Is Paying Facebook For Promotion Worth It?

    June 19, 2014
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Facebook has all but killed the organic reach of your Page posts, leaving you with no choice but to hope for referrals from content your users share or pay them for exposure.

Now, there are concerns that it’s getting more expensive to advertise on Facebook. The question becomes: is it worth it?

Do you see enough success from Facebook ads to make it worth your money? Would you be willing to pay more for the same campaigns? Let us know in the comments.

Facebook at least acknowledges that its now harder to get your Page posts seen organically. A couple weeks ago, Brian Boland shared the company’s explanation. He says your organic reach would be worse if Facebook showed everything in the News Feed. You can make of that what you will, but he solutions he offered were basically: advertise, advertise, and advertise some more. Of course he also denied that the organic reach decline is motivated by money.

“When an ad has social context — in other words, when a person sees their friend likes your business — your ads drive, on average, 50% more recall and 35% higher online sales lift,” he wrote. “Fans also make the ads you run on Facebook more efficient in our ads auction. Ads with social context are a signal of positive quality of the ad, and lead to better auction prices. You can use insights about your fans — like where they live, and their likes and interests — to inform decisions about reaching your current and prospective customers.”

In a new report, Flightpath (via InsideFacebook) reveals what it calls an “alarming” decline in paid reach. It says that starting in mid-April, it spotted a significant decrease in paid reach on promoted posts of its clients’ brand pages with cost per reach nearly doubling.

“There is always the possibility this decline in paid reach was caused by minor changes in content and scheduling but for the most part we have followed a consistent campaign strategy since implementing promoted posts,” writes Flightpath senior director of digital marketing John Lee. “It seems highly unlikely that we would see this trend across multiple clients all within the same time frame.”

He notes that while paid reach decreased, engagement levels appeared to remain the same.

“So what does this mean?” continues Lee. “It’s hard to say for certain but it could force companies to dish out even more money to reach the same number of fans. In other words, expect the cost of effective promoted posts to rise (especially as more and more brands start to utilize this advertising option).”

At least Facebook appears to be working on making its ads more effective. The company recently announced that it would start including information about the websites and apps users visit in its ad targeting. I’ve already been seeing ads based on items I viewed on eBay, so they didn’t waste any time with that. That hasn’t translated into a conversion from me, but I’ll admit it caught my eye more than most Facebook ads.

Facebook ad spend might actually have benefits to your marketing campaign outside of Facebook as well. Granted, it was commissioned by Facebook, but a new study from Kenshoo finds that increased Facebook ad spending has a correlation with conversions for paid search. It presents what Kenshoo calls “quantifiable evidence that paid search conversion activity increases as advertisers spend more on Facebook.”

For three groups of people exposed to both paid search and Facebook ads, total conversions increased 19%.

The report says, “The average conversion rate of the exposed groups increased by 11%. By setting the value of the additional conversions generated by this difference against the cost of the Facebook ads, individual marketers can assess whether the additional conversion volume is worthwhile. For example, if every 10,000 clicks yielded an additional 73 conversions, each with a value of $100, an additional $7,300 would be generated by running Facebook ads alongside paid search. With slightly less than a 90% statistical confidence level, we understand this difference to be directional.”

It also found cost per acquisition to be down 10% on average and conversion contribution up 8% on average.

The level of spend on Facebook advertising correlates with the effect on paid search performance, the study finds, but the data suggests there is a minimum and maximum spend ratio. Here’s a look at the “sweet spot,” as presented:

It’s worth noting that Kenshoo also recently released a solution that matches paid slicks to Facebook audiences, so the study isn’t exactly the most unbiased thing in the world, but it’s still interesting.

Do you think Facebook ads are worth the money? Have you seen a relationship between your own Facebook ad spend and your paid search campaigns? Let us know in the comments.

Images via Flightpath, Kenshoo

  • Tina

    I have tried to advertise with Facebook and it was pretty useless. It seemed as though, the only people that were liking the page were people that worked for Facebook or those pay per click places. For 2 months I got 3 organic likes and the rest were “Facebook Likes” meaning their people or bots. Waste of $800. Never again.

  • bcgc

    No, the push into news feeds hasn’t increased the reach and we’re only doing it at a local level. Other means continue to be more profitable.

  • http://www.twocentsgroup.com.au/ Simon Dell

    I don’t think it’s rocket science that as organic reach declines, paid reach will decline (or become more expensive) for the exact same reason. $1.24 is still a lot cheaper than Google but Google manages to deliver much better traffic, at least for my business.


  • William MATAR

    I used both Facebook ads and Google Adwords. Facebook ads might be good only to advertise pages inside fb. Never put 1 dollar to advertise www (sites) nothing get in return. People inside fb are mentally selfish, they are happy being inside fb and not interested to leave it to visit external sites. Much better advertising websites inside G. Adwords. Visitors to your site or blog come naturally while googling (be curious and discovering) or while seeing your ads in a website publishers of adsense. I paid a lot a lot on both.. I will never again use fb ads or maybe from time to time only.

