Larry BraunerPlease prepare yourself for a small dose of cynicism. Last week, a Facebook sales rep tried to persuade me to buy ads to drive traffic to the Gevril page, in order to increase its number of fans. Neither the rep’s rational nor the outcome of our talk are important for now. However, I do wish to look at the implications of this one aspect of the Facebook business.

The Dark Side of Facebook Ads

FacebookYou pay Facebook to drive people from unspecified Facebook pages to your fan page, hoping that once there, they’ll “like” your Facebook page. You also hope that you’ll benefit from building a Facebook fan base.

When a member clicks on your ad link and then clicks your “like” button, that activity is called engagement. Naturally, the more Facebook engagement, the more lively and profitable the Facebook site is for its owner.

Consider this: When you advertise your fan page using Facebook ads, you’re paying for the privilege of increasing Facebook activity. You’ll even bid against other advertisers for that privilege. Is that totally ingenious or what?

Is it any wonder that Facebook makes it so challenging for us to use our personal profiles to conduct business or to organically grow our business pages?

What do you think?

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15 Responses to “Facebook Has Its Cake and Eats It”

  1. Eric on September 18th, 2011 11:21 pm

    I’m looking to do the same with my social network FreezeCrowd, which currently is a college student and alumni exclusive network. We will eventually have fan pages for businesses coming soon, so FB is not the only game in town. Nobody says you have to use them to collect your fans. Once a more ingenius concept comes out, hopefully you’ll be writing about it. You got a .edu email, then you can join FreezeCrowd’s public beta now.

  2. SpaceyG on September 19th, 2011 8:56 am

    The organically-built Facebook network… it’s not for sissies.

  3. Karla Campos on September 19th, 2011 10:19 am

    I have never used ads to drive traffic to my Facebook pages. To be honest as a Facebook user (not business related) I ignore the ads. I wonder how many other people are ignoring them as well. I think if Facebook would charge on a pay per like basis it would be more beneficial for business owners than pay per click which doesn’t guarantee a page like.

  4. Larry Brauner on September 19th, 2011 10:30 am

    My reaction, Karla, would be no different. Imaging charging fan page “owners” money to have members click on a button on their fan page. Cool scheme.

  5. Ernest ODell on September 19th, 2011 12:36 pm

    Methinks the only ones making money on the FB ads is der Zuckermeister and Company. As far as I’m concerned, I would rather grow my lists organically through articles, blogs and direct engagement. Paying for FB ads back to my fan page is a waste of money.

  6. Larry Brauner on September 19th, 2011 12:44 pm

    The sales rep practically cringed when I suggested I might want to use ads to direct traffic to my site.

  7. Larry Lewis on September 19th, 2011 1:49 pm

    I own a fitness gym, and on a weekly basis we get a phone call from people trying to sell us an advertisement on Facebook. It seems they will never take a no thank you for an answer.

  8. Eric Billoud on September 19th, 2011 3:33 pm

    Hi Larry, yes I do believe that Facebook is “drawing the blanket”. Sighting that they want to keep their original culture intact (i.e. people connecting with people they know) they make it harder and harder for you to use free facebook marketing techniques. In the end, savvy business owners will have to put a dollar value on their time to grow their business organically, and then compare the cost with facebook advertising, the next step is to compare the results and work out the ROI in both cases. This is normal, sound business marketing analysis.

  9. Larry Brauner on September 19th, 2011 4:33 pm

    I agree with you to a large extent Eric. However, there is an organic approach to growing a fan page without dawdling on Facebook.

    This approach is to build a web presence centered around one’s own web properties, and to let people like one’s Facebook page by means of conspicuously placed Facebook widgets.

  10. Diana Broomfield on September 19th, 2011 5:54 pm

    Larry I agree with the approach of building your web presence and adding a “like us on Facebook widget.” I added one a couple of months ago and I am finding that although I only have a couple hundred likes, the traffic to my website has significantly increased. I do, however, also have a fan page on Facebook. I have never paid for advertising on Facebook.

  11. keisha on September 21st, 2011 8:08 pm

    Yes I can see your point Larry. That’s why I’m not so keen on using my Facebook…

  12. Mae Loraine Jacobs  on September 29th, 2011 8:00 pm

    I don’t put a lot of worth on business owners telling people to “like their page.” It’s so easy for a lot of Facebook users to do that, but the point is, do they really understand the brand? Are they really interested in it? Sometimes Facebook ad owners are simply concerned about having the most number of “fans” on their pages! I doubt if they have high conversion rates.

  13. Dawn on November 16th, 2011 5:10 pm

    I have been blogging since 2007 and I just started using Facebook for business this year. I honestly am not worried about how many likes I have. I would rather people like my business page because they like it or they like my blog not really because I asked them to like it. As for the Ads, I was offered $50 free in ads but I have not used it. Not really sure that I would advertise on Facebook but that is just me. As Karla stated, I ignore the ads myself. I have a business page I update but otherwise I use Facebook as a “retreat” to play games when I am ready for a break.

  14. Kishna on November 24th, 2011 4:19 am

    Well, Mark Zuckerberg, in my opinion is like Bill Gates. If you watched the documentary movie “The Pirates of the Silicon Valley” which is all about the beginnings of personal computer and its program. Bill Gates pretend to be an interested client of Steve Jobs just to have a clue of what new product is Steve working on. Just like Gates, Mark use businesses to offer advertisement to them, not knowing that facebook is just using them to drive more traffic to their site not to the page they advertise. Well, that’s how worst they think just to earn money.
    Also, people do not use facebook to buy things rather it is a socializing network where people pay least attention to business and purchases

  15. Kelly on February 9th, 2012 3:25 am

    Well, that’s how they get their money. But for me, investing in Facebook ads isn’t the best thing to do.

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