Facebook Advertising is something that still intrigues way. There is no other advertising platforms that allow you to target people in the way that Facebook does.
This is because Facebook knows everything about its members. It knows their name. It knows their email address. It knows their age, their likes, their dislikes, their interests, their hobbies. It also knows the language they speak and the city and country they live.
All of this information can be used by advertisers so that they can influence who follows them on Facebook and who visits their website. It is not like placing a banner on a website and hoping that all the traffic is targeted. You can use Facebook to ensure that everyone that sees your advertisement is relevant to you.
Unfortunately, the performance of Facebook has been going down for years. Post updates typically reach less than 10% of their total audience. Sometimes I am lucky if 3% of my followers actually see updates I post. Additionally, the price of Facebook advertising has been going up and up. Therefore, website owners are spending more money to reach less people.
I have discussed these issues, and looked at my own experience with Facebook advertising, over the last year. I recommend reading my previous articles on Facebook advertising to get an understanding of how Facebook has changed over the last two years.
- A Look Back at Why Facebook Page Reach Decreased Last Year
- Everything You Need to Know About Promoting Posts on Facebook
- Poor Performance From Facebook Page Promotion
- Facebook Now More Transparent About Page Promotion Costs
- Are the Likes That You Bought From Facebook Real?
Despite the cost of advertising on Facebook, it is still an advertising platform that can be beneficial to you if you develop a large following and continue to post updates that people will share. For me, Facebook presents a way of reaching potential readers and turning them into loyal subscribers. The question is how much does it cost me to do that?
The Cost of Growing Your Facebook Fan Page
Facebook can be used to send traffic directly to pages. This can be used to increase newsletter sign ups and promote competitions. It is something that I am looking closer into; however today I want to look closer at growing my Facebook fan page.
Clicking on the “Promote Page” button on your Facebook page will load a pop up that lets you quickly promote your page by selecting a couple of parameters. In the example below, I chose to promote my page to people who are interested in WordPress and internet marketing; two of the main topics I discuss on this blog. I also targeted English speaking countries such as the USA, Ireland, and UK.
Facebook gives you an estimate of how many likes per day you will receive by running your campaign. A low and high estimate are shown for each budget. This quick advertising mode only shows me five daily budget options: $5, $10, $15, $20, and $25. These rates will increase as my total number of fans grows.
For a daily budget of $15, I could expect to see between 9 and 35 likes per day. That means a best case scenario of $0.43 per like and a worst scenario of $1.67 per like. Note that there is no guarantee that Facebook will actually deliver that number of likes. I spoke about this issue last year. They are now more transparent about the amount of likes you receive, but the default method of promoting your fan page is to optimise your campaign for the most likes. There is no guarantee that you will receive the estimated figure that is suggested.
In order to have direct control, you need to change the campaign from optimisation for likes, to optimisation for clicks or impressions. This allows you to define the maximum amount you are charged per click or per impression. You can do this by going into the Facebook ad management area and editing your ad campaign directly.
Facebook suggests a bid price for each click and impression and if you enter a value lower than this you may not receive any traffic.
For me, $1 a like is too much. It would cost me $1,000 to gain 1,000 more subscribers to my Facebook page. I would see a much better return from my investment by spending $1,000 on hiring writers. For example, $1,000 could get me 20 quality articles from other bloggers. These articles would generate more traffic to my blog than doubling my Facebook likes.
However, we cannot forget the power of a Facebook fan page that has a lot of fans. One of the fan pages for a website I own has over 66,000 fans and I know firsthand that it can send hundreds of visitors to a website with every update. Though obviously I am not going to invest $65,000 on promoting my Facebook page to that level.
The only real way of reducing the cost of acquiring likes is to target a country in which clicks are cheaper. For example, if I had to target the Philippines, $15 would get me between 100 and 400 likes per day. That's a best case scenario of $0.0375 per like and a worst case scenario of $0.15 per like.
Other affordable countries that I could promote my blog to include:
- India – $0.12 to $0.50 per like
- Malaysia – $0.15 to $0.58 per like
- Indonesia – $0.05 to $0.22 per like
- Poland – $0.12 to $0.48 per like
The majority of people from the Philippines speak English and there are a lot of people there who work on the internet. The same can be said of other Asian countries such as India and Malaysia too. Therefore, I could target those regions cheaper than I could target native English speaking countries.
Facebook Likes Are Not Equal
The cost of promoting my fan page to people from the Philippines is over 11 times cheaper than promoting my page to people from English speaking countries such as the UK, Canada, Australia etc. Assuming an average cost of 9.375 cents per like, I could acquire 1,000 fans from the Philippines for $93.75 and 10,000 fans for only $937.50.
