February 17, 2017

The Right way to use Facebook Advertising (and what to avoid!)


Remember the ‘good old days’ on Facebook when they just started having business pages on the platform?

You would post an update on your Facebook page with a website link, most of your page followers would see it in their timeline and some would click through.

It was an easy way to generate traffic and it was free!

Those were the days….

And then, in November 2014, Facebook made an announcement that they will start restricting “organic reach” for Facebook pages.

Many business owners didn’t quite understand what that meant to them in practical terms but they soon found out the hard way.

Facebook Organic Reach 2015

Just so that you are clear on the terminology: “organic reach” means what percentage of your page followers see your post on average without you paying Facebook (i.e. FREE traffic).

Basically what this graph shows is that 98-99% of your page followers will not see your posts in their timeline unless you pay Facebook.

And this not even something new!
It was simply the acceleration of a trend that started back in 2013:

Facebook Organic reach is declining

Officially, Facebook said that they are forced to restrict organic reach for pages in order to not overwhelm users with content in their timeline and also so that they don’t see too many ‘salesy’ posts in their timeline (because this was the majority of posts for most Facebook pages).

While that may be the official ‘company line’ from Facebook, this was also very good for their bottom line and the hip pockets of their shareholders as you can see in the graph below:

Declining Organic Reach versus Facebook Share Price

At this stage you may say:

“Facebook is a waste of time. I’m just not going to bother with this platform anymore”

And while that may be totally understandable why you would choose to say that, doing so will be a grave mistake.

Abandoning Facebook altogether is not the correct move to make.


you should simply change your mindset about Facebook:

You should not look at Facebook as a social media platform and a source of free traffic but instead consider it a platform for paid advertising like Google AdWords or even newspaper or TV.

When you look at Facebook as a platform for paid advertising, its benefits become very apparent!

CPM Facebook versus other advertising platforms

Cost of website clicks on Facebook

Driving traffic to your website from Facebook can still be dirt cheap!

Facebook Monthly Active Users

No website on the Internet has more traffic than Facebook and it’s still growing!

For businesses Facebook is a great advertising platform because it offers extremely cheap access to highly targeted and well-qualified prospects.

And that’s the ONLY way you should be looking at Facebook as a business owner and marketer!

Also keep in mind that while Facebook advertising is still quite cheap, it will not remain so for much longer as discussed in this great video by the maverick ‘serial entrepreneur’ Gary Vaynerchuk.


The opportunity to reach your ideal prospects on the cheap will not be available for much longer.

Therefore, if you want to leverage Facebook advertising to grow your business, you better get a move on.


There are right and wrong ways to advertise on Facebook!

The right way to use Facebook Advertising


Let’s start with:

The wrong way to advertise on Facebook

Paying to get more followers for your page (a.k.a ‘buying likes)

Doing so has little to no business value or direct R.O.I and can actually hurt you as this video demonstrates.

Relying solely on Interest-based targeting.

Here is what I mean by that:

facebook interest targeting

Here is why targeting based on interests can be problematic: 

  1. People might like a page to enter some contest or to win a prize and not because they are genuinely interested in the topic or brand.
  2. The page whose followers you are targeting bought fake likes from ‘click farms’ to quickly and artificially boost their fan numbers. These people can’t tell this page from a bar of soap or might not even be real people at all! (bots/fake accounts).
  3. The page whose followers you are targeting ran a poorly targeted paid likes campaign within Facebook and got low quality followers.
  4. Facebook may have deduced the wrong general interests about someone based on the pages they liked (e.g. they liked the McDonald’s page to enter a draw so Facebook now thinks they like junk food or meat but they are actually a vegetarian health coach… 😉 )

The Right way to advertise on Facebook:

You only target people that either visited your website within a certain amount of time or subscribed to your email list

The benefits of this approach are:

  1. No more guesswork and inaccurate targeting: you know FOR A FACT that these people have expressed interest in your business.
  2. Lower your advertising costs.’
  3. Increase your ‘conversions’ which is the Internet marketing jargon for the desired actions you wish people to take (e.g sign up to your email list, make a purchase, make an enquiry, download a sales brochure etc.)
  4. ‘Stalk’ and nurture people who might be interested in your offer/product/service but are not quite ready to buy.

Targeting visitors to your website using the Facebook pixel

The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code you get from Facebook and Install on your website.

It looks like this:

Facebook pixel code example

Once it’s installed, it’ll track all visitors to your website and link them to their Facebook account if they are logged in to Facebook on their computers or mobile devices (either through the Facebook app or in the mobile browser).

The Facebook Pixel you install on your website will ‘tag’ them to indicate they have visited your website as well as keep track of the specific pages they have been on.

This is probably the only type of ‘stalking’ you can do that’s legal and will not get you in trouble… 😉

It is also the KEY to the effective use of Facebook as a business tool!

Once you have the Facebook Pixel installed, you can start building custom audiences from your website visitors within your Facebook advertising account.

Website visitors custom audience for Facebook Advertising

Don’t you think targeting these people is a lot more valuable (and will yield better results) than targeting random Facebook users based on what Facebook may think they are interested in?

Targeting your email subscribers and existing customers for which you have a phone number

This is known as the customer list custom audience and here is how it works:

Do you have an email database or a list of phone numbers of your customers and prospects?

Did you know you can upload it to Facebook?

If they’ve used the same email address for their Facebook account or gave Facebook their mobile number for some reason (e.g. receive login security codes via SMS or to be found on Facebook messenger), Facebook will match them to their Facebook account.

You can now advertise to these people regardless if they are already fans of your Facebook page or not!

Customer List custom audience for Facebook Advertising

Throw in a little ‘Facebook Magic’ – The ‘Lookalike’ Audience

You already used Facebook to create custom audiences from people who visited your website as well as from your customers’ emails and phone numbers.

Now you tell Facebook:

“Go and find me more people who are almost exactly like these ones”.

(hence: “Look-a-like”).

All you need is at least 100 people in your custom audience from a single country (any country!) and Facebook will deliver a lookalike audience within 24 hours at most!

Facebook lookalike audience

Do you understand now why Facebook advertising can be so effective and worthwhile for your business regardless of its size or what industry you’re in?

However, it will only work if you use Facebook’s advertising platform the right way and leverage in full the advanced targeting capabilities it offers.

Would like me to help you with your Facebook advertising?


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