Why Facebook Is Not A Viable Marketing Platform

SMS Text

Last week when I wrote about Facebook flyers and how the social network was going to rely on those to make money from Facebook Marketplace, Nate mentioned that Facebook marketing was useless because there was little to no conversion. Here we take a deeper look at Facebook as a marketing platform.
Lack of Focus
While I was researching what people were saying about marketing on Facebook, I came across a lot of negativity and a lot of people saying that it simply wasn’t worth it. As Nate mentioned, it is probably better to find a more focused niche that is more applicable to your content or services and try marketing there first. Not only will you face less competition but simply by virtue of it being a more focused niche, whatever conversion you do get will be much better. While Facebook started as a social network focused on college students, since then it has opened up to everyone and diluted the focus of the site.
Lack of Visibility
Furthermore, while some users praise Facebook flyers because they blend in with the rest of the Facebook interface and are not intrusive, others argue that this is precisely the reason why the click-through rates are so low. At the same time, these people welcome using pay-per-click marketing because that way, you only pay when someone notices and clicks on your advertisement (and not by impression, which is what Facebook does).
Not Compelling Enough
What really puts this into context is comparing what the users of the social network are there to do, and how compelling you can make your advertisement to them. For example, when the average Facebook user signs into the network, he wants to check out what his friends are up to, look at some pictures, maybe edit his own profile a little bit and so on, and in the midst of all this, the Facebook flyers are not customizable enough and as a result just don’t look compelling and don’t stand out enough to attract the attention of this user to really be useful.
What’s in the CPM?
When Facebook flyers first launched, they offered 10,000 impressions for $5, making the CPM $0.50 which was pretty much unheard of. Since then, they have changed the rates to offer 5,000 impressions for $10, making the CPM $2.00, increasing prices by 400%. And while the first CPM is incredible, and the second one isn’t too bad either, with the conversion rate hovering around nil, what’s in the CPM?
One thing to keep in mind is that much of what is discussed here is more relevant to people on a budget. Facebook doesn’t just rely on flyers for revenue and has other banner advertisements too (which cost much more). Flyers are for advertisers on a very small budget. Which is partly why though they continue to be ineffective people keep using them because what’s $5 to a bar in downtown Chicago that wants to advertise to students from surrounding colleges?
The Academic Approach
What I learned by researching what other people were saying, i.e. how ineffective marketing on Facebook is, was quite surprising for me. You might remember Fox Interactive’s study on social network’s and marketing which we covered some time ago which found the exact opposite results.
What it ultimately comes down to is the following things you should consider before you make the jump. Make sure you understand your own audience and compare it with the audience of a particular marketing platform (in our example, Facebook). And don’t be restricted by your budget and simply choose the cheapest option. Do some more research, look for highest conversion rates for the price and don’t discount pay-per-click and other similar models. Try a mix of different methods before you use one exclusively.

Download: Social Media Strategy
Where the rubber meets the road: A look at SEJ's own social media strategy.