Guest post by Kapil Jekishan from Latestcrunchs
Targeting your audience on Facebook is not only painful, but confusing – especially if you want to go down the ‘organic’ path.
Hey, I can’t blame them, as any business with interested parties and dollar driven investors want return on their profits. So whilst I don’t agree, I can understand why Facebook has made it difficult for business owners to connect with their followers unless you show them the money.
Understandably, several individuals are unhappy with this new paid approach, including Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, who was extremely vocal when presented with a price tag of $3,500 in order to promote a message from the Dallas Mavericks Facebook Page to their followers.
FB is blowing it ? This is the first step.. The Mavs are considering moving to Tumblr or to new Myspace as primary site twitter.com/mcuban/status/…
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) October 27, 2012
But with over 1 billion users, Facebook’s juggernaut position (which is essentially a monopoly) allows them to impose these monetary protocols, so for now, we’re stuck with playing by their rules.
So there are two key methods of advertising your business on Facebook: the standard Facebook ads and the more recent introduction of Promoted Posts. So let’s observe the two options and determine which will suit your business.
This is easily the number one method Facebook relies on to generate the bulk of its revenue. They allow you to place paid ads which are then displayed to your targeted audiences.
When you establish an advert, you can narrow down your audience by using demographic factors such as age, sex, location etc. But that’s not all, you can even go down to specific interests such as whether you want them to like ‘cooking’ ‘gardening’ which Facebook then uses to estimate the size of your target audience. The number of individuals to whom the ad is actually served depends on your budget and there is no guarantee that anyone will click on your ads.
Like Google, Facebook allows you to set a budget so you don’t blow a couple of hundred or thousand within the first few days. Your budget can be as low or high as you want and Facebook also commits to helping you achieve your advertising goals by displaying your ads to the most relevant audience.
So let’s summarise the Pros and Cons of advertising:
As you can tell, the advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages, however, you should still be mindful of a couple of factors. Given the cost effectiveness of establishing Facebook ads, the platform is infiltrated with a number of ads and as a result – some come across as spam. Secondly, ads are a distraction and some of the savvy web users have discovered a few methods to block these ads.
Despite these minor issues so to speak, Facebook ads are definitely an effective medium for advertising especially since the cost per click is significantly lower than what you would pay with Google Adwords, plus it’s a great way to generate ‘likes for your business.
What if you already have enough likes? Well, let’s turn our attention to Promoted Posts then…
Think of Promoted Posts as something which is in between a standard post and an advertisement. The concept is straight forward, you select the post you want to promote, and just click on the ‘promote’ button next to the ‘comment’ and ‘share’ buttons. Prior to September 2012, Facebook users had this free method of posting a story or message and this would be visible across all followers. Naturally, many businesses are upset that if you want your message to be soon by your followers, you have to pay for it.
Unlike Ads, there is only a lifetime budget but this can be as little as $5, however, a lower budget means less people are likely to see it. Once you promote a post, the post will be labelled as a sponsored post and your audience will be limited to people who like your page and their friends. You have the option of including or excluding the friends.
Facebook is redesigning its news feeds to give more visibility to Promoted Posts and thus make them more popular with advertisers. The new design allows for larger news feeds with larger pictures and more text. Unlike Facebook ads which can be easily missed, the promoted posts will occupy up to a third of the news feed making them very visible. Take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of Promoted Posts:
As you can see the advantages overshadow the disadvantages making this a good method for getting your message out there. The lone caveat I will add is that you require a following / likes to see any real benefit from this method.
Comparison between Facebook ads and Promoted Posts
So now that we’ve analysed the two methods of advertising, which one is better for your business? Well, that will depend on the situation. So here is the overall summary between the two:
Although both options have their advantages and work equally well, it all comes down to the environment and what you’re trying to do. If you have minimal likes, start off with Facebook ads to develop likes and get targeted followers. Once you’ve got a fan base going, start to use your Promoted Posts to show off your events, promotional offers, news and given you have targeted followers, these readers will be inclined to read the post and even share it across their network.
So, what’s your favourite method of advertising on Facebook – Ads or Promoted Posts? Have you tried either of these methods? I’m keen to hear your success stories or feedback on how one method works better than the other.