Facebook Marketing 1 on 1
In this article I want to describe my personal experience with running ads on facebook for facebook pages. And if you want a quick and dirty summary of the whole article I’m going to give you the following advice: “Don’t buy ads for facebook pages on facebook”. If you want to know why, keep reading. If you’re new to facebook ads this might save you a lot of troubles and money – something I had to learn the hard & expensive way.
At the beginning I want to stress out that in this article I’m always talking about official ads and “official” likes that have been acquired by using regular facebook ads on facebook. And not using some kind of “service”, which sells you a certain amount of likes for a fixed payment, it should be pretty obvious that these “service provider” only going to sell you either bot-traffic/likes or crappy third world accounts.
Now some background informations. The facebook page I was promoting last year was facebook.com/epicpixcom – a pretty simple site with funny pictures – nothing spectacular, but something I thought would be easy to promote on facebook, looking at the rise of sites like 9gag and other clones.
I did quite a bit of research on facebook marketing – but I have to say, not enough AND I’ve listen to wrong advice as well. A combination that proved to cause quite a big mess in the end.
Lets start with some misinterpretations that I’ve picked up during my research and own experience.
- The likeliness that a user is going to like your fb page does correlate with the total amount of likes your page got. Which means it does matter to a user if your site got 100 or 100.000 likes.
- Third tier traffic is good as it is very, very cheap and is going to help with your early reach.
- Targeting (very expensive) US traffic is going to yield “high quality”, active users.
- Using exact keywords is going to help you reach your targeted group of people.
Most of these assumptions are closely related and boil down to biggest problem and sole reason why facebook ads for pages are very unattractive and are going to hurt the performance of your page, rather than to increase it. But let’s start with the first point.
Most people I’ve talked to just bragged about the price they pay per like. I’ve seen some crazy numbers where people reached 500-700 likes per $1 . And the “secret” behind those numbers is the amount of total likes your page got. Which implies that users are more likely going to like a page with 10.000 likes than a page with 100 likes. And I’m not speaking about “natural” likes, generate through sharing facebook content or generate via a widget on a website, but about likes, generated through fb ads. This means they suggest you should target cheap 3rd tier countries to “inflate” your amount of total likes and once you’ve got a sufficient amount of likes, you should switch to the quality 1st tier countries, like US/CAN/UK.
I have no scientifical proof – but from my experience it absolutely doesn’t matter if you’ve got 100 or 10.000 likes. The quality is always going to be shitty.
I’ve pushed the amount of total likes of Epicpix’ facebook page from 250 natural likes to 15.000 “bought” likes via facebook ads. With the 250 likes, I’ve been able to reach around 1000 people per post and the posts received around 10-20 likes. After buying at first a bunch of third tier likes and than switching to first tier countries I ended up reaching 100-300 people per post and 5-10 likes per post, even tho the quality of the posts has always been very similar. The only difference was that my site now had 14.000+ likes that I’ve accumulated through ads.
I’ve been running a couple of a/b test, always trying to get the most likes per $1 – using strict keywords and a somewhat small user group. I was always targeting English speaking user, with an interest in funny pictures, cats and all that stuff – my ads have been doing pretty solid. I was getting 100 likes / $1 on cheap countries and 100 likes / $5-7 on US traffic.
So why did the engagement drop instead of increasing? This is simply because the user who click on ads are to 90% spammers from those “click farms” where you buy the likes in bulk for a pretty low price. But why do spammers like my page, even tho they haven’t been paid to do so? Well they’re doing this to hide their activity from the facebook spam detection. This detection might work if the spammers would always reside in the same country or would all like the same pages (because they got paid). But to prevent that, they simply like everything.
Doing so, it’s much more difficult for an automated system to detect them as spammers and the result is, that your page just got liked by 13.000 spammers (out of the 15.000 I’ve accumulated via ads).
As if it wasn’t enough, that you paid facebook money for ads, just to receive spammers as fans. There’s an even bigger issue that comes along with this huge amount of inactive spammers. Facebook shows your post to a small amount of people that like your site, depending on their reaction and interaction with your content facebook is going to display your post to more users, or hide it from them, if the performance was bad.
Now imagine that your page has got 250-600 “active” fans and 15.000 inactive. I don’t think it’s hard to guess what is going to happen to your post. Facebook is going to show this post to 1 active fan and 9 inactive ones. If the one person doesn’t like it, it’s going to get buried and all other regular users are never going to see it. UNLESS you pay facebook again to promote your post to more of your fans. Isn’t this great?! And did I mention that it’s not possible to mass remove fans from a page? This means you’re forever stuck with those inactive fans and your posts are never going to get seen by a majority of your fans.
And while this clusterfuck is devastating for your page it’s pretty handy for facebook. Because at first they are earning money by selling you ads for your page and are going to take your money again, once you actually want to REACH your (true) fans, by promoting your post.
The following video is absolutely on point and is going to explain the whole issue again in detail, it’s a must see for every potential facebook advertiser:
I hope I was able to open your eyes when it comes to facebook ads for pages and that this article might save you from spending hundreds of dollars on advertising, which is not going to help you at all. If you have further questions or even a solution/idea on how to successfully advertise on facebook, it would be great to see you around on our forum.
Image source: Flickr