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Businesses, big and small, are always attempting to develop their online presence and the use of social media platforms to expand their reach is becoming a fundamental tactic in any marketing campaign. The main aim in using these social platforms is of course to build up a following, connect with more people and acquire potential leads, but like with many online services you can get better results if you pay for it.

The problem with organic reach

Organically marketing your business on social media will consist of keeping your following updated with the latest news in your industry, engaging with your fans, writing blogs, posting photos and making videos. However, there are limits put in place by Facebook to cap your organic reach, but why?

In 2004 all of your friends and subscribers on Facebook saw 100% of your updates (for free). Since then Facebook recorded that in 2015 1.59 billion people are actively using the platform daily, and the dramatic increase in users has altered the way the platform operates. Instead of showing your posts to 100% of your friends and likers, it only shows it to a fraction of them relative to the amount of likes you have on your page or however many friends you have on your account. That’s how their new algorithms work.  SO, if you want your posts to reach a higher percentage of people there is more of a motive to pay for it through Facebook advertising.

This is a very common problem when businesses look to use Facebook to organically reach out to their potential fans because they can only market to a smaller percentage of people. Facebook even stated in 2012 that organic reach will gradually decrease.

People are connecting to more pages and individuals every day. And each day, more brands and organisations are posting on Facebook. As a result, we expect organic distribution of an individuals page’s posts to gradually decline over time” …

And it has done. Due to the limits placed on Facebook’s algorithms, posts are seen up to only 4% of a page’s fan base.  So now, as a result of that, PAID advertising on Facebook advertising is becoming a much more prominent tactic in Social Media Marketing.

Case study

And this is where the big question arises, is the extra likes/reach/engagement really worth the money? The debate has been ongoing for a long time now and marketers have taken their own time and money to find out.

blogger at used a $100 budget to show us what a small/start-up business can accomplish when advertising on Facebook. Her case study looks at acquiring Facebook fans for her Husband’s band by boosting the likes on the page and promoting a single post.

$35 was spent on running an ad for 7 days to hopefully boost the likes on the Facebook page. Limiting the spend to $5 per day the page received 53 new likes over the due course of a week and reached just 1301 people. This averages at $0.60 per like and falls short of the 8 likes per day Facebook estimated. She claimed the numbers weren’t too impressive, but the real argument here is the suspicious amount of new fans with profiles that looked to have little or no interaction with other users and looked rather disengaged. Veritasiumdigs deeper in to the subject on ‘clickfarms’ and ‘fake profiles’ and explains that when paying for Facebook likes LEGITIMATELY you would expect to see genuine people liking your page, especially when using targeted advertisement.

Secondly the blogger spent $40 on boosting a single post on the page returning 44 likes, costing $0.88 per like. Comparatively out of the remainder of the $100 she used $20 to boost a post on a page with a larger number of fans to measure the difference. Targeting the post the same way, Facebook estimated that 41,000 – 110,000 people would be reached on the new page.2016-04-14 (3)


The results were not what she expected and also not what Facebook had projected. Not only was the post reach less than 10% of what they estimated, it also cost her $2.50 per like!

Overall the band page received a total of 76 like for the full campaign, just under the $100 budget, averaging out at $1.18 per like.

we might have had better luck if we had just taken a stack of $1 dollar bills to the food court at the mall and offered people a dollar to like our Facebook page”

Campaign success

However, it really does depend on what sort of business you are, how you go about targeting prospects, how much you spend and how well prepared your advertisements are. Facebook is a well-established Marketing platform and has every component to make for a successful campaign. There are a lot of businesses that are using Facebook advertising and have successful campaign stories;

‘’ Used Facebook to advertise their services and ended up generating 50% of all their website traffic and 43% of all enquiries from the platform.

‘Lego’ used the platform to reach out to 80% off all mothers on Facebook and receive a grand total of 37 million views on one of their promoted videos.

‘Honda’ used the advertising on Facebook to receive a 12x increase in test drives from posting on Facebook.

Facebook has a full page dedicated to businesses campaign successes.

IS Facebook advertising it worth it?

There are a lot of issues that come with using Facebook as a marketing tool and there is definite room for the platform to improve. It has been debated for a long time and marketers will continue to argue on the topic in the future.

However, if you’re consistent, responsive and your brand it authentic, campaigning on Facebook shouldn’t be a problem for your business. Utilising tools such as Insight’s to find out what is working best and targeted advertisement to reach specific demographics, it is more than possible to create a successful advertising campaign on Facebook.

A marketer on said to me…

“They’ve synced with people’s phones, and bought tons and tons of public data with their IPO money, they’ve created incredibly rich profiles out of their users. You can target people who are expecting a baby, and thinking about moving, and purchase mainly using cash, who have a college education, and love to watch game of thrones. It’s incredible. Mixing geo and demo info, with people’s interests, friends interests, and financial info is a data cocktail that has usually only been reserved for the biggest and richest corporations”


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About the author

Relative is a creative marketing agency run by brothers, Rob and Si Barlow. We really work on our relationships. It’s why we have client partners who have happily worked with us for years. Building strong connections is what we do – with our clients, and for them with their chosen audiences.

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