3 Reasons Not To Run Facebook Ads

By , Senior Account Manager, Training


Are you running Facebook Ads? Are you happy with your results? Do you struggle to measure their impact and return on investment?


A lot of advertisers are growing frustrated with their Facebook results due to a lack of an overall Facebook marketing strategy.


In this article, you’ll discover three reasons not to run Facebook Ads until you have some of the fundamentals of Facebook marketing in place.


1) If You Think Facebook Marketing And Facebook Advertising Are The Same


Many people often confuse advertising with marketing. While nuanced, advertising is just one component of marketing and should be a part of your comprehensive marketing strategy. With this in mind, let’s take a look at what the difference between marketing and advertising on Facebook entails.


What Is Facebook Marketing?


Marketing on Facebook has shifted over the last year as the social media giant makes a concerted effort to keep users on the platform longer with videos and instant articles.


A lot of businesses adapted their marketing strategy by posting more and various types of content. Remember, Facebook is a social media platform.


social media solving problems

Social media hype from the marketoonist.com


The goal for businesses is to build a basic marketing funnel by reaching people who matter the most, engaging with their community, driving traffic to their website and finding new customers.


In essence, this is marketing on Facebook. Businesses should develop a marketing strategy specifically designed for the platform and leverage the features it has to offer. One of the features is advertising.


What Is Facebook Advertising?


Facebook Ads should compliment your marketing strategy and not be your only form of marketing on the platform. You could pay for ads to amplify your marketing efforts like boosting a post or promoting a video.


If you’re not doing any of the above marketing tactics and just rely on Facebook Ads to move the needle then you’re at risk of wasting advertising dollars. Or at the very least, you’re not maximizing ROI from your advertising efforts.


Here are two questions to ask yourself:


  1. Do you have an engaged community on Facebook?
  2. Is your advertising an aspect of your marketing strategy?


If your answer is no to both of those questions then you’re probably frustrated with your Facebook results.


2) If You Don’t have a Facebook Strategy


Looking into the future, what are your business goals for being on Facebook? If you can’t answer then stop spending time and resources until you get this figured out.


What Is Your Content Marketing Strategy?


Who is going to post your content? What types of content? How often? These are important questions to ask yourself because having a blank timeline just won’t cut it.


You need to have a content strategy for engaging your community, attracting new customers and meeting your company goals. Facebook’s Newsfeed algorithm changes constantly and you need someone responsible for keeping up-to-date.


marketing resolutions

Marketing resolutions from marketoonist.com


What Is Your Customer Service Strategy?


Who’s going to reply to all those messages and comments? Whether through Facebook messenger or on posts, there needs to be someone dedicated to answering and interacting with people’s comments.


If you don’t have someone in place then I wouldn’t recommend Facebook advertising. Hold off or pause until there’s someone to respond to your community’s questions or comments. Not doing so, can be detrimental to your advertising results.


Here are two questions to ask yourself:


  1. What’s your Facebook content strategy?
  2. What’s your customer service strategy?


3) If You Can’t Properly Measure Your Facebook Advertising ROI


If your business has a Facebook marketing strategy in place with the right resources to achieve that purpose then you’re ahead of the game. The next step is understanding how to properly track and measure Facebook Advertising ROI.


marketing touchpoints

Marketing attribution from marketoonist.com


Are You Measuring At All?


If you’re wondering if Facebook is having a positive impact on your business then take some time to analyze the data. There’s no need to invest resources on Facebook if you’re not measuring the results. Consider tracking campaigns with a website analytics tool like Google Analytics.


Measuring Only The Short-Term Impact?


On social media channels you have to measure the long-term impact on your business. Dave Hanley of Deloitte Digital came up with a great social media ROI model allowing brands to establish a current value on their social assets.




Measuring All Channels The Same?


If you’re measuring every advertising channel with the same KPIs then you may be frustrated with your Facebook Ads performance.