  • drmqlt

    All I got was a ton of people to ‘like’ my page; no sales. Rather disappointing.

  • lmjenks

    Total Waste Of Time Will Not Be Using This Type Of Marketing Again

  • John Dutton

    A complete waste of money. I lost £400 and got no clicks. Equally my Google account received 340 clicks in the same period.

  • Bob Teal

    What sweet spot everyone I know on facebook is their to brag or gawk!

  • http://www.hadeninteractive.com Rebecca Haden

    It depends entirely on the company. We’ve seen great results for nonprofits, bands, and vacation destinations. B2B? Forget it.

  • http://www.amazon.com/Joel-Savage/e/B008SCTYI6 Joel Savage

    I have been reading a lot about social media marketing. Even though Facebook has over I.2 billion users (according to an article I read recently) paying for business exposure isn’t effective. I tried once and experienced nothing. I am now convinced that it doesn’t worth paying for anything on Facebook. May be it has been good for others.

  • Nemesis bridge

    Had no luck with it at all! Nver saw any return on the advertising money i spent out and will never pay for it again. Total ripoff and waste of time.

  • tomjelen

    No Not worth the money
    All they are interested in doing is collecting your money and no results .

  • http://www.overunity.com/ Stefan Hartmann

    Facebook ads are a total fraud nowadays.

    Have a look at this video! It makes it totally clear !
    As long as Facebok is not doing something against that it is really useless !

    I also tried advertising once for around 20 US$, but only got likes
    wih no response…Just useless 1

    Regards, Stefan.

    • EddyCutz

      Thanks for the video! Eye opening.

  • http://www.overunity.com/ Stefan Hartmann

    Here is another very interesting insight into Facebook sharing and ads…

    • http://RedCubeSocial.com RedCubeSocial

      Interesting but flawed video. He opens by saying you can’t see post reach. We manage many Facebook pages and can see the reach for every single post. Not sure if he has ever managed any Facebook pages.

  • Chris Reich

    No. Facebook started out as a true social network and then tried to become a “must have” for business. It’s pure myth that a business even needs a presence on Facebook. Spending money to enhace a presence that isn’t beneficial in the first place is absurd.

  • James Young

    This article and comments have been a real eye opener for me. For weeks I have researched social media marketing plans, suggestions, recommendations, methods, and theory. This is the first time I’ve read anything so openly honest and direct about paid advertising. It’s not encouraging, but at least I’m inclined to spend my promotional time and money in other ways.

  • http://RedCubeSocial.com RedCubeSocial

    We manage many Facebook pages. Organic is down and we still see click fraud no matter how granular the targeting.We tell clients that Likes aren’t as important as the once were but they still want them.
    The best strategy continues to be the use of promoted dark posts. The good news is that this is still much less expensive than most AdWords campaigns.
    Depending on your keywords, CPC for AdWords can go as high as $54.91 per click for Insurance (the most expensive). Compare to less than $2 for a promoted post on Facebook.
    When we promote our own posts, we average less than $2 per engagement. The average CPC for social media management is about $16.
    The challenge is driving engagement. This really depends on the brand and industry.

  • Rich

    It’s pretty cheap as far as advertising goes, but I’m not sure what the point actually is. At least in terms of my businesses, I’ve seen zero conversion. I’ve gotten a few likes, but with minimal organic reach, what’s the point of likes?

  • john

    FB is not interested in helping brands drive traffic outside FB. FB needs some competition… and they offer ZERO transparency… so we will not be buying FB ads.

  • mnasser

    I tried advertising on FB several times and it was a waste of money. All I got was one click per $10 spent! That’s very expensive. The few clicks I got did not generate any sales. I also tried buying “Likes” which works but you get likes from people you are not targeting and the moment you stop the ad the likes dip, so again not effective. FB ads might work for local businesses (e.g. restaurants) but for my business even their targeted audience ads did not generate anything for us.

  • Paolo

    People do not use Facebook to shop. Advertising on local television will always bring far greater results.

  • Iron

    We paid for Facebook ads for one year as a trial. It was dead last in ROI, trailing billboard, direct mail, supermarket register tape ads and sponsorships. Admittedly both the billboard and sponsorship data were more a gut feeling.

    Frozen yogurt and gelato business.

  • Zora

    well i tried to promote my facebook page and when I selected a daily budget of $4, I suddenly had to pay about 5 each day… and then only a few people like 2-3 liked my page each day even though facebook promises 6-30 likes per day with a daily budget of $4… and the next thing.. I gained about 130 likes by promoting and everytime I post something I get no likes on my post and the people who liked my page seemed really strage so I guess that’s all fake profiles it’s like you’re buying likes and nothing else.. i think it’s totally not worth it at all and i will definitely won’t do it again