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Posted by Phil Richardson

Facebook ads: are they really worth our time?

Are you in the dark about Facebook ads? Want more information about the ins and outs of it all? Then look no further. As there is with everything, there are pros and cons to using Facebook ads to promote your company. In this blog, I’ll (try to) cover some of them, looking at whether or not these ads really are value for money.

Being a young person, I like to think that I’m social media savvy – especially when I live with a family full of technophobes! Back when I was little, Facebook was the coolest thing known to mankind (at this point I was still playing with Polly Pocket so don’t judge me too harshly) so when I first got an account, it’s fair to say I was chuffed to bits. I think it was mainly because you could do so much on it; I could speak to anyone anywhere (in case you’re wondering, yes my mum did go through the whole ‘stranger danger’ thing) and post/share something that could be seen by millions.

Facebook ads could help B2B companies promote themselves and give their target audience an increased knowledge of their company. With just a Facebook page, it’s harder to reach every single potential prospect. By creating an advert you can really put yourself out there.

Active users.

In today’s society, people assume that Facebook has taken a backseat after the emergence of sites such as Instagram and Snapchat. Despite this, Facebook claims that it has around 1.28 billion active users, so there’s still a lot of people using it. This is one of the main advantages of Facebook ads: it can be seen by anyone. Facebook allows you to create a custom audience for your ads, so you can target a specific audience based on what they’re interested in.

With this is mind, it’s clear to see that using Facebook ads is likely to generate increased knowledge of your company, thus resulting in more traffic for your website. This seemingly easy way to generate prospects is a huge advantage to any company, giving them the opportunity to let someone else do the work (the potential prospect that is) whilst they continue targeting their current leads and prospects.

In the B2B world, I think it’s fair to say that the general target market is out there, mainly using pages to promote themselves. The majority of those in the B2B sector only use pages as a cost-efficient way of promoting themselves, so in a way you’d stand out from the crowd by having an advert.

Cost.

Another advantage of advertising on Facebook that appeals to the vast majority is the cost. With a minimum spend of £1 per day it’s hard not to feel encouraged to do it. Facebook currently offer four different bid opportunities:

  • Cost Per Mille (CPM) where you bid per 1,000 impressions.
  • Optimised CPM, which is the same as regular CPM but Facebook also show your ad to the people most likely to take action.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC) where you pay for each click you get through to your actual website.
  • Cost Per Action (CPA), which is recommended for companies who are looking for users to take action when they see your ad.

All of these suit different needs, so you can choose the structure that is most fitting for your campaign objectives. An advantage, right? Facebook is basically letting you choose how you pay and what for. These small costs are especially great for companies who have a small budget for advertisement.

But (yep, here comes the bad part), there is of course one vital question regarding costs: how much will you make per “Facebook Fan”? Studies have shown that although the initial cost is low, the actual profit gained from it isn’t too spectacular, suggesting that it would take a long time to earn your money back.

Per 5.25 million fans and with 16 ads running per month, Coca-Cola make less than £1. My advice would be to do a trial before investing too much in the long term, because even big brands struggle to make big money…

Full screens.

A B2B ad would (as I said earlier) be different from your regularly spotted Facebook ads – online shops, coffee shops etc. So people (probably) won’t have seen an ad like yours before, which could encourage them to visit your website.

If you’re a Facebook user like myself, you’ll know that the home screen can get very busy (depending on how busy you are). Due to this, you often miss ads or overlook them. This of course is a problem for anyone with a Facebook ad because it means that you’re basically paying money to be ignored.

Not only is there this fatal flaw, but the majority of people find ads at the side of their screen annoying, whichever site they’re on. If a company continuously sees your ad, they’re going to think of you as a small dog: yappy, annoying and needy. After they’ve made this assumption, you might as well remove them from your list, because they don’t want a relationship with a company that’s annoying. Would you?

Clicks.

Back onto the positives (yay), with Facebook’s “link ads” if someone clicks on any part of your ad it takes them straight to your chosen landing page. This will generate more traffic for your website and increase the knowledge of your company, potentially gaining you more leads. You can put call buttons on your ad, which enables the Facebook “fan” to call you/your office straight away. This is a quick way of generating leads that’s clearly a great advantage because you’re gaining more contacts without so much fuss.

With a notification for each click, Facebook tells you who’s actively responding to your ad. This allows you to build up a database of prospects, using Facebook as a platform to gain more information about them. Got lost prospects? Facebook ads to the rescue. As I previously mentioned, you can target specific audience with your ad. Assuming the lost prospect has listed your industry as an area of interest on their Facebook, you can then get your ad put where they’ll see it. And hey-presto, just like that you’ve once again reached them. In addition to this, you can reach out to similar people with similar interests to your once-lost prospect, allowing you to add another name to the list.

If your ad doesn’t seem to be generating anything and you’re just sitting there watching tumbleweeds, Facebook’s got you covered. “Insights” allows you to see what’s working and what isn’t in your ad. This enables you to make the necessary changes to get you the best possible end results.

Being able to customize who sees your advert allows you to specifically target an integrated audience who share the same interests. This enables you to single out individuals who you want as prospects.

Fake fans.

However, (cue opening of The Sound of Silence) there are hundreds of spam pages on Facebook, meaning that you could be receiving fake clicks. It’s like seeing an ice cream shop but finding out they’ve ran out of strawberry splits – my personal favourite; you get all excited to see you’ve hooked a potential prospect only to find out that there’s actually nothing there.

In addition to these fake fans (it’s vital you imagine me dramatically rolling my eyes here, just to get the full effect), the CTR is low. This major disadvantage practically ruins your hopes of quick success as you’ve got to sit and wait for what feels like 20 years. You might as well stand outside in the rain for nine hours dressed as a duck waiting for someone to approach you to ask what the heck you’re doing.

Complains.

Whatever content you put out, there’s always going to be someone sat at home being pedantic, picking out teeny tiny things to complain about. It’s the same with Facebook ads. If people complain about your content, Facebook will take your ad down. This is only a problem if enough people complain, so it’s unlikely that your particular ad will be removed as the content you’ll be putting in isn’t likely to be offensive.

Worth it?

So here’s the big question on everybody’s mind: is it really worth it? In my opinion, I think that if you’ve got some money spare in your marketing budget then give it a try. Billions of people use Facebook so you’re bound to catch somebody’s eye. Despite this, it would be wise to do your research first. See if a large number of your target audience is active on Facebook, because there’s no point in advertising to people that are irrelevant to your business. In the meantime, stick to a Facebook page so you can post and/or share whatever content you please.

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