Over the last few months, we tested out some Facebook ads. Last month we had a few topics we wanted to promote regionally, so we gave it a try. Like most things, the experience was built with both pros and cons.
Pros to running Facebook ads.
1) Unmatched Audience Reach
We ran two different types of “ads.” We “boosted a post to get more reach, and we ran an actual ad campaign. In both cases, the reach for the ads were unmatched by any other marketing stream for the amount of money we spent. Facebook allows you to set a budget, so for $20, we boosted an already hugely popular post. The post had a pretty impressive reach, so we wanted to see what it could do with a little bit of financial fire behind it. The paid reach for the post was more than double the organic reach.
Since we boosted a post first rather than did a marketing campaign on Facebook, we were able to target who could see the post based on their interest. So we marketed it toward people who had interests such as small business, entrepreneur and to gave it a geographical niche, of our region Western North Carolina and what the post was about.
In an actual campaign, you can target the ad to reach people in Western North Carolina, based on the area code associated with the account, but in a boosted post, they have to somehow have the interest of Western North Carolina associated with their page, through a 'like' or something similar. Regardless, in less than a week, we nearly tripled our reach!
2) Bang For Your Buck
For all the ads we ran, we established a budget. The budget is a pretty cool feature for Facebook. We ran ads based on a pay-per-click interaction with the ad or boosted post. So if the ad or post got a like, or got a click on the CTA, Facebook recorded it and 'x' amount of money was taken out of the overall budget. So although we ran the ad for a week, if the budget ran out beforehand, it would end, but if not, it would run the full week, and if you had not reached your max, then it only charged you for the interaction you received.
So even if 100 people saw your post, if only 5 were interested enough to click on it and engage with it, you only paid for those people. Most marketing ploys such as print or digital marketing methods, talk up their metrics and number of viewers or subscribers in convincing you of the price you are going to pay. But just because they have 20,000 readers or viewers, doesn’t mean that 20,000 people will see your ad, or even want to engage with it instead of brushing it off as spam.
3) Tracking The Numbers
Facebook does an excellent job with combining the ad metrics and statistics together for you. Facebook results break it up to tell you how many "likes" your post got, how many page "likes" your page got while the ad was running, and how many clicks the actual link got.
But then they break it up even further. They tell you what types of people interacted with you. Their “people” result page breaks up your results into age and gender. So you know what age demographic interacted with you, and whether they were male or female.
The location result, although not helpful for the ad we ran, would be great for others. We only targeted people in the United States, so of course 100 percent of our ad engagement came from the U.S. But for businesses wanting an audience outside of the U.S. this metric can help you gauge how successful or unsuccessful your ad or post is with the international market.
Cons to running Facebook ads.
1) Billing Complications
I think we are still sorting out the billing compilations from running the ads. You have to get the ads “approved” by Facebook, which means they check the text to picture ratio and other requirements. And although the ad will run while being vetted by the social media giant, if an ad is rejected, it becomes complicated in understand the billing cycles and data.
Not to mention billing notifications. I ran an ad and my co-worker ran one. Apparently, the email associated with my account is not up-to-date, so I don’t receive mail there. So I was never billed a receipt or anything from Facebook. But they never asked me for an email address to send the bill too, either. So I had no way of knowing that would happen or how I would be notified of the billing.
My co-worker, however, was sent a bill, but had a hard time sorting through them and matching them up with the actual charges on our company credit card.
2) Tricky For Multiple Managers
It also is tricky to run ads when operating multiple Facebook accounts. Both my co-worker and I manage social media pages for our job, but ads are ran as an individual NOT as a page. So the ads I ran, showed up under my personal page, and the ads he ran, showed up under his. There was no way for either of us to check the ads progress individually, even though we are both admins on the page the ad was for, which kind of stunk.
Also, I manage multiple Facebook pages. Both for work and privately. After seeing the success of the first ad we ran for work, I decided to run an ad for my personal blog FB page. I went through all the steps and then clicked complete. But instead of taking me to a billing page, it said it was done. It used the save credit card information (which it never asked my permission to save) to run the ad for my personal page. Because ads are ran by people not the pages. It caused a lot of confusion. I through I stopped the ad, entered my personal card information (once again which was saved without my permission) and then continued on. So be careful!
3) Insufficient Metrics
Although the data that was given from the ad is helpful and in depth, it could be better.
For example, all the information given in the results page comes from direct interaction with the ad or boosted post. For example, I can see that a boosted post got "x" number of link clicks or likes during the time period it was boosted. But those metrics only reflect likes or clicks directly from the boost on my page that was liked or if someone else shared it from the original page.
So for example, someone saw the post in their newsfeed and clicked the link to read it. Well, that is recorded. But then say they liked the article so much, they copied the web address, and posted it into their newsfeed. From that post, the article got 5 likes and some additional shares. Those metrics are no longer tracked because the article was not directly shared from the original post. Had that person not copied the web address, and instead “shared” it through Facebook, those metrics would be recorded.
During this add process I found several places on FB that the post was shared, but I had no record of it, because Facebook didn’t track the way it was shared, so technically the results are a little convoluted and misleading.
The other problem I encountered was matching Facebook metrics to the other data tracking tools we use. For example, the post we “boosted” was posted through Hubspot, which tracks clicks and likes, just like Facebook does. The metrics reported for the two didn’t match up. They weren’t off by much, a few clicks and a few likes, but they were off.
Brittney Burns, SiteDart Author