A Comparison: Facebook Ads vs. Promoted Posts

A Comparison: Facebook Ads vs. Promoted Posts image facebook ads logo done1A Comparison: Facebook Ads vs. Promoted PostsReaching your audience on Facebook is no easy task, and I’m the first to admit that – and it’s especially hard if you want to go the ‘unpaid’ route. Facebook is a business after all, with interested parties and hungry investors who want to see their profits; and because of that, they’ve made it harder for businesses to connect with their audiences if they’re not showing the money. This might have enraged lots of people – Marc Cuban being one of the most notable – but there’s nothing they can do about it. Facebook has over 1 billions users – making them have the monopoly in the social media world.

So I thought I’d take a closer look at what Facebook has to offer businesses in terms of advertising, and find out what works best – and for whom.

There are two ways of advertising your business/blog/event/etc. on Facebook: the ‘traditional’ Facebook ads and Promoted Posts, a relatively new feature. Let’s start by taking a look at both of these options and then make a comparison chart between the two – so you can decide what would work best for your business!

Facebook Advertising

What is it?   This is how Facebook makes most of its money. They are basically “paid messages coming from businesses and they can include social context about friends.”

To set up an advert you first have to have a Facebook Page that you want to advertise. Once you have the page, you can choose what your goals are and what you want to achieve from your ads:

-       Do you want to reach more people and get more Page likes?

-       Do you want to promote a specific post (this is the Promoted Posts feature that we will talk about after this)

The great thing about Facebook ads is that they are extremely well targeted and if you are very clear about what your target audience is and have enough money, you can actually reach them – but if they will actually click on your add, that’s a whole other story.  After you choose your adverts, you can choose who you want to see your add: by location, age, gender, interests etc. You will also be given an estimated number of people that you could reach, that include your specifications – of course, you will only be able to reach them all if you have the money:

A Comparison: Facebook Ads vs. Promoted Posts image ads reach 300x1391A Comparison: Facebook Ads vs. Promoted Posts

Another great thing about Facebook ads is that you can choose your own budget – and never go over it if you don’t wish to. This is a very similar tactic to Google Ads. Facebook even promises that they will do everything in their power to help you “reach the people who are more likely to help you achieve your goal.”

Your campaign budget can start from as little as you want and you can even choose if you want it to be a “per day” budget or a “lifetime” budget.

Let’s now take a look at the pros and cons of Facebook ads:

A Comparison: Facebook Ads vs. Promoted Posts image Screen Shot 2013 03 18 at 10.47.311A Comparison: Facebook Ads vs. Promoted Posts

Although the pros outweigh the cons, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Facebook ads are God-sent. Don’t get me wrong, I think they are great, but at the same time users really hate them. There are so many of them that many users have learned to block them out.  Because they are so cheap and easy to set up, there are so many Facebook ads  – and as a result some of them look like spam, which has ingrained this idea in some people that almost all ads on Facebook are spam, unless they are for a really big company that everyone has heard about. But with that out of the way, I have to say that Facebook ads offer great value for money and they offer a great option to those who are struggling with getting their Pages liked.

Let’s take a look at Promoted Posts now to see how the two advertising options stack up against one another and find out which would work best for your business!

Promoted Posts

What are they? Promoted posts are basically the middle ground between ads and regular Facebook posts. When Facebook changed the way Edgerank works back in September 2012, they made it very hard for businesses to get their posts in their followers’ news feeds. Which is really bad for businesses, because that is how they get engagement. Many were outraged, as I mentioned earlier, but there’s nothing they can do about it, but comply.

The way Promoted Posts work is quite simple – you choose the post you want to promote  and simply click on the ‘promote’ button under the post (next to the like, comment and share buttons):

A Comparison: Facebook Ads vs. Promoted Posts image facebook promoteA Comparison: Facebook Ads vs. Promoted Posts

After you’ve paid, your post will be labeled as sponsored instead of where it said “Promote”.

Unlike ads, when you select your budget, you can’t select the ‘daily’ option – just a “lifetime budget” (this doesn’t mean that your post will be up forever – you can choose the duration yourself). You can still choose to pay only a few dollars if you don’t have a lot of money to invest in advertising, but you should know that the more you pay, the more people you will reach. As soon as you set your budget you will know exactly how many people will be able to see your promoted post in their news feeds.

The audience that you will be able to reach will be much more limited than with Facebook ads from the start. You have only two options:

-       people who like your page and

-       people who like your page and their friends.

Recently, Facebook also announced some more changes in the design of their news feeds, and these changes make Promoted Posts even more appealing to businesses. As news feeds will be larger, with more text and larger photos, Promoted Posts will now occupy as much as one third of users’ news feeds, which makes them impossible to miss – unlike ads at times.

Let’s take a look now at the pros and cons of Promoted Posts:

A Comparison: Facebook Ads vs. Promoted Posts image Screen Shot 2013 03 18 at 12.46.09A Comparison: Facebook Ads vs. Promoted Posts

Again, the pros seem to outweigh the cons, which makes Promoted Posts great advertising options. However, they won’t work for all situations. They are great for those Facebook Pages that already have lots of likes.

Facebook Ads. Vs. Promoted Posts

Now that we’ve gone through both types of Facebook ads – which one is better? In which situations would each work best? Let’s look at the main differences between the two:

A Comparison: Facebook Ads vs. Promoted Posts image Screen Shot 2013 03 18 at 10.48.48A Comparison: Facebook Ads vs. Promoted Posts

Although they are both great advertising options, they have their downsides and there are situations in which they might not work. For example, if you don’t have lots of likes/followers, than you should opt for Facebook ads rather than Promoted Posts. Promoted Posts on the other hand are great for getting more engagement – because most of your followers will see the post, they are much more likely to like it, comment on it and share it.

So which one would you choose? Have you used any of Facebook’s two advertising options? Please let me know in the comments section, as I would love to hear about your experiences with Facebook advertising.

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