Are Facebook ads a waste of money or do they really work? We pick the brains of our in-house media buyer, Anna Jackson, to find out the pros and cons of Facebook ads and if they are worth it.
With nearly three billion users logging onto the platform monthly and 89% of marketers leveraging the platform to reach and engage their audiences, most marketers consider FB ads for their business.
Facebook ads can generate new leads, reach new customers and grow your business, making it a no-brainer. Anna leads us through the pros of Facebook Ads first.
Pros of social media buying on Facebook
Variety of ad formats and ad copy
One of Anna’s favourite features of Facebook is that you can run multiple formats and variations of your ad. “These ad formats consist of videos, images and carousels. Having the flexibility of these formats allows us to test ads and see what is working best. Once we have this information we can start optimising it to get maximum return on investment (ROI) for our clients.” This approach not only saves you time and money but also means that the audience you are targeting is receiving the information in the way that resonates with them best.
Facebook also allows businesses the freedom to run multiple campaigns with different messaging. In fact, Anna shared that her top tip when it comes to digital media buying is to ALWAYS A/B test both copy formats/versions to pinpoint your most effective campaign and to get maximum results.
Target your potential customers
The most significant advantage of Facebook is scale. The reach that the platform offers businesses is unparalleled and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. Facebook’s detailed targeting allows businesses to efficiently spend their ad budget on audiences that have a higher chance of resulting in a conversion. Anna recommends breaking your audience down by age, location, and demographic. Scarily you can even select interests such as music they like, where people shop or websites they’ve engaged with.
Detailed targeting is crucial to the success of a campaign as it means being able to send specific ads to audiences at the right time depending on what stage they are at in the marketing funnel. The responsibility of a Facebook ads media buyer, as Anna explains, “is to think outside the box, build a persona and then be able to narrow the audience by defining multiple targeting points.”
Freedom to tweak and amend as you go along
Unlike other advertising platforms, there is no minimum spend. This means Facebook ads are budget-friendly and considerably cheaper than other advertising channels. You have complete control over how much of the budget you use and most importantly you have autonomy over who to spend that ad budget on.
With Facebook ads, you have the freedom and flexibility to switch your ads on or off depending on their performance. If an ad isn’t performing well, you can simply turn it off and save the money you have allocated to it. Alternatively, a personal favourite of Anna’s is that “you can make adjustments and edits as you go along to maximise the performance, if something isn’t working, it’s easy to try something new.”
Cons of social media buying on Facebook
By now it’s clear that media buying on Facebook holds immense power but as with most things, it comes with its challenges. As competition increases for visibility on the platform it’s important to understand the cons of social media advertising on Facebook.
Navigating the changing landscape of Facebook ads is no walk in the park and if you want a well-informed marketing strategy it’s important to know the cons you might face. Let’s dive in and learn from Anna’s first-hand experience.
As more businesses use Facebook as a marketing tool, increased competition is making it harder to deliver a successful campaign. Understanding the metrics that matter is vital if you want to improve your ad, but this requires a lot of trial and error – and time. Something businesses don’t often have.
Inaccurate and misreported metrics can kill a campaign because they lead to misleading insights about the performance of your ads. Time and time again Anna has seen this happen so trust her when she says “not only will this result in poor decision-making but it can lead to a waste of precious ad spend.”
Why would you pay for it when you can do it yourself?
A glaring disadvantage of paid ads on Facebook is the additional costs. These additional costs can vary from ad account set-up, and tracking pixel installation, all the way down to ad creation, ad testing and management. Anna explains that whilst there is no minimum spend on Facebook, you still need to pay enough to beat the competition.
And though it’s possible to create, test and monitor your ads yourself, doing all of this and doing it effectively is another story. Businesses whose in-house teams don’t have the expertise and knowledge might need to outsource their marketing efforts and hire an experienced Facebook ads media buyer (cough, like us cough) who can do this for them.
No guarantee of success
Many factors can impact the success of your Facebook ad and unfortunately, there is no guarantee that it’s going to go well. You could tick all the boxes in the set-up of your ad, but as Anna knows all too well, there’s no guarantee that the algorithm will work in your favour. The length of time the ads run for, the budget allocated, the edits made etc. can all affect how successful the ads are.
It takes an experienced team who is capable of monitoring the ads closely to ensure you achieve the results you want. Although Facebook is an influential tool, it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. To see results it needs constant management.
There’s no doubt that Facebook is a cost-effective way to reach new customers, grow your business and increase brand awareness. We hope our pros and cons plus the insightful tips from Anna have given you a better understanding of media buying on the platform. It’s not easy but carefully considering the benefits and challenges will put you in a better position to make informed decisions about your Facebook marketing strategy.
Keep your eyes peeled for the next two instalments of our three-part series, where we dive into the world of social media advertising on, LinkedIn and Twitter, with the continued help of our in-house media buying expert Anna Jackson.
In the meantime, if you’re struggling with your Facebook ads and need some help get in touch today and discuss how we can make your campaigns a success.