Previously, we answered the question, Should You Ever Pay for Social Media Advertising? In this article we explore the advantages and disadvantages of Facebook advertising. It is so easy to start advertising on Facebook but how can you apply it to your business marketing and avoid the pitfalls?
Facebook is pretty much unavoidable! Over two billion people around the world now have a Facebook personal profile, which is more than a quarter of the planet.
One factor in its global success has to be the mobile app. Let’s face it, it works beautifully, so you can snap, record and post directly from your smartphone.
Another factor is that it’s more democratic than some forms of online media, because you don’t need to have a lot of hardware or a fixed internet connection to access it.
With over 2 billion smartphones now in use around the world, even those in the developing world can join the Facebook community.
Facebook has also been shopping: Messenger, What’s App, Instagram, Pinterest et al have dramatically increased Facebook’s user base. Facebook now has a staggering 2.07 billion active users. Whenever a user interacts with any post, ad, status update, check-in, voucher, etc, Facebook gathers the data and stores it away for future use.
This article is not intended as a ‘how-to’ guide, more as a ‘why to’. Along the way, we’ll look at some of the Pros and Cons.
Facebook Advertising Features
You can run a variety of promotions and advertisements from your Facebook Page, but must be a ‘Page Admin’ and have added a payment card to your account details).
You can Boost posts, run a variety of Adverts designed to work at different stages of the Buyer Journey, Split Test a variety of message and design combinations, create Custom Audiences and set up Remarketing campaigns (with the handy pixel generator).
To Boost, or Not to Boost…
You can start advertising on your own Page. When you post an update, publish a note (blog), create an event or upload an image or video. There are various functions available: ‘schedule’, ‘back-date’, ‘save as a draft’ or ‘publish’. Once it’s published, you have the option to ‘Boost’ it, to ‘people who like your page’, ‘people who like your page and their friends’ or a Target Audience.
Pros It’s deceptively easy to start by boosting posts (from as little as £1 per day) but it’s better to promote them through the Ads Manager.
In the Ads Manager you’ll find better targeting tools and you’ll have more control over how your budget is allocated over the time you stipulated.
Cons It’s deceptively easy to start by boosting posts….
Even if you’ve set your daily budget and campaign duration, Facebook may not spread it as thinly as you would like. Leave it up to Facebook and they may ‘dump’ all your ad budget on the first day.
Facebook Target Audiences
A ‘Target Audience’ is a group of people you want to target with a set of shared attributes or characteristics. They could be similar to your existing Page Likes, or they could be a completely new type of audience. This means you can reach people beyond your Page Likes.
You will probably have slightly different messages for each of these target audiences. They could refer to specific location, time, topic, offer, whatever you decide.
It’s easy to boost posts and you can do it directly on your Page. It costs as little as £1 per day and you set the duration of your campaign. Just calculate how much money you want to spend and adjust the budget accordingly.
Based on your selection of target audience, daily budget and duration of campaign Facebook will give you an estimate of the number of people you may reach.
You may want to experiment with the Boost function for a while. To avoid having a Page full of similar posts, use your drop-down toggle to hide posts (once they’re published and boosted).
I’ve run whole campaigns for clients just on this type of advertising, and it works well but in my experience, it works best if you have:
- a good story
- great photography
- something that’s really appealing
- something time-limited
- and something that fits in with the way people use Facebook.
Facebook ads can be a good way to test ideas and concepts, including designs, get people to engage and promote in a cost-effective way.
Pros Great targeting, well beyond the information people share in their profiles about themselves, capturing data about all the interactions they have on Facebook.
It’s great for location, demographics, age and gender. interests.
Behaviour and interest targeting on Facebook is superb, and it’s an excellent way to help you get more focused and tighten your targeting.
If you get the right group of people, the conversion rate will be far greater.
Cons You need to flex the numbers (adjusting who you are targeting) to make sure your ads will reach enough people to deliver the number of results you need.
Facebook Ads Manager
When it comes to advertising, Facebook offers you various options.
When you go into Facebook’s advertising tools (Ads Manager), you need to ‘start with the end in mind’.
First, you’ll be asked to state your objective. This could be raising awareness of your business, products or services. You may choose consideration – getting people to take you seriously or visit your website. Alternatively, you be looking for a lead from them, either a phone number or an email address.
Are you hoping that social media can help you convert the person who’s interested in you, by increasing conversions on your website or by redeeming an offer?
Facebook offers you a menu to choose from: what you want people to do, which clarifies your objective. This is similar across all the platforms, so understanding the basics here will help you use other platforms too.
Advantages of Facebook Advertising There is a potential reach of 2+ billion and it integrates well with other apps and media.
Facebook wants you to spend all your time on their platform. This is why it works well on mobile devices, laptops and also with things such as Facebook Live. Many people also use it to log into other tools and applications they use.
Disadvantages of Facebook Advertising The click-through rate (CTR) is as low as 0.01% – 0.04% (DigitalMarketingInstitute.com). This is less than you’d expect for PPC (pay-per-click) or display ads via the Google AdWords or Google Display Network.
This could be because people don’t go onto Facebook to interact with adverts, or there’s just so much content on there that your ads get swamped.
What advantages or disadvantages have you found when you’ve advertised on Facebook? Please share your experience in the comments section below.
In the next blog we’ll look at more Facebook ad tools: Custom Audiences, Split Testing and Remarketing.
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