Facebook Advertising and the Blue Button

Last week, I left my office in Belfast for the familiar streets of Dublin city to attend a digital event hosted by one of my favourite Irish digital publications, maven46. Having spent years working in content for fashion, retail and being a fan of all the beautiful things, it was inevitable that I’d end up at one of their events.

While most of the event focused around content (one of my favourite topics to ramble about) with Jennie McGinn of OPSH and Prowlster, influencer marketing (one of my favourite topics to complain about) with Lynn Hunter of Hunter Communications there was an entertaining section on social by Cian Corbett from Leading Social. One thing that Cian said has stuck in my head for the last few days and compelled me to bash out this blog post. He likened Facebook to a drug dealer pushing the blue boost button and enticing you to spend, spend, spend. I couldn’t agree more. Avoid the blue button.

I have always loved advertising, from the mind-boggling (NSFW by the by unless you work in a hella dodgy place), racist and sexist adverts of years gone past to the more sophisticated (read: sneaky) methods we have at our finger tips today. A massive Mad Men fan, when I got my first job in an agency after years working client-side, I was expecting an environment that was super cool with glasses of whiskey on a Friday but what I discovered was inadvisable amounts of coffee and the occasional (read: regular) freak out with bouts of swearing. Usually from me. While wearing leggings.

There’s a lot of confusion around social media advertising, from costs to types of ads and what’s the story with the ever-declining organic reach? Recently while out meeting with a potential client, I was asked if I ‘knew about boosting posts.’ This client conversation is instantly what came to mind when the topic of the blue button was broached at Thursday’s event.

While boosting posts from a Facebook page is a quick and simple option for people first getting to grips with the world of digital advertising, there are far more effective ways to advertise on Facebook and better ways to use the budget that you have, be it thousands or just a couple of euro here and there.

The problem with hitting that appealing blue button that promises to fulfil all your advertising dreams is that it can be a bit ‘one-size-fits-all’ which most of us know, doesn’t always fit you. Hit the blue button and you’re offered basic audience options, most people will go for the ‘target friends of my followers‘ (sure, it’ll be grand) option if they don’t know how to go about effective targeting, defining your audience and finding the types of people you’re really trying to reach. You’re likely to end up shoving your ad in the faces of your followers’ friends who have no interest in you, your brand or what you have to say. Will they engage with your post? Probably not. Will they follow your page? No, because you’re annoying them. Will they click through to your website? Hell no.

Creating ad campaigns and adverts from Facebook’s Adverts Manager or Power Editor allows you to have much more control over what you’re doing. Really think about your objectives; are you trying to increase the number of page likes or get people to engage with a post to boost brand awareness? Do you want to drive new traffic to your website or generate leads and build up a healthy email database so you can push out more of your lovely content?  Depending on your overall aim, there are plenty of different Facebook ad types and formats to choose from to get you there.

When you set up a campaign through Adverts Manager, you can be very accurate with your audience and target the types of customers you want based on age, gender, location, interests, their email address, pages they follow and a whole list of other choices. Facebook is watching and it’s all delightfully creepy. There is literally a world of data that you can tap into and use to your advantage. Mr. Blue Button can’t do that. Create your adverts, set up your budget and customise how much you want to spend per bid (per click, per lead, per like etc.).

In terms of ad formats, when you say goodbye to your old friend the blue button, you open your brand up to much more options. Test out how different ads perform, try using dark posts to see what works. Dark posts are posts that only appear to the people you target in your audience and not organically on your timeline. This allows you to see what your followers engage with, without having to stick it on your timeline.

Canvas is one of the formats that I love and when I’m targeted with one I will always engage. A Facebook canvas allows you to house content in a magazine-style format on the timeline of your audience and is only visible on mobile. You can include video, imagery and text with click through to websites etc. All while staying within Facebook’s own platform. They are magic.

Simply promoting a post to encourage engagement with your content ensures you can increase the visibility and you only pay when a user interacts with it, and not when they see it.

With the steep decline in organic reach, being able to correctly promote your brand and your page is so important to achieving your goals. Organic reach has declined because there’s just so much content out there and you’re just one fish jostling in amongst the sharks to be seen. It’s a dog eat dog world out there. Now when you post something, the likelihood is that less than 6% of your audience will see it organically and for pages with over 500,000 followers it’s now at 2% – what? This makes a strong advertising strategy so important when it comes to working with social media and standing out from the crowd.


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