Facebook Ads in 2017 – Are They Worth It?

Facebook advertising has been skyrocketing in use by small and big business, Mom and Pop shops, and for mobile gaming over the last 3 years, just to name a small few.  When I began as a Facebook marketer in 2013, it was an uncertain and new landscape. Understanding how they worked, getting a handle on their unique algos and CPMS/CPCS was not as straightforward as the tried and true Google methods of display advertising.  The possibilities of Facebook advertising were very enticing however. Reaching a Facebook user with a relevant ad, right on their homepage?  Many marketers were quick to say “Sign me up!”

Facebook ads in 2017Facebook’s advertising features, in those days, were somewhat cumbersome for those marketers. After all they were already knee deep in SEO, SEM, and Adwords. Facebook’s interface was unpolished and sparse in bidding options and optimization options. The tricky “Power Editor” was a bit much to learn for some.  In many cases, marketers then chose to turn to third party platforms like Nanigans and Qwaya to manage their campaigns. This gave those marketers an edge since the Facebook advertising landscape had a good deal of room.  Inventory and ad space was still somewhat plentiful, and these 3rd parties were able to keep CPMs at a rate lower than standard Google advertising in many cases.

As we know though, Facebook is always paying attention.  Always turning the knobs and dials to make things more convenient and easier.  So in the last 2 years Facebook has made their platform as easy to use, or even easier than most others. Some of those 3rd parties have had to pivot as a result.  Nanigans, who are still leaders in the Facebook ad arena, turned away from full service to an in house solution, as the need for a dedicated Facebook ad manager was seeing its sunset in the wake of Facebook’s improvements. Many marketers begun using Facebook ads themselves in house at a cheap and effective cost, along with organic strategies like page posts.  As a result, that spacious inventory and chances for ad exposure have become a crowded space.  Many marketers who haven’t yet used FB ads are wondering – how big is the tent? Is there still room and low enough acquisition costs to justify jumping into Facebook today?

According to the numbers…absolutely, providing that you’re offering engaging content.  If you’re running good ads, you will see CPCs and CPMs that justify your advertising expenses.  Of course, which types of ads you are running, desktop, News Feed, Mobile, as well as Geo, will all affect your cost.  But we all love a number we can put in our pocket for later reference.  So here’s that number:

In Q2 of 2016, Facebook CPC overall was $0.24

In 2015, Desktop CPMS were reported to be around $13, while mobile came in under $7.  This is because the use of Facebook on mobile dominates desktop.  More eyes, more ads.  Desktop is still very effective, but the ad options are still spread out. News Feed ads, righthand side ads? strategy and placement is essential.  On mobile, every ad appears in the timeline, filling up half the screen, so it stands to reason those ads are highly engaged, which drives down costs.  Desktop takes a little more cunning, but there are benefits to be reaped if you’re running engaging ads with eye-catching images, clear and short messaging, and a strong call to action.

So if you’re just beginning to think about Facebook advertising, there’s still plenty of room.  Especially on Facebook Retargeting, which third party sites like BigEngage make easier than Power Editor.  Just make sure you’re advertising smart and placing your ads in the right place to the right users.  Taking advantage of all of Facebook’s ad objectives, custom audiences, and audience insights, especially on desktop, will give you the exposure and low cost you’ve been hearing so much about.

 

Sources:

Adespresso 2016/Q2  Facebook Ads Report

Nanigan’s Facebook Advertising report for 2015

SalesForce Facebook Ads Benchmark Report