The Failures of Facebook Ads

Facebook AdsThe social media site Facebook is becoming best-known for the seemingly constant barrage of changes being made to the platform. Changes to reach, changes in algorithms, and – recently – changes to the Ads side of the site.

There are new choices and possible pitfalls in the revamped Facebook Ads set-up. Users can choose from new options as simple as getting more Page likes, Sponsored Stories are becoming a default, and there are more refined bidding options. These all seem like simple changes because they are, really.

Unfortunately, for Facebook Ads, the questions concerning it aren’t about how to use it, but if anyone should.

Many Advertisers Have Already Bailed

If you weren’t sure about Facebook Ads, then Ryan Holiday’s Forbes post on the subject likely won’t make you feel much better about the subject. Though the post is a bit old, it illuminates a variety of still-present problems in Facebook Ads. As Holiday notes, “People go to Facebook to interact with their friends.” There isn’t a lot of search happening at Facebook, nor is there a lot of clickable interest on ads placed there.

Most Facebook users simply look past the ads and move on to their friends’ posts, pages, and photos. There just isn’t the in-built interest that people have on other platforms, like Google, to search for something. Users get on Facebook to relax and catch-up with friends and family, not to see what new hot product is on the market.

The key to marketing through social media is to understand that the first word in it is “social.” People don’t want to be marketed to, so building a more human strategy is key.

Should We Give Up on Facebook?

Despite the potential in social media, there are those out there who are saying that it might be time for content marketers to simply give up on Facebook. Generally, these detractors are citing the site’s major flaw for content marketers: the fact that Facebook no longer shows your Page’s posts to everyone who Likes it. This tone of defeatism concerning Facebook and content marketing has turned a bit grim, to be honest.

Even Ryan Holiday’s post becomes a bit of a defeatist’s creed about the uselessness of Facebook as a marketing tool, then moving into the idea that Facebook is a Ponzi scheme, but I’m not so quick to throw out Facebook as something utterly unhelpful.

While Ads might not be a useful tool, I would argue that social media still is. The key might not be to spend on Ads, but to generate good content that gets shared through the Facebook community. Building better, more human social media content might be the key to building better content marketing.

What has been your experience with Facebook Ads?


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Michael is a graduate of New York University’s Film and Television program. He specialized in writing, channeling a passion for storytelling, no matter the medium. In addition to his work at CEM, Michael primarily works in web content production, including projects like Geek Crash Course, a geek-educational series, the Ansible, a comics-based interview show, live performance series The Next Lab Sessions, and many more. In addition, he’s written and edited for the digitally distributed Champion! Magazine.

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