Organic reach is on the decline. This is forcing many businesses and brands to look at online advertising investments as a potential solution. The pros and cons of Facebook advertising are being considered more often simply because of the reach the platform has: nearly 2 billion people globally count themselves as regular users of this social site. Is paid content right for you? Here are some of the key points to consider before making a final decision.
What Are the Pros of Facebook Advertising?
1. It is a reasonably affordable solution.
Compared to traditional advertising options, Facebook advertising is relatively inexpensive. It is often at or near the lowest cost per 1,000 impressions for any medium. Many businesses can get that many impressions for about $0.25. Although some keyword pricing is rising and targeted demographics cost more, there are few advertising options available right now that can match what Facebook offers.
2. You can target specific demographics.
Facebook collects a lot of data about the profiles which use the site. Your business can easily leverage this data by putting in specific criteria for your advertising campaign to reach. Specific age groups, specific education levels, and even specific locations can be targeted with a Facebook advertising campaign in only a few clicks. This way you can have a focused campaign that fits within your budget.
3. It doesn’t cost a lot to get started.
Facebook has eliminated virtually every barrier to their advertising program by instituting a minimum daily budget of just $1. This means you can advertise for a month on Facebook for the same price as a nice dinner out with your significant other. The results can still be good even with this low investment level as well.
4. You get to begin building relationships.
People today feel connected to the brands that they see on their profiles. This is especially true if their family or friends has had a personal experience with the brand already. 3 out of 4 people rely on the feedback of others they see online to decide on the quality a brand is offering. If you can provide a real value proposition through Facebook advertising, you can begin the relationship building process you’ll need to create future sales.
5. It is a highly flexible advertising option.
With Facebook, you can offer image-based adds. There are longer character lengths available for text-based advertising than other platforms offer. Your advertising campaign also gains access to Facebook tracking across multiple devices, including mobile platforms, where cookies are still unable to work as effectively. This lets your brand offline behaviors just as easily as online behaviors.
6. You can use it almost immediately.
Unlike other programs that use a lot of advertising and marketing jargon, Facebook advertising is setup to be used by virtually everyone. You can start advertising right away and reach your goals without needing in-depth knowledge of specific software programs.
7. It is being consistently updated to be as effective as possible.
As a publicly traded company, Facebook has a responsibility to their shareholders to maximize their profits wherever possible. This means there is always a team of developers working on the advertising platform, making sure the experience helps you
8. You can choose to stop your campaign at any time.
Facebook advertising doesn’t force you into any long-term contracts. If you don’t like the results which are being seen from your efforts, then you can pull the plug on the campaign without a financial penalty. This makes it really easy to explore this marketing option to determine if it is the right one for you.
9. Facebook advertising allows you to take advantage of “snowballing.”
Snowballing is the “spying” that people do on one another based on the published activities of their family and friends on Facebook. You can see real-time activities in the upper right of a Facebook news feed. When someone likes or comments on your advertising effort, then this activity will be displayed to their family and friends. This exposes your brand message to others, and since more than 70% of people rely on personal recommendations for brand interactions, you can quickly increase new traffic to your page or post.
What Are the Cons of Facebook Advertising?
1. The costs can add up quickly with the wrong campaign.
If you’re paying for impressions and inadvertently target an audience that is too broad, your costs can begin to add up quickly. You can also reach your daily limits of cost without really reaching the right people, making it difficult to reach the ROI goals you’ve set. When you’re shelling out cash and not bringing in any in return, it can create an unsustainable outcome.
2. Your advertising still must have valuable content.
Sponsored content on Facebook is easy to miss, especially if it isn’t placed on the sidebar of a person’s profile. People like more pages on the site than ever before and typically have between 100-300 friends, which creates a lot of content to scroll through on a regular basis. Without valuable content in your advertising, there’s a good chance that it’s going to be missed.
3. Your brand message is still going to be limited organically.
In most cases, fewer than 10% of your current fan base will see the posts you make. Even with advertising, this algorithm doesn’t change because Facebook wants to distribute wanted content to each profile. This makes it very frustrating sometimes to make sure a specific message is being sent out to the right people because it might not ever be seen even if you’re paying for it to be seen.
4. The page for your brand must receive consistent updates.
If you’re advertising on Facebook and you haven’t updated your page in 12+ months, then you’re still not going to receive consistent results. Your advertising might also generate negative comments which need to be addressed so your online reputation doesn’t suffer. The time commitment to Facebook can be incredibly high and can take you away from many of the other things that may also need to be completed.
5. There is still limited copy space.
You’ve got less than 100 characters to make a good impression. That means you’re more limited than what is available on Twitter, so it is important to test out what you say so you can get the most clicks possible. Otherwise you’re just guessing at what will be effective and since your space is limited, there’s no build-up to the call to action. This means most targets need to be interested in your brand already.
6. Optimization happens automatically on Facebook.
Your best performing ad is going to be the one that Facebook advertising uses automatically. Many see that as a good thing, but what it does is eliminate the need for split testing. You still need to test different versions of your advertising to determine what combination of text and imagery will create the best results. Since the best results are automatic, many advertisers miss this step.
7. Bid mechanisms can take a low-budget advertising campaign and make it ineffective.
Clicks start bidding at $0.01 on Facebook and impressions begin at $0.02. If another brand or business is will to pay a little more for your specific targets, then your advertising might only run a few times per month or may not even run at all. Of course this keeps costs down, but it also means there may be very few targeted people who actually get to see the add.
8. Your advertising efforts can generate a lot of spam.
Trolling online has evolved from being a nuisance to something that can ruin your online reputation because someone wants a cheap laugh. You might also see several other Facebook pages trying to get highly liked comments on your sponsored posts to generate free attention to their own pages. Even if you quickly deleted trolled comments, there will undoubtedly be someone who has seen it and wonder if what was said was true. And since Facebook rarely has down time, those comments can accumulate rather quickly overnight before you can address them in the morning.
9. If someone doesn’t like, click, or comment, it can be difficult to calculate your reach.
If your goal is to make your brand be at the top of the mind of your targeted demographic, the analytics which Facebook advertising produces may not be enough to meet your needs. Someone can remember your brand’s value proposition, but choose not to interact with it, and you’d never know that you’ve reached that person.
The pros and cons of Facebook advertising show that going beyond organic reach is virtually a necessity. Although it can be frustrating to end up paying for something that occurred organically in the past, the benefits of using this advertising option cannot be ignored. With specificity, affordability, and ease of use, as long as the negatives are taken into account, Facebook advertising can help anyone be able to meet their marketing goals.