Advertising On Facebook Is Cheap… Or Is It Really?

In a world where every business is vying for more exposure for their brand identity, social media presence is king. I mean, why not? Practically a-third of the world’s population is on Facebook. It’s literally unheard of in any other media. If you’re already budgeted for advertising, wouldn’t you want to host it on a media with the maximum population? With potentially the largest number of eyeballs gazing upon your advertisements?

Infographic: Facebook Keeps On Growing | Statista
You will find more infographics at Statista

What’s Advertising All About Anyway?

If you were to break it down to its basic components, advertising is basically just a soapbox. A soapbox for you (business or personal) to express your message. And more often than not, advertising messages are pretty simple. They usually consist of introduction to products, brand identity, or simply to convey “Buy Me!”

There’re just two components to an advertisement – a message, and a space to hold the said message. The message is basically what you want to convey across to your audience. And the space to hold this message is known colloquially in the advertising industry as media space.

So where do you go when you want to advertise your products or services? Advertising agencies, that’s where. They help you beautify your message, and also find you a suitable media space to host it too.

Advertising Is Basically A Numbers Game

No… Not that numbers… Image by GregMontani, Pixabay.

The most effective way to introduce one’s brand is to simply blast your message out to as many people as possible. After all, if the efficiency rate is 50% of the audience reached, you’d want your message to reach 200% of the audience, in order to get 100% efficiency, right?…

Yes, that numbers.. How much is your market share, and how invested are you in your market. Basically, how much influence you have on the market – Image designed by yanalya / freepik.com

The truth is that it’s not really that simple. At least not anymore. Perhaps this would be the case back in the early 19th century, when newspapers became mainstream. Slot your message between the pages of the newspapers, and more people will be exposed to it. When more people started buying and reading newspapers, exposure to your message also increased too. With the over saturation of senses, the audience is, slowly but surely, developing a blindness to selective message exposure. To put it bluntly, the “50% efficiency” rule no longer holds true, but I digress…

“All Hail King Facebook, Emperor Of Social Media, And Master Of Cyberspace”

Nobody can beat Facebook when it comes to pure numbers. It’s the largest social media platform in number of members (i.e. permanent audience). It’s also the largest media the modern world has ever known. Probably surpassing the total number of readership of all the major newspapers combined (don’t quote me on this though). If you host your advertisements on Facebook, it’s gonna be like “maximum reach, maximum effect”. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to want to advertise on Facebook. After all, you capture the biggest number of eyeballs gazing upon your ads on Facebook.

“All Hail King Facebook… Emperor of Social Media, and Master of Cyberspace…” Of course the copyright of the Facebook logo belongs to Facebook themselves. We merely borrowed it for dramatic effects only.

Plus, it costs less, waaaaaay less than what you’d have to pay to advertise on other media. It doesn’t matter whether printed media, like newspapers, billboards, etc., or electronic media, like television or radio. There’s just no comparison when it comes to the price difference.

Then, there’s also the full control of what you want to share on the advertisements too. I mean, why relinquish all creative controls to some unknown designers and directors? They probably don’t even know your products or services as well as you do, right?…

And if you know how to play your cards right, you can even advertise on Facebook absolutely free!… Yeah, you heard me right… FREE!… All you need to do is to create your own Facebook page. And start posting all of your advertising messages there, completely free, and completely in control

Facebook Sounds Too Good To Be True… Is There A Catch Somewhere?…

You know the saying, if it sounds too good to be true, it most certainly is… On the surface, everything does sound pretty legitimate. But once you start digging into the nitty-gritty details, you’ll soon find out all that glitters is not gold.

No, not that one… That one really is gold…

Yes, Facebook does indeed have the numbers. Just look at the chart at the top of this page. That’s all true, and it’s always growing. But the inconvenient truth is that you can never reach out to all of them. Your posts (by extension, your advertising messages) can only reach out to a limited number of people. The people who liked your page, and are following your updates… Yup!… That’s all of ’em…

If you pay to subscribe to one of their many advertising plans, the number of people reached is clearly displayed. Yup… That’s the pathetic number of people that you’ll reach… And that’s not the worst news either. The people reached (yes living and breathing human beings) are not necessarily your target demographics… Let me rephrase that – the people reached are most likely not your target demographics.

Actual screen grab from Solarex Imaging’s Facebook page.

And if you opt for self management (the free package), good luck to you then… Your reach goes only as far as the number of people who “liked” your page. You may wanna work extra hard to get more people to like your page first…

But The Biggest Catch Of All…

The biggest unmentioned condition when choosing to advertise with Facebook is this – you only get to use the media space. That’s industry-speak for purchasing the empty space to hold your advertising message. You still need to design your own message to put in there. Otherwise, it’s as good as paying money for an empty media space, and then display nothing there…

Sorry to burst your bubble after having read through all of the above. You still need to have a message to convey across. It makes no sense to advertise nothing… It doesn’t matter whether you choose to self manage, or pay Facebook to help spread out your message … And no, Facebook doesn’t provide that service for you…

Advertising is broken into two equally important parts – content creation and platform hosting. And Facebook (in fact, all other media platforms too) don’t do content creation. You’re gonna have to do that yourself, or engage an agency to do that for you.

Your Take Away From This Tear Jerking Story Is This…

That’s right, things aren’t exactly what it seems… What did you expect when you chose a “free” option?… Image by Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay.

Before you even think about where you wanna host your message, you first need a story… A story to tell your audience, a story to convey to your target demographics. And before you jump the gun again, no, and advertising agencies can’t do that for you… I mean, yes, they can write a story, but they can’t write your story. Only you truly understand your own story, and know exactly what and how you want others to know about your story too.

Just like your brand identity. It has to come from within. You can hire a brand consultant to help you find and develop your brand identity, but you can’t outsource it completely. It has to come from within yourself. And don’t believe it for a second when an agency, any agency, claims that they can do it for you.

So in conclusion, yes, advertising on Facebook is cheap (or even free). But no, it’s really of no use to you. At least not in the way that you’re expecting it to. It’s good to be active socially, and let people know that your business exist, and is active. Just don’t expect it to be able to tell your story, or to help you spread your brand identity.

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