Does Facebook Advertising Work?

Hi, Gentle Readers. We’re busy working on a couple other sites here at HQ. And, on one of them, we dig deep – really deep – on the “Should I Advertise on Facebook?” question. This originally appeared over at We thought it might be more a propos for the readership here, so we’re sharing.

We’ve told you that we’re striving for radical transparency here – we want to show you what works and what doesn’t. And one of the things we’ve had asked of us countless times: Does Facebook Advertising Work?

Time, then, to go Behind the Curtain on Facebook Likes. Specifically, if you were to do a campaign, and do one with a limited budget, what are the expectations? And can you actually get anything other than just Facebook Likes?

79 percent quick memeThat’s actually a complex question, and the answers depend on a few factors – not just how much you’re spending on Facebook. For instance:

  1. Do you have content that you can point people to, or are you still building your audience?
  2. Is there a quid pro quo – well, as much of a quid pro quo as is allowed with this new “Like Gate” stuff going on? (Learn more over at Tabfoundry - from the ever-cool Francisco at Social Mouths.)
  3. And what does your content strategy look like in the days and weeks to come?

Again, we don’t have all the answers. But here are a couple experiments from the “test and learn” school of Facebook Marketing.

Experiment A: Metasip “Boost Post” Campaign

If you don’t know about our Metasip site, (1) where have you BEEN? and (2) you can learn more over at - where we’d love it if you signed up for the email list. Seriously, we’d love that.

Put simply, we’re building a tool that is “Yelp for Alcoholic Beverages.” We’ve had some success early on, at least with getting content out there and rating things in a variety of categories. (We know – there are countless wine apps, and a beer thing called Untappd, and there are whisky (and whiskey) and spirits sites and blogs and everything else. Our aim is a little of that, but a whole lot of ratings. Stay tuned.)

Without a doubt, our most successful post – to the tune of 300 visits on a Thursday in July and 600 visits the next day – was one about Buying Booze at Costco. So we thought we’d use the “Boost Post” capability and see what that would get us. Here are the results:

Metasip Boost Post Campaign

Metasip Boost Post Campaign

You’ll see that…well…$20 may not have been the best use of dollars here.

If you want to slice and dice the numbers to score a few metrics to make yourself happy, you COULD say that your paid reach divided by your budget meant a “CPM” – or “Cost Per Thousand” in the ad world – of $13.31.

Careful, Young Jedi. Using that sort of calculation this early in the game, and when you’re not dealing with a large budget, is actually a little dangerous, we think. There’s just simply not enough to go on – and, in the fullness of time, you will have a much better picture of your TRUE Marketing Cost. But we digress…

Those 57 “Actions” did not yield ONE additional email subscriber. They DID give us ONE additional Page Like, so our numbers are…a little better. Again, it’s early.

However…we didn’t set this up as a “like” campaign, we set it up to “Boost This Post.” So we did drive traffic to the page as a result – if you want to use Facebook’s “Reach” numbers (1502) and consider the actual link clicks as a “Conversion” (14), we got a conversion rate of 0.9% – less than 1/10 of one percent.

Before you ask – we micro-targeted who we were reaching out to. US-only, and those who are already interested in alcohol brands.

Stay tuned for further developments on this front.

Experiment B: 10KaYear Like Campaign

I think I liked this one best, specifically because of one number in the photo below:

Facebook Like Campaign

The 10KaYear FB Like Campaign

In case you missed it, we circled that number. It’s the Avg. Cost Per Page Like.

We were tracking this the whole time – as you’ll see up there, we ran a ten-day, $100 campaign – and that number was pretty consistent, not moving much above 60 cents, nor below 50. It netted out pretty well – and, while not in “big brand” spend territory, we think it gives us a nice little benchmark for future campaigns.

 ALSO: Do not overlook mobile. At ALL. Of the traffic referred to our site by Facebook in the past 30 days, 79% of it was mobile.

Experiment C: 10KaYear Boost Post Campaign

This one was earlier in the month of August, and we decided to share it because there’s an opportunity to learn something from it. Right?

FB Boost Post

FB Boost Post Campaign for 10KaYear

As you see, “actions” appeared lower than Experiment A above, but we’re actually going to have to study the numbers from that first experiment…they don’t add up.

Our big takeaway here is the CPM number. Math tells us that it’s $8.56 as a CPM figure ($40 divided by 4672 to give you the cost per, then multiplied by 1000 to give you the CPM).

$8.56 CPM is nothing to sneeze at. Right?

Behind the Curtain on Facebook Likes: the Takeaways…

If you’re here for Personal Financial Advice – which this site does some of – you’re starting to catch on a theme: “Track Everything.”

And if you’re here for Business Launch Advice – which this post and the “Behind the Curtain” page are both meant to help with – you might catch on a theme: “Track Everything.”

Another theme for both: “Test and Learn.”

As we keep these Side Hustles of ours moving forward, we’re keen to keep learning from these types of tests. And we haven’t even begun that “ENGAGEMENT” process that all the marketing gurus talk about. Get people on board with your cause, then get them to do something with you – talk, share, ask questions, build communities. ENGAGE.

The takeaways: None of this happens overnight. Immediate results are for the extremely lucky. You do have to spend a little to build an audience. And you need an engagement strategy, a content marketing strategy, and a communications strategy behind it all. AND DON’T IGNORE MOBILE.

More to come on the rest of that down the road.

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