You Are Probably Using Facebook Ads Wrong: Here's Why

Nate Mendenhall
Nathan Mendenhall Manager, Cendyn/ONE

Posted on February 21st 2014

You Are Probably Using Facebook Ads Wrong: Here's Why

ImageThe social media marketing world is abuzz about a video basically outlining how much of a sham Facebook ads are. Essentially, the video makes the claim that Facebook Ads produce fake Likes and that marketers are wasting their time and money using them. For the sake of my rebuttal, please take a peek at the video below. This video actually makes me pretty grumpy for a few reasons. However, you need some context to understand my points.

Take a minute and check out said video here.

Now, hopefully you aren’t completely convinced that Facebook Ads are a shame….because they aren’t. If you agree with the video, you are probably using Facebook Ads wrong. Here are a few reasons why!

Advertising on Facebook is All About Targeting

Plain and simple. Your ad targeting has to be as specific as possible to be beneficial. This is especially true when you are trying to build Likes. You can’t simply target people in the US that like cats and expect for the result of your ads to be long term or relevant to your page. You have to ALWAYS keep in mind the type of person you are trying to reach. How old are they? What KIND of cats do they like? Where do they shop? What other interests might they have? To achieve any goal with Facebook Ads you have to have a mental picture of exactly who you are trying to reach. Otherwise the people you do attract won’t be relevant to your page. The more granular your targeting, the more likely the people you attract will have an actual vested interest in your page. Never, ever use targeting similar to “people who like cats in the US”.

Your Page Content Has to Match the Ad

In one of the examples in the video, the argument is made that there was a post explaining that campaign was a test to see how Facebook Ads perform. Why on planet earth would someone take time out of their day to engage with that? You basically tricked them. When running any paid advertising on Facebook, you have to be absolutely sure that the page content matches the messaging of the ad. Greet your new community members with a reason to stick around and engage.

Your Content Might Not Be That Good

We all work very hard to create the coveted “quality content” but let’s face it, all of our content isn’t quality. Before you blame Facebook Ads for your lack of engagement, look at your content. It is very possible that it just isn’t compelling. I hate to be harsh, but you have to face the tough reality that your content just isn’t performing well and you needed to make some changes. Also, keep in mind that the more people that Like your page, the more people you need to engage to keep that engagement rate up. Realistically, everyone who Likes your page wont jump in and go crazy Liking and commenting. Some will…most wont. If you are spending money on Facebook Ads, don’t just assume your page will magically market itself. You HAVE to put the time and energy into figuring out what they respond to. At the end of the day, Facebook Ads are NOT a replacement for strategic social marketing. So, how can you make your content better? Benchmark competitors, keep an eye on your Facebook Insights to see how each content piece compares to one another and dont be afraid to try new things!

So what do YOU think? Does proper targeting, page content and quality of content matter or are Facebook Ads a giant conspiracy for a publicly traded mega-company to make money? Sound off in the comment section. I am really interested in your perspectives.

Nate Mendenhall

Nathan Mendenhall

Manager, Cendyn/ONE

Nathan Mendenhall is a social media manager at Cendyn/ONE in Boca Raton, Florida. He has extensive experience with creating and implementing successful social media strategies for both B2B and B2C brands. Connect with him at @NCMSocial!

 

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Comments

Facebook ads are certainly not a sham, but this isn't where the problem lies. Jon Loomer provided a great rebuttal to the video, but Veritasium raises some valid points. The major issue is that many businesses either don't know how to use Power Editor (or targeting abilities) or they don't know Power Editor even exists. 

What happens is that these businesses will simply click the 'Boost Post' or 'Promote Page' buttons and toss $20 on it without putting much thought into it. It's partially their fault for not doing their research before advertising, but Facebook is providing "questionable" likes when these buttons are selected. Red flags should be raised when Facebook provides these "questionable" likes and interactions that seem to be illegitimate. 

Thanks for writing this, Nathan; I, too, have been a little grumpy about that video. It's an interesting video, no doubt, but it does neglect that all-important Facebook ads success factor: proper targeting. And it doesn't mention the advanced targeting techniques that Facebook has introduced--like remarketing, conversion tracking, and custom audiences. These are the sort of tools that successful Facebook advertisers are using, not just dumping money into targeting everyone everywhere. And quality of content, as you mentioned, is a critical piece of the puzzle. No one's going to engage with your page if you--forgive the example--throw poop at the wall and hope it sticks. 

Thanks a lot for the great advice on Facebook ads. I will surely try to implement them in my promotion campaigns.