You probably know some people that endlessly brag about acquiring Facebook fans for pennies. Don’t listen to them.

10544861_678589855557137_799803999_nSure, having a lot of fans is great, but how do you drive down the cost per fan while increasing the quality of fans? We had a chat with Sarah Sal, a Facebook ads expert, and she gave us some key insights:

A friend of Sal’s asked for help lowering her cost per fan from $2.70. After following Sal’s advice below, her CPF decreased to $0.24-$0.57. What was Sal’s advice?

Instead of targeting only one interest, try targeting five to 10: Sal found that the quality and cost per fan will vary for each of the targeting options–that’s why she goes granular. She suggests having only one ad set for each interest (behaviors, education, job title, etc.).

Looking at the campaign below, you’ll notice that the cheaper ad sets convert 2.6 times better than the most expensive ad set:


Come up with three to five reasons why someone should like your page: Sal’s friend’s original ad:


Think like a business owner that is scrolling through Facebook. Your ad has such a short period of time to catch a user’s attention. Make sure your ad offers an immediate and relevant benefit to your target audience.

Alternative ad texts might be:

  • “Helping time-starved entrepreneurs get more clients.”
  • “How to improve your marketing in only five minutes per day.”
  • “We help women business owners drive more sales.”

Compare mobile vs. desktop vs. right-hand-side placement ads: Different ad placements often result in different costs per fan. Check out these articles on mobile and right-hand-side placement to learn more.

Breakdown by age, gender, region, country, etc.: You might find that some demographics convert at a lower cost per fan depending on your market. Play around with them until you find a CPF you’re happy with.

Once you’ve done all the above, make sure you are gaining quality fans.


If you gain a lot of fans but they don’t consume your content, they’re not going to convert later.

Jon Loomer was spot-on in his article, How to Build a Facebook Audience From Scratch:

The key problem should be attacking how you get relevant Facebook fans. It’s about quality, not quantity.

Ask yourself this question: Are the fans I’m gaining consuming and engaging with my content? Looking at the campaign above, we find that the ad set with a cheaper cost per like is getting proportionally fewer website clicks, post shares, etc. Even though we gained more fans, we didn’t gain more quality fans.

We have a litmus test for measuring the quality of a page’s fans: Count up the number of likes and comments for the most recent post, which is the number of interactions. Divide that by the number of fans they have. If it’s less than 1 in 200 (0.5 percent), then the engagement rate is low.

If you’re worried about a confounding variable when it comes to your fans’ engagement: ask them to engage: If you truly have quality fans, they’ll have no problem with sharing a post, leaving a positive review or any other simple task you ask them to do.

Take a look at this study Dan Zarrella from HubSpot posted:


Even though this study was geared toward Twitter, the base message is the same for Facebook: Good fans will share your post if you ask them to.

Remember: If you only optimize your fan ads for a lower cost per like, you can end up gaining lower quality fans. It is always better to choose quality over quantity.

On Base Marketing founder and CEO Justin Lafferty, former editor of SocialTimes, said:

5m8T9VGgThe best way I’ve heard the quality vs. quantity debate framed is picturing your social fan base like a party. If you have lots and lots of people, but no one is interested in anything you’re offering or interested in talking with other guests, you have a boring party. Instead, try to find the people who love your company’s content and would be more than happy to share it–think a lower head count, but enjoyable and intimate celebration. Especially as social platforms are optimized for engagement, don’t get too caught up in the gross numbers of likes or followers and find ways to incentive fans to share your message.

Readers: What techniques have you used to ensure you gain quality fans while keeping your CPF low?

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