Are Facebook Ads Necessary? Yes.
I’ve been fighting this admission for a while now. I don’t want to believe that it’s necessary to pay for Facebook ads for your page in order to be successful, grow page likes, increase website click-throughs, and increase revenue.
But for the average business page, it has gotten to the point where if you are not paying for Facebook ads, you’re simply not in the game.
Even though I am admitting that it is necessary to use Facebook ads if you are marketing on Facebook, I’m not saying that it’s some kind of trick Facebook is playing to get more money. There are plenty of Facebook pages out there that I follow that regularly show up in my Newsfeed, and who are organically growing their fan base. Those pages have exemplary content, and are great at connecting and building relationships with their fans OFFLINE as well as online. They use Facebook pages the way they were intended, as a channel of honesty and authenticity, that builds a loyal customer base.
We’ve Reached The Tipping Point
A few years ago I was interviewed on a local podcast about Facebook marketing. We discussed the theory behind social media marketing, and how to build a successful Facebook page. In that podcast I said that we will at some point approach a tipping point, where the flood of information will be too overwhelming, and Facebook will be too saturated with brands competing for the attention of Facebook users – for free.
And I believe that is now where we are at. Marketers ruin everything. Seriously. That’s why we have DVR’s, and banner ad blockers, and change the channel on the radio when commercials come on. They (we) don’t know when to stop.
So because of that flood of information, Facebook’s algorithm got kicked in to high gear. If you don’t know, Facebook uses an algorithm to determine what information is put into your Newsfeed. If you haven’t already caught on, you don’t see every update from everyone and every page you follow on Facebook.
The Facebook algorithm sorts all of your updates and shows you the ones that the algorithm thinks you will be most interested in. It does this based on a lot of factors, such as the type of content and the way you interact with it and the person or page who published it.
Are Facebook Ads Worth The Investment?
Now that we know that, whether we like it or not, we have to “pay to play” on Facebook, the question now becomes: is it worth it? is it worth the money?
I could argue both sides of this question, and really I think the deciding factors come down to who your target audience is, what you are using Facebook for, and what your budget for digital marketing is. I can’t (and won’t) say what’s right for everyone, I’ll just argue the two sides.
Why Facebook ads are worth it:
Facebook of course is the largest social network there is, and second only to Google as the website where people spend their time online. Having a presence there and connecting with people is like having a store front in Times Square.
And Facebook ads, for the reach you get and the way that you can specifically target your audience, are incredibly affordable, even for the smallest operation. If you do it right, Facebook ads can bring you a consistent stream of page Likes or get your product out to thousands and thousands of the right people for just a few dollars a day.
Contact your local newspaper or TV station and ask them how much it costs to run a banner ad (that is not targeted to a specific audience or engaging in any way), and how many impressions you will get. Then, take that amount and use it on targeted Facebook advertisements instead, and see how many impressions you get. Which in Facebook terms is view of your post, your page, or your ad. You’ll soon realize that they are more than worth the investment.
Why Facebook ads are not worth it:
You can work your way up to a million fans on Facebook, but at the end of the day, if Facebook goes away (or changes their algorithm, or it’s policies, or ad pricing, or whatever), those million fans go away. You don’t “own” your connection with those fans, Facebook does. So you are investing in a platform that you don’t own.
Now, if you used Facebook to initially connect with fans and funnel them to your website and capture their email address or get them to subscribe to your blog, or bring them into your store and develop a relationship with them, then you “own” that connection and don’t rely on Facebook to communicate with them.
But if you are building a Facebook fan base to grow your business for the future, don’t bet the farm on it because it can very quickly vaporize. Whether that’s tomorrow or 20 years down the road, no one can say. Just hold on lightly to it, and definitely don’t rely only on Facebook for your digital marketing.
How to best use Facebook for marketing:
- Don’t put your entire marketing budget into and rely exclusively on Facebook to communicate with your customers and fans.
- Diversify your digital marketing and invest in other areas rather than just Facebook (my recommendation would be your website, SEO, & email marketing).
- If you’re going to use Facebook ads, consult with a professional about what type of ads you are running, what the content should be, and who to target so that you get the best return on your investment possible and don’t waste money.
One more thing…
Everyone puts a lot of stock into Facebook Likes, because it’s a simple and easy measurement. But be careful that you don’t inflate their importance too much.
A Facebook like isn’t a sale, it doesn’t put money in your pocket, and like we know now, it doesn’t even guarantee you a captive audience. If you don’t have a strategy for turning that “Like” relationship into revenue, at best it’s just bragging rights and social proof.
So before you dump money into Facebook, make sure you know why you’re using it and create a strategy for getting a return on your investment.
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