If you read our previous post on paid online advertising, are a small business owner, or are just considering Facebook ads pros and cons, read on. Facebook ads are a relatively new feature for reaching customers through the popular social media site. Like any online advertising platform, however, there are benefits and drawbacks. Facebook ads are relatively easy to set up, but you want to make sure you select the right options to reach your specific objectives. You also want to make sure your ad is well-designed to appeal to Facebook users in your target demographic.
Below we discuss all the Facebook ads pros and cons you need to know about before you create your first ad. There are also some tips included for those of you who have tried Facebook Ads in the past and have found them to be lackluster.
Facebook Ads Pros and Cons for Small Businesses in a Nutshell
Facebook ads are a relatively easy-to-use feature of Facebook Business, the pay-to-play side of Facebook that enables you to run contextual ads for a fee. Contextual means that they are triggered by a variety of factors, including:
- Demographics of the user
- Past search history
- Who they’re connected to
All the ads that appear on the sidebar and in newsfeeds on Facebook are triggered by the above information. When you got to set up a Facebook ad, you target your ad to a specific audience based on the specific criteria you select.
There are definitely benefits and drawbacks to Facebook ads, however. They are:
- Affordable for any size business, including the popular 5$ “boost” that simply pushes an existing post out to a wider audience
- Easy to use advertising options and decent analytics for checking your ad’s performance
- Lots of available documentation to help you learn how to create better campaigns
- If you don’t know a lot about online advertising, your ads might not be persuasive to users
- You need to choose the right options and have a good follow-up strategy to be successful
Below we discuss each of these Facebook Ads pros and cons in-depth.
Like Google AdWords, Facebook ads are pretty inexpensive, starting with the $5 boost feature which expands the reach of a post for 3 days and scaling up to a full-blown ad campaign, which starts at $5 per day. Unlike Google AdWords, this cost is determined solely by how many people you want to reach, however. All ads essentially cost the same on Facebook, regardless of the industry you’re in.
Pro: Easy to Use
Facebook does a pretty good job of making the process of setting up ads easy for just about anyone. Essentially, you select an audience, design an ad, set a budget, and you’re off and running. You have several different types of ads you can run on Facebook, including:
- Brand awareness campaigns (reaching more people)
- Consideration campaigns (generating more traffic to your page or website)
- Conversion campaigns (getting people to click on offers or visit your online store)
Facebook guides you through the process of selecting the right campaign for your business, though it can be a bit confusing if you’re not sure how the different options differ from one another.
Pro: Great Documentation
Facebook also provides businesses with lots of information to help you create an effective ad campaign. This includes information on running ads in a variety of different industries, from financial services to gaming. It also provides an inspiration hub with success stories and example campaigns.
Con: Requires Marketing Expertise
Like any form of advertising, you need to know something about how to create an effective ad in order to craft one on Facebook. You can follow all the tips and still create an ad that doesn’t convert viewers to leads because you ad isn’t visually appealing or persuasively written. Though Facebook Ads are a lot easier to set up and run than Google AdWords, this can be deceptive as creating a good ad always requires a certain amount of expertise.
Con: You Need A Strategy
Another potential drawback to Facebook advertising is that you can’t just create an ad and never look at it again, but this is true of all online advertising (and probably advertising in general). We’ve had several clients who dump money into Facebook ads only to find that they’re not getting the results they intended.
There are lots of reasons that Facebook ads underperform, but some common reasons are:
- The ads were not set up with the right marketing objectives in mind
- The settings used to create the ads were not optimal, given the marketing objectives chosen
- The ad image is not visually-appealing
- The ad copy is not persuasively written
- There’s no follow through on engagements like clicks and likes
Even if you just boost a post on Facebook, you want to choose a post that will help drive your goals, not just get likes or comments.
When in Doubt, Boost First
If you’re concerned about Facebook Ads pros and cons and whether the platform is right for your small business, try boosting some posts. You can boost any post that you’ve created on your business’s Facebook page for just $5, which essentially just pushes it out to a broader audience. Then you can follow up with anyone who has liked or commented on it by inviting them to like your page and sending them a personalized message.
Boosting is great for just about any marketing objective, as long as the post you’re boosting is a good match for the objective you have in mind. Facebook is becoming a paid platform, meaning just posting content to your business’s page is not enough. If you want to reach and engage your audience, you need to use the platform’s advertising options to push your content out to new people.