October 27, 2014 at 8:21 am

Are Your Facebook Ads a Waste of Money?

Are Your Facebook Ads a Waste of Money?

 Facebook Ads a Waste


Facebook ads get a lot of heat for being evil. In the marketing world, they are about as divisive as any political hot button issue. Why? Many businesses have closed down their pages because they are seeing decreased engagement with little to no ROI despite the fact they are purchasing ads that Facebook says they will help them to reach their followers, new and old alike.

Let’s talk about the positives first, shall we? Facebook has a massive audience of customers; the current total sits right at a pretty 1.3 billion users and 654 million of those folks are using the mobile version on a daily basis. You can’t shake a fist at numbers like that. With your sparkling engagement skills and paid ads you should be reaching all of the people, right?

Facebook says, on average, “Businesses reach 89 percent of their intended audience” when using its ads. That is one sexy number. Yet, many people feel as if Facebook ads are just a glorified click farm that brings on a deluge of fake clicks.

Click farms, largely based in Asia and other developing countries, are shady businesses that degrade ad campaigns by delivering a large amount of clicks that might not have otherwise happened. Click farms employ people who will click randomly to blend-in, making their fake profiles look more legitimate. Facebook stated in an annual report that between 0.4 and 1.2 percent of all users have fake accounts and say they work hard at catching and eliminating such accounts.

While many page managers are seeing fake clicks, there are also stories of amazing ROI for Facebook campaigns. The restaurant chain Bob Evans ran a campaign for a free sweet potato fries appetizer that generated 85 million impressions, 21,352 clicks, and 17,000 page likes. They say their return on investment was between 200 and 300 percent. In addition, they invested the time to hyper-target their Facebook ad campaign down to the mileage radius surrounding each restaurant in the towns that actually have Bob Evans restaurants.

So, are you wondering if your business Facebook ads are a waste of money? In a word, yes, but only if you aren’t doing it the right way. Here are some tips to increase your impact and your ROI with Facebook ads.

Create Customized and Targeted Ads
Let’s all say it together: “Well, duh!” However, many businesses just throw some money down to promote a post without actually analyzing who they should be targeting or even adding a location to their ad, let alone knowing the right type of content their customer might want to see. If you are going to spend the money to reach people, you might as well make your ads as specific as possible in order to maximize your impact on the people you want as customers.

Know the Reason You Want to Advertise on Facebook
What is your desired outcome for your ads on Facebook? Are you looking for engagement? More traffic to your site? More page likes? Understanding your goal for the campaign in addition to customization will increase your chances for a positive ROI. Sprout Social has an awesome guide to help you choose which campaign is right for your organization.

(Kind of) Avoid Fake Likes
Fake likes from click farms really do harm your engagement and reach on Facebook. If your followers aren’t engaging with your posts, you become less of a priority to Facebook’s algorithm. Worried you might have fake followers? This post from Social Media Examiner explains how you can spot and remove them from your account. We also like this video from Veritasium on how fake likes can affect a business’ reach on Facebook. It’s especially good viewing if you manage ad campaigns.

While Facebook ads could definitely be more effective, many businesses are using it to reach the people who matter to them and with positive results. If you create a scattershot campaign, you are going to get ineffective, scattershot results. By creating highly customized campaigns, you can ensure that you will reach the right people who are actively interested in your business.

Have you had any success with ads on Facebook? What about issues? We want to hear it all.

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