As an advertiser, please stop expecting and measuring all channels to perform the same. I’ve worked with a lot of clients who expect Facebook to perform the exact same as their AdWords campaigns. That’s not realistic given the customer intent and customer expectation on each platform. The bottom-line measurement must be separated and have different benchmarks and KPIs.


Measure Channels Differently


The customer journey has changed. We now live in a multi-channel, multi-device world where last click measurement doesn’t cut it. When advertising on social media channels, businesses shouldn’t rely on last-click attribution as the only way to measure effectiveness. Rather, the entire path to purchase has to analyzed and each step given a value.


Attribution Models


Setup attribution models to develop a better way to measure the customer’s path to purchase taking into consideration when and where the channel is playing a role.


I’m not saying you need to be able to track a like on Facebook to a sale on your website. I am saying analyze the conversion funnel from different angles and understand how customers utilize various platform to inform their purchase decision.


Facebook Engagement Metrics


Lastly, Facebook provides many touch points to measure and analyze outside of just conversions. These should be considered and weighed into the value of your advertising. Things to consider measuring and tracking are post engagement, new fans, fan churn, reach, impressions, likes, comments, shares and ad recall lift.


Ad Recall Lift is the additional number of people Facebook estimates will remember seeing your ads if asked within 2 days. That’s a really important metric to measure as that will impact your brand affinity and brand loyalty.


Summary Checklist


Facebook is an excellent social media platform where smart businesses can find a lot of value.


In order to get the most value and maximize results from Facebook make sure your business is set up for success by having a Facebook marketing strategy outside of advertising, the right resources in place to interact with customers and the ability to track and measure results across the customer’s path to purchase.


You may get great results even if these tactics aren’t in place, but I suspect they could be better if they were.


When considering and analyzing your Facebook advertising efforts make sure you have answered these questions first.


  1. Does your company know the difference between advertising and marketing on Facebook?
  2. Do you have a Facebook marketing strategy outside of advertising?
  3. Do you have a Facebook advertising strategy that advances your marketing strategy?
  4. Do you have dedicated resources to implement and execute the strategy?
  5. Are you tracking and measuring your social ROI as well as your financial ROI?
  6. Are you independently measuring channels with different KPIs?
  7. Do you have a multi-channel attribution model in place?
  8. BONUS: How much is all this valuable information worth to your business?


I think what matters is focusing on the Facebook marketing fundamentals, and not trying to skip ahead without having the pieces in place. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Facebook marketing and advertising.

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5 thoughts on “3 Reasons Not To Run Facebook Ads

  1. Colleen McCaskell

    Great article, JD! Can you talk a bit more around the subject of different targets and KPIs for Facebook vs. other channels such as Adwords — both in terms of calculating these but also with respect to client buy-in? I find that some clients are quite firm on their CPA goals and want to over-emphasize last-click conversions which makes it difficult to properly show the full value of Facebook advertising.

    1. JD Prater

      Colleen – great questions! They’re deserving of a full blog post, but I’ll do my best to be succinct.

      A business can have an overall CPA goal that they track to. However, I think AdWords and Facebook perform differently as I suspect they would. With social media platforms like Facebook you have to take into consideration everything your ads did outside of last-click conversions. And you should get credit for all of it. Did they new traffic, did you get new fans, or what’s the value of this data worth? Check out Dave’s post on how Deloitte measures and weighs social assets as a long-term approach.

      We live in a world people visit websites from different channels and devices everyday. Last-click is only measuring the bottom of the funnel from one device doesn’t take into account the full role a channel plays across multiple devices. Facebook might be great at driving awareness for new customers through first-click, but then your Google Remarketing or Email gets all the credit for a conversion. Is that fair? We as advertisers have to push back and let clients know that social media ads have to measured differently to really understand their full value to a business.

  2. seocompanyinindore

    This is true! You have analysed the entire facebook ads draw backs and other aspects. Thanks for sharing this information here. You have discussion very important issues that people rarely talk about.


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