertising tools and features, each with advantages and disadvantages. In this blog we will focus on custom audiences, split testing and remarketing.

Facebook Custom or ‘Lookalike’ Audiences

Facebook can help you target potential customers by identifying people who’ve already liked your page and help you reach Facebook users who have similar (lookalike) attributes. What this means, is that you can essentially clone your current audiences and create lookalike audiences. If they are similar, with shared characteristics, they are likely to be interested in you too.

Social media targeting isn’t always easy, especially if you don’t have good quality customer data or insight. Even the audience insights you get from your social media analytics can be misleading. They may be too broad, or more importantly, cover people who ‘do’ follow you even though they may not be who you ‘want’ to follow you.

It’s not always easy, because depending on how much you know about your current customers, it can be difficult to know who your target customers are.

Facebook offers you a way around this.

Facebook Remarketing Pixel

If you are using the Facebook remarketing pixel, (see below) you can track people who’ve visited your website and target them with ads. When someone visits your page, Facebook will fire the pixel and gather their user data (from their device) and find them on Facebook. You can serve ‘remarketing’ ads to them or you can create Facebook Custom Audiences based on their shared criteria.

Do you have an email database or mailing lists of lapsed clients or newsletter recipients, who don’t respond any more? Why not import these lists into Facebook and if they can identify them based on their email address, you can target them with ads.

Alternatively, You can create lookalike or Facebook custom audiences based on your imported email database and any shared characteristics with other Facebook users.

With the variety of content you create and share on Facebook, you can show a different side to your brand, products and services that may not come across so well in your email marketing.

Facebook Remarketing

Facebook remarketing is a clever tool that lets you create pixels – strings of code you can embed on key pages on your website.

Depending on the point at which people leave your website (like halfway through making a purchase!) you won’t know who they are. If they haven’t left any contact details it’s hard to reach out to them and find out why they didn’t complete their purchase or conversion goal.  Depending on what you want them to do, (your conversion goal) this could be a registration, download, sign up – whatever your ‘call to action’ invites them to do.

Pixels, or strings of code, are generated by Facebook and are unique to your Facebook account. They can be embedded into the code on your website pages. If someone visits these pages, it triggers the pixel.  Next time they visit Facebook, they will be presented with your advert at the side of their page.

Remarketing ads seems a bit ‘stalker-ish’, but they really work.  People will come back and finish their transaction. Perhaps they had some questions they wanted to ask, or they needed more information.

Your Facebook presence should strive to give them more information.

If you’re a bulk advertiser, if you’re an agency or you’re going to be running a lot of similar adverts and campaigns, you will want to use the Power Editor tool, which is accessible via the Google Chrome browser.

It allows you to make bulk changes to ad sets.

Why is Split Testing Adverts on Facebook important?

Split testing allows you to publish multiple versions of a piece of communication.

You may use it already with your email marketing to test subject lines, images, colours, ‘calls to action’, etc.

Split testing your advert/s will require you to prepare a variety of images and messages. You can have a single image advert, or a carousel advert where people scroll through up to six images.

Facebook will present all the options you’ve set up, then test the response from your target audience.  This helps you to establish which one they like best, quickly and easily. Facebook will then automatically select the best-performing ad and run it in future.

Pros If you work in marketing or the creative industries, you may have a different aesthetic (or taste) to your customers. You may believe that you have found the best ‘version’ of your business or brand. However, you may find that your target market has simpler (or just plain different) tastes. They may even pick the image or copy that you didn’t like.  Huh.

Split testing your ads is a great way of removing ‘us’ from the selection.

Cons You will need to prepare a selection of images, videos or graphics along with a variety of messages to upload before testing. This isn’t ideal if you don’t have much time or if this part of your campaign has been left to the last minute…

Pros and Cons of Facebook Advertising


  • Great targeting, and not just the information people give in their profiles about themselves, but also what’s harvested by all their interactions on Facebook
  • With Facebook Custom Audiences you can re-engage with ‘abandoned cart’ website visitors
  • It’s great for location, demographics, age and gender
  •  Behavioural and interest targeting on Facebook are superb and are an excellent way to help you focus and tighten your targeting
  • There’s a potential audience of 2 billion users
  • It integrates well with other apps and media.

Facebook wants you to spend all your time on their platform, so they work well on mobile devices, laptops and also with things such as Facebook Live. Many people even use it to log into other tools and applications they use.

The more relevant your targeting, the greater the potential conversion rate.


  • It’s increasingly complex, especially when you get into the heavy-duty ad tools
  • It’s time-consuming and you need to have everything ready before you go in to set up ad sets and campaigns
  • Creative images (or photos) must be exactly the right size for that particular ad type (and they are all a bit different!)
  • You can’t have more than 20% copy ratio to your images
  • Facebook has a strangely un-intuitive algorithm to decide if the content of your ad is appropriate
  • Conversion rates are low. On average 0.01% compared to 0.1% on Google Adwords (Digital Marketing Institute)

I’ve uploaded ad sets for clients that were completely harmless but because of the strict parameters the first versions were not approved.

Yet they’re quite happy to serve us ‘unsavoury’ content….

Before you start…

It’s worth reading up on Facebook advertising and getting some expert advice or joining one of our social media workshops. Facebook has excellent ‘how to’ guides on the platform for all levels of user. You can find out more about custom audiences or remarketing pixels for example.

You have to experiment with it for some time before you reap the benefits.

Check out our other blogs on social media advertising

If you like video, check out our recording of this fascinating topic and learn from these amazing thought leaders.

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Joanne DolezalFacebook Advertising, Custom Audiences, Split Testing and Remarketing