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Facebook Ads: The Pros & Cons

As organic reach declines, and ad options become more robust, more pressure is being put on brands to invest in paid content on Facebook. As with anything in life, there are positives and negatives to organic reach suffering and paid ads becoming necessary–and it’s complicated.

Lets take a look at some of the major pros and cons of advertising on the social network.

Average organic reach is down to 6.15%.

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— Due to both the decreased lifespan of a social post and the limits placed on visibility by Facebook’s algorithm, brand messages are seen by a maximum of 8% of a brand’s fan base (in the coming months, that number will be closer to 2%). Eeeek! No one wants to pay money for exposure they used to get for free.

Compared to traditional forms of advertising (television, print, etc.) Facebook advertising is extremely cost-effective. They have a minimum spend of just $1 per day and boast the lowest cost per 1,000 impressions in ad history (around $0.25 per 1,000 impressions… only 1% of TV ad cost).

+ Facebook is prioritizing personal news in users’ streams over click-inducing viral content or unpaid messages from brands with lots of fans. This might not seem like a win for brands, but it is: when users feel bombarded by advertisements, they are less likely to engage with them. By maintaining a pleasurable Facebook experience for users, Facebook is also maintaining a space for effective marketing, and that’s something that all brands can get behind.

Facebook has changed the way it structures ads.


Before Facebook introduced its new campaign structure – campaign, ad set, and ads – the levels of advertising were campaign and ad. What used to be “campaigns” are now “ad sets” (where advertisers control start/end dates and budget). Ads live within those ad sets (where advertisers define creative, target audiences, and select bidding).

— It’s a new system to learn. Figuring out the nuances of what each part does can be tricky.

Facebook’s system automatically optimizes for the highest performing ad variations, so advertisers can create multiple ads within each set to see what performs best. That puts a lot of new knowledge in your brand’s hands when figuring out what kind of content to create. 

Facebook has over 1.2 billion users. That’s almost 20% of the earth’s population.


— It’s challenging to reach the people who matter and/or are likely to heed your CTA.

There are several advanced targeting options that let brands reach the people who matter. If you want to reach your existing customers, setting up “Custom Audiences” allows you to target leads from your CRM database. “Partner Categories” lets you target based on a user’s purchasing history, even those users aren’t necessarily your existing customers. You can even take it a step further with “Lookalike Audiences” that let you find people similar to customers from your CRM data, website visitors, app users, and existing Facebook fans.

Facebook ad prices have increased.

— Spending more money.

+ Facebook said in Q3 that it would keep ad inventory level at about 5 percent of all posts in the News Feed, the most coveted space for advertisers. This means that brands are receiving fewer but higher value impressions, since Facebook has not increased the frequency of ads.

We want to know…

What are the pros and cons of Facebook’s new ad structure, in your opinion? How do they affect your brand and how your organization works! Let us know in the comments below!

Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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