Facebook Page Likes in a Pay to Play World
At Trusted Conf. we talked about Facebook Page Likes in a Pay to Play World, with Miroslav Chodak, SEO Specialist.
View the slides below to get the full insights into Facebook page likes:
Facebook Page Likes in a Pay to Play World
First, let’s learn a little about Miroslav:
- 1992 – 1993
M.Sc. Environmental Sciences
M.Sc. Environmental Management
- 1998 – 2004
Project Manager / Director
International non-governmental organisation
- 1998 – present
Consultant / Owner / CEO / Chairman
SEO, PPC, CRO, email, social media, content, etc.
I have been involved with pretty much all aspects of digital marketing for over 20 years, now. But, what most of you don’t know about me is that I have 2 Master degrees, both related to environmental protection and that I have spent almost 10 years working for an international non-governmental organisation helping governments in Central and Eastern Europe align their environmental policies with those of the European Union.
While I’m with IMWT in the position of an SEO specialist, I have chosen a theme that I hope most of you will be able to relate to in one way or another: social media marketing… and Facebook marketing in particular. Specifically, we will look into Facebook page likes, what role they play in today’s world and how much they are worth, if anything.
I divided my presentation into 3 parts:
- In the first part, we will review the position and role of Facebook in today’s digital world or marketing.
- Then, I will discuss the value of page likes in today’s conditions.
- Finally, I will touch on the cost of page likes and how to scale them, effectively.
All of this will be supported by actual data from real-life case studies.
First, let’s look at the bigger picture.
Social media plays a huge role in the life of everyday consumers and Facebook is the largest one of them all, by far.
This chart shows the global active usage penetration as of February 2019. As you can see, an estimated 64% of all Internet users are on Facebook.
If that is not enough, notice that Facebook owns the top 4 most popular platforms, including WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram.
Despite the latest trends among especially young people who prefer other platforms, Facebook is almost in a monopoly position, when it comes to social media.
And, despite everything, it continues to grow, hitting 2.41 billion active monthly users in Q2 2019. Clearly, peer pressure and how Facebook is setup, is what’s driving this growth.
But even faster growth is in Facebook’s revenue and income. Emerging as the “other huge advertising platform” next to Google ads, Facebook is now harvesting huge profits from its monopoly position. The growth, as visible in this chart, is nothing short of staggering. What other business do you know that is consistently growing by 40% year-on-year in terms of revenue AND has 40% net profit margins?
But all of this is at the expense of businesses, who now have to contend with the fact that their organic reach is short of non-existent and, if they want to reach Facebook’s vast audiences, they have no other choice than to pay Facebook fat advertising fees.
Conclusion: We live in a pay-to-play world.
Are Facebook Page Likes Worth Anything?
So, naturally, a question arises, especially in the minds of those who own Facebook pages with large followings: are Facebook page likes worth anything, if we cannot reach most of our followers organically?
Value of Facebook Page Likes
In the presentation that follows, I’m going to show you results from Facebook ad campaigns, I have performed for my longest-term client and a very good friend of mine, Jeff Bullas.
Jeffbullas.com is a blog about digital marketing that gets about 4-5 million unique visitors per year and has around 1 million followers across its social media accounts, email list and Messenger subscribers.
One way Jeff makes money, other than via speaking assignments and affiliate programs, is by selling influencer services to mostly B2B companies, who want to get in front of Jeff’s audience.
One such campaign was done for Podium, which sells a solution to help local businesses manage their online review generating processes.
This campaign also shows what a typical B2B influencer campaign looks like:
We would write and publish a set of content pieces, in this case: one blog post, one downloadable ebook and one influencer video. We would promote those pieces of content on Jeff’s social media accounts, to his email list, Messenger subscriber list, and via Facebook ads.
Let’s look closer at the Facebook ads because there were definitely some surprises waiting for us!
We ran a total of 72 ad variations split into 6 ad sets by audience and device.
In terms of audiences we were advertising to:
- Jeff’s website visitors (e.g. everybody who visited jeffbullas.com in the past x days and was pixeled),
- Small business owners in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, and
- People who liked Jeff’s Facebook page
We further split each audience by device into desktop and mobile.
And, we ran 12 identical ad variations, which were a combination of 3 visuals (static image, square video and tall video) and 4 copy lengths (no copy, short copy, medium copy and long copy).
After having spent $20 per day per ad set for roughly 2.5 days, we turned off all desktop ad sets and all non-performing ads in the remaining sets, and ran whatever was left for another 4 days or so.
By far, the best performing ad sets were Smallbiz and Likes on mobile devices.
Surprisingly, the worst-performing (also by far) was Smallbiz on desktop devices. However, we turned this ad set off before we collected a sufficient amount of data, so I will exclude this ad set from my conclusions.
Even then, however, and based on this limited and non-scientific set of data, we can say that Page Likes are by far the most valuable type of audience to advertise to on Facebook.
They are roughly 3-9 times more valuable in terms of CPM and 2-8 times more valuable in terms of CPC.
Cost of Facebook Page Likes
Here, again, I will rely on data from actual campaigns, because as soon as we realised the value of page likes, Jeff’s next request was: “I want a million likes!” and tasked me with finding the cheapest way to acquire them. Obviously, we needed actual people who can be engaged in Jeff’s influencer campaigns and we also didn’t want to get banned for breaking Facebook rules. So, buying Facebook likes was not going to cut it (and would be downright idiotic).
The approach we settled on was a Facebook ad campaign aimed at gaining Page Likes (objective). This means that each ad would have the “Like” button as its call to action.
In terms of creative, we exclusively used motivational quotes, which experts suggested because they tend to generate good engagement.
Over the course of several weeks, we tested different quotes (copy), different colours, different ad sizes, mobile vs desktop, and we also tested how different days or campaign durations affect the cost-per-like.
As expected, the initial cost-per-like was the lowest at the beginning and slowly increased over the course of the week. The total increase was 24%.
Interestingly, even the lowest cost was almost 10% higher than the average we got from the same ad during the previous test.
This made us think of testing restarting vs duplicating the campaign to see if Facebook adjusts the prices based on whether the campaign is continued or new.
In the first test, we left the campaign inactive for about a week and then simply restarted it (no Facebook approval was needed, as we didn’t make any changes to the ads). The average cost-per-like was almost 22% higher than 2 weeks before.
In the other test, we duplicated the campaign, which already required Facebook approval (it seems Facebook “forgets” everything about duplicated campaigns and treats them as fresh ones). Our average cost per like was now 30% lower than what we got from the restarted campaign, and lower than the original test!