I recently spoke in depth about how you can use Facebook post promotion to increase traffic to your websites. One of the things I noted in the article was that the Facebook page for KevinMuldoon.com has very few followers. Despite Facebook reducing the reach of Facebook pages, I still think Facebook is a great medium for networking with readers and acquiring new ones.
As you know, Facebook makes the process of getting new likes very simple. It does, however, require you to spend some money. When looking at my Facebook page the other day, I noticed an advertising option next to the Insights box entitled “Get More Likes”. It has maybe been displayed there previously, however I hadn't noticed it until last Thursday.
Whereas post promotions promise to display a message to a specific number of people, this option promises to deliver a set number of new subscribers every day. You will be charged every day until you choose to cancel the ad.
I was skeptical when I saw this advertised. Firstly, because it seems too good to be true, and when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. I tried Facebook advertising for my Facebook page at the end of 2012 and the average cost per like was $1.32. So was I to believe that they would now offer me between 300 and 1,200 new likes for only $5. Surely this could not be true. Using their normal advertising route, this would cost me between $396 and $1,586. And here they were, offering me the same amount of likes for only five dollars.
Secondly, I found out through boosting posts on Facebook that Facebook are not always up front when it comes to advertising through them. If you remember, I was told that my message would be displayed to at least 20,000 people, yet one of my ads was only displayed to around 4,000 people.
Having an advertisement displayed to around 20% of the audience that you were promised is pretty poor. At the very least, Facebook promises 300 new page likes for $5. If I get a poor return like last time and only get 60 new likes, I would still consider that a good deal. That works out at around 8 cents per fan. If they managed to give me 300 new page likes per day, that would drop the price per fan down to 1.7 cents. And just imagine if Facebook could actually provide me with 1,200 new likes per day for $5. I would be getting new fans on Facebook for only 0.4 cents. That's crazy!
I found an article by Greg Sterling on Marketing Land which was published in December 2012 in which he explained this new advertising option. He noted that the option was targeted directly exclusively towards small businesses with fewer than 10,000 fans. This seems like a good business strategy from Facebook: Get businesses hooked on Facebook traffic and then offer them the ability to reach all their fans by boosting posts.
It turns out that this option was first made available to U.S. businesses in December 2012. It was only rolled out globally on 30 April 2013 (which explains why I hadn't noticed it previously).
The price of promoting Facebook pages seems to support the original announcement by Greg Sterling that Facebook are targeting Facebook pages with less than fewer fans. For this blogs Facebook Page, Facebook state that it costs me only $20 per day to reach 1,200 and 4,800 new fans every day. I was quoted that price when the page only had 174 fans.
Compare that to my Martial Arts Videos Facebook page. That has over 48,500 fans, yet Facebook charges $250 per day to acquire between 500 and 4,500 new fans per day.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing. As your fan page grows, it acquires new fans more easily. The difficult thing is getting a Facebook page going, which is what Facebook seem to be trying to help us with.
I decided to test this new option initially for only $5. If it was successful, I could then use advertising option on more of my Facebook pages. All you have to do is choose your daily budget and the countries you want to target. For this initial test I chose to target native English speaking countries. If I had targeted countries such as India and Malaysia (which have a high percentage of English speakers), I imagine I would have acquire more likes.
After clicking on the “Promote Page” button, you will notice that the “Get More Likes” section has been replaced by a summary of your campaign. It shows you the number of likes you have, number of impressions, total amount of money spent and your daily budget. Your daily budget can be increased, decreased or stopped at any time. There is no option for a lifetime budget. For example, you cannot tell Facebook that you want to spend $100 in total and that they should continue advertising until that has been spent. Therefore, if you have a limited budget, you will need to monitor your ads and ensure you stop them when your budget limit has been reached.
I reviewed the campaign after 30 minutes. This was enough time for me to realise that I was not going to get a good return through this advertising option. I had spent $0.59 and generated zero new likes.
I looked at the Facebook ad manager and saw a new campaign for the page. Facebook had created two ads: One which targeted mobile users and one which did not. Both of them had a potential reach of of over 120 million people. I realised that this advertising method would not be as targeted as creating a unique campaign myself, though I was still surprised to see that the campaigns had no targeting whatsoever.
They did not target any keyword, any age demographic or any country. I assumed that this would have been generated through my previous messages or through the interests of my existing followers.
After a day my $5 had generated 20 new likes for my Facebook page. Since the campaign was not targeted, I imagine that these people have no interest in what I do online, so it will not surprise me if most of them unsubscribe later.
I stopped the campaign after seeing those results. Facebook are still trying to encourage me to pay money to get likes after seeing first hand that they will not deliver. They promised me a minimum of 300 new likes and delivered 20….and when I stopped the campaign they returned to their lies about providing me a minimum of 300 likes per day. Fool me once, shame on Facebook; fool me twice, shame on me.
Page Promotion with Facebook
The information page for Promoted Page Likes can be found at https://www.facebook.com/business/promoted-like. There is nothing on that page, or the corresponding help page, that explains why Facebook does not deliver what it had promised.
When I decided to test out Facebook's promoted page advertising option, I was really skeptical as to whether I would get the minimum of 300 new likes per day. However, I did not expect to see the terrible results that I did. It seems that promoting a page using this method is simply the lazy way of getting likes on Facebook. It would be much better to take a few minutes to create a unique advertisement that is geared towards your target audience.
Sure, those new likes only cost me 25 cents each, however they are pretty worthless if they are not targeted. I'd rather more money to ensure that the people who liked my page were actually interested in the topics I focus on.
At this point, I am not ashamed in admitting that I am confused about all of this. Are Facebook simply lying to advertisers or am I missing something here? Surely any company that gives an estimate of what you can expect has to deliver it once a person has paid the ad with their credit card.
If you have a Facebook page, you will see this new advertising option next to your Insights box. Don't be fooled by their promises. Facebook doesn't deliver.
Thanks for reading,