Advertising on Facebook is ineffective


During my master degrees (Digital Marketing in SF and International Management in Paris for those who are curious) and my internships, I had to complete many marketing plans.
Of course, as a human being living in 2012 I always made of point of adding a social media strategy. The same answer always came from all sides: “Let’s create a Facebook page!”.
Of course, it’s way cheaper than ads on Google, or even free, it’s quick, easy but I always though it was an inefficient solution.
Yes, everybody is on Facebook. But yes, everybody is annoyed by ads and yes, even your fans on Facebook will be annoyed by your constant spam.
According to Facebook, there are more than 2.7 billion “Like” on the whole social network. Does that mean that all these people are ready to run to the grocery store and buy the product they just like as fast as they can? I don’t think so. The conversion rate is lower than 1%, hence liking something on Facebook almost never drive to a buying process.
So maybe we can, at least, expect that all these likes will drive to a better brand awareness. False, again, the engagement rate is lower than 0.5%… Concretely, a Facebook user will probably like the brand without reading, interacting, or posting at all.
The paid advertising is not more efficacious. Facebook got loads of bad press because of its intrusion into users’ private lives. The main goal was to create uber efficient targeted ads to got the hook into customers.
Let’s calm ourselves, paid advertising on Facebook is so ineffective that it can’t be harmful. Its dramatically low click-through-rate of 70% below average is due to the Facebook’s content and organization: there is so much going on on Facebook that the user can’t focus its attention on the ad.
The tricky thing about ads and fan pages on Facebook is; even if it’s not extremely effective, nobody dares not to be there.
About these ads

20 thoughts on “Advertising on Facebook is ineffective

  1. jhollingworth9

    Thanks for visiting Passion of JDP! :)
    And I have to say that I never click on any ads when I’m on Facebook. I think advertising on Facebook is a good idea, but I think something needs to be done about the way it is presented to people.

  2. Nawito

    I think not considering Facebook the social media marketing ONLY the key, but implementing social media sites and marketing campaigns and include Facebook advertising and community sharing in them will result increasing customer attention to your brand name and the type of products you sell, and I think this is your internet marketing campaign’s purpose (widen your customer segment, and gain brand attention and brand existence for your customers), and this is what we call (success) :) and then the sales plan will focus on your target segment and this one is the responsible for the (increasing my sales income) issue. Thank you

  3. gamingpa1985

    I must say you took the words right out of my mouth! I have some observations I will share with you! How is it that Facebook just announced this new Timeline one week ago tomorrow….yet, I viewed 40 top company /fan pages today with an incredible amount of foresight! How are these advertising agents, marketing companies….so prepared to offer their service for a complete business page overhaul! How are the educated experts appearing so rapidly, how are the companies offering software, templates…you name it and analysis on having the entire concept to a “T” in less than a week. This was no surprise announcement, in my humble opinion. I watch things very closely, loving every aspect of my training, specialty niche’ in the market and continuing education…..but I have never predicted or witnessed something that turns over so rapidly with so many people prepared–and apparently already prepared to offer experts services to those wishing to farm-out their own companies reputation……I’m not buying it…..no pun intended, but, yes, I wouldn’t miss it for the world!~Debra=]

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  5. theseojourney

    I have a client in the vacation rental industry and we’ve found Facebook to convert about 5 leads each month! If were spending 250$/month for ads and each lead is a minimum of $1500 conversion, if 4/5 leads failed then even one is already making profit! I think it all correlates to the type of business. Thanks for liking my most recent post, much appreciated.

  6. GC2

    réfléchi, argumenté, particulièrement intéressant, et indubitablement réaliste
    ce n’est certainement pas sur cette voie qu’il faut rechercher le génie de FB

  7. Api

    Hi there.

    I strongly desagree with this post, please let me explain why.
    The main problem with this article is its scope.
    I mean, yes, if you only have a FB page with your big logo on it and a half-brained so called community manager to monitor the number of fans/likes, yes, you’re wasting money.

    BUT, is it really what’s going on ?
    NO !
    Do I have to remind you of the OLD SPICE Campaign ? yeah. Millions of viewers AND more than +1OO% in SALES.
    Yes, S-A-L-E-S.
    (by the way old spice belongs to P&G, which have just recently decided to focus their marketing budget on digital and social media. Since P&G is not a “3 people in a basement” company, it could be wise to pay attention to their strategy, just sayin’).

    So the KEY Point here is to realize that advertising on facebook must be part of a broader strategy, in an integrated marketing communications campaign. This is why I really do desagree here. The author stresses the inefficency of FB as an advertising media, and defends her point of view with the lowest (dumbest ?) example ever. When used on a larger scope, as part of a multi-element campaign, FB has already proved to be a very efficient tool.

    Thanks for your attention.
    Peace and prosperity.

    1. Joyce Post author

      Hi Api,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me.

      I do agree with you on one point: sometimes, a well-designed campaign made by a huge company such as P&G can be very efficient. This is the magic of buzz and social media.

      But the Old Spice example is just an exception, the point of my article was not to focus on one exception but to describe largely shared consequences of advertising on Facebook, and the analytics point out that the majority of companies suffer from a lack of conversion.

      Moreover, I did not focus on the “3 people in a basement” type of companies, my article was targeting every kind of companies. And my closing statement enhanced the fact that companies have to be on Facebook anyway.

      Of course, it is crucial in 2012 to focus a marketing budget on digital and social media, but thinking about digital and social media only as Facebook is simplistic. Let’s not forget Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, Google, Tumblr, WordPress, Linkedin…

      Just as a side note, I don’t think that calling my example “dumb” is the best way to communicate efficiently.

    2. everydaycounsel

      Talk about ineffecient and ineffective. As a “three people in a basement” kind of site I can tell you that it is impossible to model what a multi-billion dollar company can do. In fact, even for a company with a million dollars per year in revenue, it’s difficult to model what a multi-billion dollar company can do. That’s unrealisitic. Moreover, what you are pointing to is something going viral. 99.9% of internet content, including advertising does not go viral, so hoping to make something that does is not the best strategy.

      So, sure, you’re right, when something works well on facebook it can translate into a boon and create lots of sales and lots of dollars. But, on the whole, even as a larger strategy, facebook is horribly inefficient at brand development and customer engagement. In the time that I have been running my own site I have been able to about double my views each month through the use of social media, and of the various sites/tools I have used, and for me facebook has been the least effective, even with a paid ad campaign.

  8. Joyce Post author

    Thanks a lot for your comments! I’m glad you liked my first article and I love reading your reactions and personal experiences.

    Wcalvinandersonmed, you raised an interesting question, I think that we are so afraid to miss the new place to advertise that we do too much, even if it’s a waste of time and money!

  9. robincoyle

    I was at a tiny grocery store in the middle-of-nowhere-Utah and they had a handwritten (and rather dog-eared) sign on the cash register that said “Like us on Facebook!” It made me chuckle. I wonder how many “likes” they have.

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  11. Birmingham Small Business Centre

    Reblogged this on The Birmingham Small Business Centre Limited and commented:
    We totally agree here Joyce, there was a DJ on our business course who was ready to defend Facebook’s “Like” and click stats to the death in a debate about if FB ads work or not but when asked how many of those millions of people have become customers by clicking his ads the answer was “Nill”….I have to reblog this thanks for the post!

  12. wcalvinandersonmed

    Interesting points, does that make FB ads the new digital subliminal advertising? We are finding a way to use everything we recognize as a resource and its growing up with our readiness for community frameworks.

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