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Here’s How You Should Spend Your Facebook Ad Money

I’ve been using Facebook ads for quite some time now. I’ve used them to generate engagement on posts, to generate more likes for pages, to get people to visit websites, to get people to sign up for a newsletter, to get people to make a deal with the devil – you know, the usual.

With the recent bust of organic reach for Facebook pages, tons of marketers are now flocking to Facebook ads as the only resort to get their reach back up. Now as the Facebook ad platform becomes increasingly popular and as more people flock to it – there will be more ads created, more of a fight for space and as a result – a higher cost for advertising on Facebook.

According to Kenshoo Social’s Q1 2014 report, the CPC for social advertising has increased by 35% YoY. The clicks you were getting for, let’s say $0.80 last year, will now cost you $1.08. Just to put it into perspective. I know you can do basic math.

The second point to consider of course, is the massive presence of fake likes on Facebook. I’m sure you all say Veritasium’s video on the fake profiles exposé. Now I know a lot of you will say, “We don’t advertise in Bangladesh, India and Indonesia – countries where most of these fake profiles exist.”

Let me tell you, I’ve been adveritsing ads targeted to the US and the UK, and I’ve come across a huge amount of fake profiles in the US as well. It doesn’t take much to change the location of a profile on Facebook, and once click farms figured out that their locations weren’t being targeted, they just went ahead and made sure that their fake accounts originated from the United States.

So what happens next? Not all Facebook profiles are fake, and not everyone on Facebook is from a click farm. Only a small portion of Facebook’s 1.2 billion userbase has fake profiles, so how do you make sure that your advertising dollars are well spent?

Circus Social put together this infographic, which chronicles how Facebook ad money is best spent.

Think like a traditional marketer? Who would have thought!?

To recap, it’s really simple:

  • Spending money to simply increase the number of likes your page has is meaningless. You’ll only reach 2-3% of them organically. You’ll eventually end up paying to get to your own fans’ newsfeed as well. Old or new, all the same. Page likes is now a vanity metric.
  • Spending money to generate “post engagement” in terms of more likes and shares will help the organic reach of your post, but you’re toying with a fine line when you think about who will be liking these posts and sharing them. Fake profiles much?

Those two traditional methods of Facebook ads – getting more likes on your page and on your posts, should be dead to you now. It means nothing, and you know this.

What you should instead spend on:

  • A campaign. A contest. An activity. Something that is actually “engaging”. Facebook’s definition of engagement in terms of clicking the like button has always been an underwhelming one for me. For me, engagement comes out only from discussion. If you get a comment on your post, and one that isn’t some scammer advertising his business – that’s true engagement.
  • Spending money driving people onto your website/blog and off Facebook helps you generate a marketing list/newsletter list if you have a sign-up form set up on that page, and because this traffic is real, the people going to your website are real – they go into a retargeting list if you set it up – thereby giving you a much better audience on Facebook to target to, and not loosely based interests and behaviors.
  • Take it a step further – get your fans to submit an entry into a contest. Get your fans to give you feedback. Involve your fans in a discussion. Engage them in getting to read about your business, your product – or heck, the best of all, try out your product or service.

That’s why we’re on Facebook as businesses. As a business, I could not care less if I had zero likes for every post – but every post generating traffic to my website that causes a sale. I’d absolutely love it. And that’s what you should think of as well.

Think like a traditional marketer. Spend money where you need to, in getting the right things done. Social Media ROI should be simple. It should be a number circling back to a number. You spent $X and you generated $Y in sales, or you spent $X and generated Y traffic for your website, which got you Z subscribers.

Think simple. Catchy content and likes are 2013.

Marketers need to step up and talk about the real numbers, as much as we hate doing it. Make yourself a goal and a promise. At the end of 2014, don’t talk about how many likes your page has. Talk about how much business your social presence has generated, and how many people are on your newsletter/marketing e-mail list.

You’ll feel a lot better about yourself.