Should You Advertise with Facebook?

Facebook has been getting some bad press lately. Have you been wondering whether you should advertise with Facebook, in light of the controversy?

I was thinking about this as I headed out to get an affidavit notarized. One of our clients has had to update the permissions we had received for running ads with social causes topics. We had to confirm physical addresses, get documents from the IRS, and upload drivers licenses. I had to download that affidavit, print it, fill it out, get it notarized, and upload it.

These things take time and trouble, but they also demonstrate that Facebook is making efforts to avoid allowing bad actors to infiltrate their platform. 

Not well enough, according to critics.

Here are some of the accusations Facebook has been hit with recently:

  • That its product is addictive, with comparisons being made to tobacco products
  • That it allows hate speech, bullying, and harmful false information
  • Encouraging self harm and suicide
  • Causing dissatisfaction, envy, low self-esteem, and other unhealthy thoughts
  • Anti-trust violations
  • Using its algorithm to increase profits at the expense of user safety

Given the complaints being hurled at Facebook by the government and others, should you be supporting Facebook with your ad dollars? 

Questions to ask yourself

Now, Facebook is a business. As such, it is likely to have some selfish motivations and concern with money. But is Facebook actually evil? If you think so, then you probably shouldn’t support it with your ad dollars, or by providing content that encourages people to spend time there and provide Facebook (and others) with personal information from which they can make money. This is a philosophical question as well as a matter as yet undecided by incontrovertible evidence, so we’ll leave this one to you. 

Are your customers there? With 2.91 billion users in Q3 of 2021, Facebook’s population is larger than that of China. If Facebook were a country, it would be the biggest country in the world. You really think your audience isn’t there? While we see questions like “Does anyone still use Facebook?” and we know that Facebook users are getting older, it is undeniable that Facebook has a huge market share.

Are your goods and services compatible with Facebook? In our experience, Facebook users are interested in personal things: shoes, entertainment, health care, political causes. They aren’t looking to get their taxes done. You’ll be more successful if you offer something fun or personal.

Do you have news to share? Even though people visit Facebook for fun and connections, there are a lot of people who also treat it as a news source. If you have newsworthy content, Facebook may be a good place for you.

How’s the ROI? For many of our clients, Facebook has the lowest price per contact. With strategic ad purchases, you can reach large numbers of people who are probably interested in what you have to offer — art a bargain rate. On the other hand, we also see lower conversion rates for visitors from Facebook at many websites. Calculate your cost per impression when making this decision. Then figure out your conversion rate. Compare Facebook with other options.

Conversion Rates and Unreasonable Desires

Collect the data

It’s likely that you can’t answer all the questions above without collecting some data first. While collecting data is one of the things Facebook is getting in trouble for, it’s an important part of running a business or indeed any organization. We can help with this if it’s not your strong suit. 

Whatever you decide, keep track of your results and use the information to fine tune your ad strategy.

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