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A Review of Facebook Advertising. Probably because you’re just that boring.

I have an answer for every one of these questions:

  1. Does Facebook advertising work?
  2. Is Facebook advertising worth the money?
  3. Can Facebook help my business grow?

No.

Let’s take a look at these separately.

Does Facebook Advertising Work?

Advertising on Facebook is for Likes or Offers. They have some other options, such as driving traffic to your website and boosting a post, but those are the most popular. I don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Just watch this video. It’s nine minutes, but worth every bit:

Facebook likes get consumed by third world countries where people are paid $1 for every 1,000 likes. It’s absurd, but it’s how some people make money by allowing you to “illegally” buy Likes outside of Facebook’s preferred advertising methods. I guess if Likes were a popularity contest, this would help you win.

You can buy Likes, but they’re low-quality with zero engagement. As explained so wonderfully in that video, the engagement is a problem.

If you have 100 followers on Facebook, each of your posts starts out by being visible to about 10-20 people. If those people like, share, or comment, Facebook will make your post more visible to others. If you have 100 good followers that you grew slowly and organically, you’ll reach more of your audience per post. If you paid for crappy followers, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. You’ll be lucky if only a few people ever see it because it’s being artificially squelched by all those crummy Likes.

Is Facebook Advertising Worth the Money?

Not when you’re paying 25 cents for every new follower, and each of those followers has no interest in you. You can’t do anything about it. At this point, I’m not sure Facebook can, either.

The State Department spent $630,000 to acquire 2 million page likes and then realized only 2% were engaged. First, who would like that anyway? Second, was that taxpayer money?

Invest your money in local advertising, or AdWords, which is still a good investment. Frankly, not everyone gets to be Prom King or Queen.

Can Facebook help my business grow?

Let me tell you about our story. When we first launched SuperPixel, we setup Facebook and Twitter accounts. Several of our initial followers were close friends and some have led to customers or new accounts. But we wanted to be out there in front of everyone who could like us for our content and what we do.

So we paid $100 a couple times for sponsored listings, posts, etc. all for the goal of achieving more “Likes”. It worked, and we now have about 76 likes for having spent $100. I bet about 50-60 of them are useless. They’re people who like everything and everyone. They’ll like Energizer ten seconds after liking Duracell. Who does that? One assumption is only people with too much free time, and those people tend not to have a lot of money.

We even paid for a couple of Facebook Offers and they didn’t work. One was claimed once, but out of thousands of people seeing it, no one else bothered. The offer? A $25 Amazon gift card for signing up with us for a new website. We couldn’t even give away free money.

Our review of Facebook Advertising

It just doesn’t work. It’s blown out of proportion. It’s a fantasy to think that everyone will happily share information about every hardware store, beer, battery, and car all day long on social media.

Sometimes some businesses are just boring. That’s okay, because boring business is still business that needs done. A plumber can get along just fine without Facebook like they have for years and years, but their work is vitally important.

A tsunami of sales can’t wash over everyone. So stop trying to “engage” people and just get back to doing great work and keeping your advertising dollars in precisely the right mediums. The business will follow.

We won’t be recommending any of our clients advertise via Facebook anytime soon unless it’s a very hyper-local offer that’s easy to claim, start, and finish online.

I’ll shamelessly say you can like SuperPixel on Facebook. Maybe with your help we can get drown out all of those bad likes we have.

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8 Responses to A Review of Facebook Advertising. Probably because you’re just that boring.

  1. Michael Feb 18 at 4:34 pm #

    Justin, great article – very well written and you are correct in saying that Facebook ads are highly questionable. However, if the goal is to build an engaged following, then you cant use ads – especially if your content is not what your audience wants to consume.

    In order to build an engaged following, you need to start by listening to what your audience talks about and what interests them before you start talking. Too many companies like to talk and post content that they like and never take the time to observe what their followers are actually talking about.

    When you’re out on a date with a girl and you talk about what interests you the entire time; there’s a good chance you wont have a second date. But when you listen, ask relevant questions, and talk about things that other people like – they’re much more engaged and willing to extend the conversation.

    If you become great at listening and talk about stuff that interests them (and not you) then the more people are willing to go on that second date and eventually start a relationship with you.

    When you take that approach to social media, you’ll be able to grow your community, organically, a lot faster without spending any dollars on advertising.

    Once you’ve built your community to around 1000 people and your posting content that they like, and a reasonable percentage are responding on a weekly basis (15-20% engagement), then you can begin advertising and have better results.

    If you want to continue this conversation, you have my email – I’m more than happy to give your more insights and help you develop your community.

    – Michael

    • Justin Feb 18 at 5:36 pm #

      Agreed on all fronts. It’s just incredibly cumbersome for a company that does relatively boring work to attract much of a following. A re-alignment of expectations has to happen. There is no tsunami of sales waiting to happen on social media for most people.

      I make a point not to post completely self-centric crap on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, but growth is slow. It’s hard to be that interesting when the Internet is full of The Oatmeal and pretty people.

  2. Sammy Gill Sep 20 at 5:48 am #

    We used Facebook Ads- BOOST system and were surprised to see following- link to my blog where I post this experience is also seen in bottom of this post.
    1. There is TOLL FREE number for SALES in INDIA- but there is no phone number for support/complaint or grievances.
    2. BOOST serves ads to people who dont belong to your business- thus you end up paying huge money for ‘What is this .?” and Kisses in comments.
    3. All likes coming to you are infact very very expensive – they all are fake- not a single person will be interested in your business…
    4. @facebook is so rude that they charge your card without your consent- do not want to listen to your complaint and in last they say, our system shows this and that.
    5. They dont see how pathetic client experience was- and how come a INR account was charged in GBP ???

    I strongly advice – NEVER, EVER try to use FB- unless you are having free money to experiment.

  3. Neo Cast Jan 23 at 9:04 pm #

    Thanks for the great article. In fact we tried a few campigns on Facebook ads and they were useless, nothings but bots and probably click farms. The leads would bounce right off the landing page with no trackable mouse movement what so ever. After getting fedup I contacted FB demanding a refund on the scam and we were given boloni. Lost our money! Don’t waist time and money to promote anything on fb. If generating sales is your target, instead try affiliate program.

    Good luck all.

    • Naushir Jun 16 at 4:10 am #

      Guys please be careful about using FB offer to remember your card details, I had donated to FB using my card during Nepal crisis. However whilst exploring the FB adverts program, my account got debited automatically even though I had not authorised the transaction. Beware… remove any credit card data that has been stored in FB…

  4. nabien Jun 30 at 1:31 pm #

    I 100% agree with everything especially when you said 50-60 of people clicking on facebook likes are useless and are people who dont have the money to buy and likes on everything. I checked on profiles of people clicking likes on my page and boom they have liked so many things it beyond rediculous. How in the world can one human like so many things and looking at their profile there is no way they are involve with things they like. I have come to the conclusion that facebook ads are 100% useless unless you have free money to give away.

  5. Gustavo Benitez Jul 13 at 11:39 pm #

    Great article!!!! answered every question I had… guess I’m going to try Adwords then.

    Thanks a lot!

  6. Dale Gardner Jan 17 at 10:04 am #

    On the first ad I placed, I selected several towns around me since my ad was only relevant to local people. Not one click on that ad was from the specified towns I wanted my ad displayed to. Recently I ran an add country wide. With that ad, not one click came from the united states. Facebook advertising is a total scam.

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