One question I’ve heard a lot, “are Facebook ads worth it?” While there are a lot of nuances to it (that we’ll dive into here), the simple answer is: Sometimes– if you do it right.
Before I dive into the details of how to do it correctly, it is important to first understand how not to spend ad dollars on a Facebook.
Why you shouldn’t spend money on Facebook
Facebook pushes the value of “likes” to small businesses a lot. Once they realize you have a business page, you’ll start getting emails and notices about bringing in more “likes” to your page. While the number of likes can sometimes be a proxy for the actual number of people your business is reaching, it’s not a reliable metric. And as bizarre as this sounds, there is fairly little value in likes to your page.
Facebook tells you that “likes” reflects how many people will see your post. While this might have been true in 2005 when Facebook first started allowing brands to create pages, it no longer is the case.
Whenever trying to understand Facebook (and other social media networks in general) remember this: Facebook is a business, not a public service. The way they make money is by charging brands to connect with Facebook users. They are going to charge you to connect with new potential customers, and they’re going to charge you to connect with existing customers who have already liked your page.
Want to learn more about likes, and their value? This video (while a few years old) still explains the problem with “likes”.
The big take away? Don’t pay for likes.
Don’t pay to boost increase your audience.
Don’t pay to find more people like those that already like your page.
Don’t pay for likes. Ever.
When Facebook ads are worth it
Likes are worthless, but Facebook can have quite a lot of value for your brands. Facebook is in the business of collecting data, and selling this data to advertisers. If your ad campaign isn’t leveraging Facebook’s massive pool of data, you’re not doing it right. If you’re relying on your own content and message to be the value, you’re looking at advertising on Facebook the wrong way. If you’re relying on Facebook’s data to target your message to the right person at the right time, then you’re doing it right.
Facebook collects very detailed data about all its users. They know how old they are, how many pets they have, whether they are parents (and how many kids they have), their political interests (and the amount they care about it), their favorite foods, where they like to shop and eat, and so much more. Some people may see this as intrusive or scary- as a marketer, I kind of like that.
If you’re willing to pay, Facebook will allow you to leverage this data to grow your business.
If you know what your customer looks like then you can pay Facebook to serve content directly to them.
So when is it worth it? When you know your customer precisely, and you can target them based on the data Facebook allows you to access as an advertiser.
If you’re not wasting a single penny serving an add to someone who is not a fit to buy your products or visit your business, then you’re doing it right. Facebook ad spend will have a positive ROI.
What does this mean?
Facebook ads should be highly targeted. When designed ads in their ad manager, your goal (almost always) should be to have a very small reach. Get as specific as you can with your target
Create variations on your ads that reflect the particulars of your audience. For example, if you’re selling to parents, create a variation of your ad for 1 child families, 2 child families, and 3 or more child families. People will more closely relate to ads that reflect who they are. Facebook won’t charge you a penny more to split out an ad into 3 variations based on slightly different targeting audiences. The ads will all perform better, the cost will be the same. It’s a win win.