This would significantly increase my incoming traffic from Facebook and my influence in the Philippines, however the question is whether I would see tangible results from this campaign. Would I get a better return by publishing two articles from guest bloggers for $100?
I spent a month in the Philippines ten years ago. It is a beautiful country and the people were very friendly. However, the country is a lot poorer than native English speaking countries. Therefore, they spend significantly less online than their American and British counterparts.
A quick look at my Google Adsense statistics shows that in 2014, people from the Philippines have generated a page RPM of £0.32 (note that my Google Adsense account is set in UK pounds, not US dollars). That means for every 1,000 impressions of a page in the Philippines, I have earned £0.32. In contrast, for every 1,000 impressions:
- United States generates £2.87
- The United Kingdom generates £1.89
- Canada generates £1.69
- Australia generates £2.45
- New Zealand generates £2.77
- South Africa generates £0.94
My traffic for Adsense websites from the USA is close to 100,000 page impressions. The UK is around 45,000 impressions, Australia and Canada are around 15,000 impressions, and New Zealand and South Africa are just a few thousand. Therefore, I do not have enough data to see whether the above figures are close to what these countries normally generate or not.
What is interesting is that while the Philippines is over 11 times cheaper, it does not generate 11 times less revenue. The UK, for example, only earns around 6 times as much as the Philippines. What does this mean? Well, if you were using Facebook to promote a website that was monetised by Google Adsense, you could get close to twice as much as a return from advertising the Philippines over the UK. Obviously, I am making a lot of assumptions here, but you get my point.
The two websites I am mainly focusing on at this time is this blog and my internet marketing forum Rise Forums. A bigger following on Facebook would help me gain more subscribers for this blog and more members on Rise Forums.
If I target countries that are poorer than the USA and the UK, people may be less inclined to purchase products. However, I suspect the conversion rates for advertisers would not drop to the point where no one buys anything (note: if people do not buy products, affiliate commissions would be lower than expected).
But there is still value in having followers from countries that are not as rich as countries such as the USA. They can share articles, they can contribute comments, they can increase page impressions, and they can link to your articles and boost your presence on search engines. And on Rise Forums they could create new discussions and make the forum more active.
If I had to take a closer look at the cost of promoting my fan page and the benefit from gaining those followers, I suspect I would see the worst return from native English speaking countries; as the cost of a like can go as high as $1.67.
So from a financial point of view, visitors from native English speaking countries such as the United States could generate more money than visitors from Asia. But this is a question of quality versus quantity. Every project is different. With some website business models, the quantity of visitors is more important than the quality, while others need visitors who will definitely buy something.
The fact that I do sell any products directly through my blog (other than a few cheap books) suggests that increasing my total number of followers will help me significantly. If, on the other hand, my blog had a sales funnel that focused on selling a $297 product, a large volume of visitors from poorer countries would not help me at all.
Every project is different. For many websites, you would be throwing your money down the drain trying to increase your Facebook presence as the costs are just too high. However, there are clearly benefits to having a large following on Facebook.
A large following on Facebook can bring you new readers and new customers. It can also send traffic to your website every day. Traffic to your website can also increase due to fans sharing your pages and more people linking to your pages.
Though the cost of growing a fan page to a good level needs to be evaluated. Some people have thrown tens of thousands of dollars at a Facebook campaign and it has paid off because of the viral nature of their content. Others have received next to no return on their investment. It really depends on the business model of your website. In order to profit from Facebook, you need to think two moves ahead and evaluate your return after each campaign.
I am keen to follow this post up with a case study on whether promoting a Facebook page to cheaper countries has benefits. Specifically, I would like to look at increases in shares, increases in incoming traffic, and search engine traffic. I will also have to look at other ways I can increase traffic to this blog; such as hiring bloggers to publish more content, increasing newsletter subscribers, and increasing my following on Twitter. I think these will make interesting case studies as we are all trying to increase our traffic and our social media presence.
I don't have all the answers. I am just a blogger who is trying to see what works and what does not. So please do not take anything I say as gospel. It is important that you test out things yourself and see what works for you :)
For now, I would like to turn it over to all of you. What are your thoughts on Facebook advertising? Do you still feel it is worthwhile spending money on promoting Facebook pages? Or do you think it is better to invest into other methods, such as promoting your newsletter landing page?
Please leave a comment below and share your view if you have time.
Thanks for reading.