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Facebook Ads and Inbound Marketing: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Flying Hippo

By Flying Hippo

Before you go to bed, while you’re waiting for the dentist, when you’re looking up reviews for that pizza place that just opened—they’re always there, whether you know it or not.

No, it’s not the NSA. Facebook ads are prowling, monitoring and keeping an eye on pages you visit and steering ads that likely relate to you and what you like. Every time you open Facebook and interact with a page, it keeps tabs on what you look at.

This makes it likely the most powerful advertising platform in the world, with more than 890 million daily active users. 

Used in conjunction with the power of inbound marketing, Facebook advertising opens the possibility of targeting your awesome content to an audience that’s ripe to be engaged. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work.

Should you use Facebook advertising as part of an inbound marketing strategy? Do Facebook ads and inbound marketing blend? Let’s take a look at both sides of the argument.

Yeah, You Should Use Facebook Ads

Facebook has an Incredible Reach — In the world, there are about 3 billion internet users, and 1.86 billion monthly active users as of December 31, 2016. If that’s not impressive to you, re-read that last sentence.

No billboard or commercial or flyer or brochure or ebook will ever reach that many people. In the world of marketing, it’s best to get people where they already are—and they’re on Facebook.

Word-of-Mouth has Power — Just because you see an advertisement, that doesn’t mean you’ll run out and buy whatever it is. But if someone recommends a movie, a product or a service, you’ll take it into close consideration, since you trust your buddy.

Facebook ads are often targeted around “recommendations,” where your friends’ likes appear as advertisements. This adds an element of word-of-mouth advertising to the mix that traditional advertising can’t touch.

It’s Targeted — Facebook advertising offers an extremely powerful benefit: targeting ads.

Let’s say you’re advertising rock climbing gear. With targeting, you can target your advertising to only appear on the timelines of people who list “rock climbing” as one of their interests, since there’s no point in attracting people who love competitive hot dog eating or bare-handed fishing.

You can use Facebook to parallel your inbound marketing personas as well. By targeting content specifically to your personas’ demographics (age, gender, interests, location and more), you’ll get more interested eyeballs on your awesome content.

It Integrates with HubSpot — HubSpot and Facebook advertising play well together. By installing a Facebook conversion tracking code on the HubSpot landing page or blog post you’re promoting on Facebook, you can know which Facebook ads are working or not right from your Hubspot dashboard.

No, You Shouldn’t

It’s a Slippery Slope — Facebook advertising is addictive. It’s a bit like a casino: drop your money in, pull the trigger and see what sticks. And the gratification is much more instant than a regular Facebook post.

You promote a post or pay for an advertisement, and it feels great. And the only way to get that same engagement is to keep on doing it. It’s a downward spiral that marketers need to learn to temper.

It can be Expensive — In tandem with this downward spiral of Facebook advertisements, Facebook ads can get costly.

If you want to play competitively in the world of Facebook ads, be prepared to spend some hefty change. Sure, you can promote a post for just $1, but it won’t go very far. For instance, Electronic Arts spent $2.75 million promoting just one game in 2012.

It’s very Top-of-the-Funnel — So you made the perfect targeted ad. It fits your persona perfectly, and it’s gotten some good engagement. The only problem: it’s all very top-of-the-funnel.

With Facebook advertising, you won’t get very many people who are ready to buy your product or service immediately. They’re there to learn about what it is you do. While advertisements or boosted posts on Facebook might be a good way to get a disengaged audience interested in you, they’re not going to close any sales immediately.

They can be Irrelevant — Looking through my Facebook timeline, I saw an ad for no-contract cellphones for seniors (Not my age bracket, sorry), another for waterpark vacations for families with kids (I don’t have any) and some other irrelevant stuff. Sounds like a waste of money for those companies!

Facebook ad targeting only works so well. (How those two things ended up in my newsfeed is anyone’s guess.) Inevitably, someone who is completely uninterested in your product will see it, and, since many Facebook ads are on a cost-per-impression basis, expect to pour some money down the drain.

Which wins?

If you’re considering using Facebook advertising as a part of a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy, there’s no obvious answer.

The effectiveness of Facebook advertising in inbound marketing depends on what your strategy’s overall goal is. If your goal is traffic, it might be effective. But if your goal is leads, it might not work as well.

When you enter an inbound marketing engagement with Flying Hippo, we’ll iron out your SMART Goal to figure out where your brand should be headed.

Oh, and while you’re here, follow us on Facebook.

Find out how Flying Hippo and inbound marketing can rock your brand!

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