Organic vs Paid FB Advertising
All modern businesses and brands make social media advertising an essential part of their digital marketing strategy. However, much like with all other digital marketing solutions, this brings its own challenge. Social media networks are constantly growing and evolving, so it can be difficult to keep up with all the trends and changes that involves. One of the first decisions that a business needs to consider is how organic FB advertising compares vs. paid FB advertising. Both options have their upsides and downsides that can influence your overall social media marketing. In this article, we take a look at:
- what each of these two Facebook advertising options represents;
- when you should use them and when you shouldn’t;
- their pros and cons;
- trending tactics for implementing them;
- how to combine them.
The influence of Facebook advertising in today’s market
Popular research shows that Facebook has become a dominant social media network and the #1 social media influencer for all purchases. That fact alone puts on the priority list for experienced digital marketing agencies when creating advertising plans and strategies for their clients. In fact, research confirms some of the following data:
- Of all the people on the internet, 83% of women & 75% of men use Facebook.
- Seven out of ten adults in the US own and use Facebook accounts.
- 96% of Facebook users accessed via mobile devices.
- 93% of marketers use Facebook advertising regularly.
- Facebook’s share in the global digital advertising market is 19.7%.
And these are just some of the countless Facebook stats and trends that demonstrate the influence it has on a national and global scale. Therefore, the matter of advertising on Facebook is a necessity for any modern0day business rather than a choice. The only choice a company should concern itself with is finding the best combination between paid and organic FB advertising.
Defining paid vs. organic social media
To begin with, let’s define both paid social advertising and organic social advertising. The difference between the two is simple as well as the goal for each of them:
- Organic social posts are free and will show up in the feeds of people that follow you. These are posts that are present on your company’s profile page at all times and visible to your target audience without any additional promotion. Your profile followers might be able to see your new posts on their news feeds, but research shows that organic exposure is directly limited to the behavior and preferences of users. In the case of Facebook, an average of 2% of followers are actually exposed to your organic posts.
- Paid social posts cost money and will show up in the feeds of whichever audience you decide to target. Usually identified with the “Sponsored/Promoted” tag next to it, paid social media is directly linked to the amount of money you invest in it. These are usually boosted posts or paid social media ads that can target users based on a variety of factors (demographics, age, gender, interests, etc.)
Why does a business need both?
If a company wants to create a social media advertising strategy that is balanced and covers all bases, it has to find an optimal way to combine organic and paid social media advertising. Otherwise, that business risks losing an entire target group of potential customers. On the other hand, having a holistic approach has a widespread effect on your marketing efforts. While organic FB advertising can help establish your online presence and brand, a paid FB advertising approach can boost your lead generation and raise brand awareness to targeted audiences.
- A typical example of combining the two approaches can be found in creating an organic post, and then “boosting” its promotion so that more people can see it and engage with it.
The power of organic Facebook advertising
The term “organic” easily translates to unpaid in the digital world. Hence, anything you post on Facebook without paying for it makes it organic. Whether we are talking about photos, quotes, random thoughts, shares from other accounts, or links to your landing pages or relevant blog posts – they are all organic so long as you don’t pay anything to post them or boost them. The best chance for organic posts to overcome paid ones is for them to go viral, which is a rare occurrence.
Reasons to use them
Organic FB advertising provides clear and regular interactions with followers. A company would usually use them to share photos for products/services, ask and answer questions, share interesting trivia about company history or the brand itself, etc.
When not to use them
When you are looking to peak the interest of followers with the launch of a new product, promotional sale, marketing campaign, company news, etc. All these scenarios require as many people as possible to witness them online, which is a reason more to ensure that happens by paying extra.
The power of paid Facebook advertising
With paid posts on Facebook, you have two tactics that you can use – paid ads or boosted ads. We already mentioned the use of “ad boosts“, when we touched on how to combine organic and paid FB advertising. It comes down to paying Facebook to make your organic ad more visible to your target audience. This is a practical approach when you have an established following and are looking to ensure that they are up-to-date with all the new posts you have.
On the other hand, we have tailored ads that you can create and monitor through the Facebook Ads Manager. Here, you can invest resources to make sure that users who might not see your ad otherwise will definitely see it. It is a very effective way to get your message across to target groups of followers.
Reasons to use them
Paid FB advertising offers you a way to create separate ads to tailor to the needs of specific groups of Facebook users. You can categorize them by demographics, gender, age, search history, etc. – and create separate ads that focus on each group, to ensure higher performance and engagement with your business via Facebook.
When not to use them
When you are simply looking for a way to maintain your already established social media presence and brand awareness. Facebook will always invite you to invest in paid ads to make more sales, but after a while – your brand will gain enough strength to stand on its own with the organic posts it offers.
The pros and cons of organic and paid FB advertising
As we touched on at the start of this article, both of these options have their advantages and disadvantages worth considering.
Pros of organic Facebook marketing:
- Building brand awareness becomes easier. You need to expand your target audience to boost your brand awareness. By producing organic posts on Facebook, you gain more followers that expect a steady stream of content. This stream of content adds new layers to your brand, making the social media community more aware of it.
- The daily presence of your business becomes stronger. When you have a regular posting schedule, chances are higher for your posts to appear in the Facebook newsfeed for your followers. This serves as a constant reminder to Facebook users that your company exists and is constantly active.
- It solidifies the impact a company has on Facebook. With the growing influence of social media, it’s common for users that find businesses through search results or other advertising channels to connect with them through social media. That is why having organic FB advertising is so important – to give outside leads the opportunity to learn more about your brand.
- It helps cover the spaces between paid ads. It’s only logical for a business not to waste resources on paying to advertise any given thought or image on Facebook. But it is also important for a company to keep followers up-to-date when it comes to their activities and news in-between paid FB ads. And so, a business can use organic FB posts to keep customers in the loop about new articles on their website, changes made to products, upcoming promotions & events, etc.
- It offers engagement with customers. Unlike your paid ads on Facebook, people can relate to organic posts. Followers can comment on your posts, engaging with your company. You can use this opportunity to connect with customer by replying to comments, starting conversations, and demonstrating to other followers that you care about their opinion and conveying trust in the process.
Cons of organic Facebook marketing
- Requires users to become followers to stay informed. Facebook users are less likely to see all the organic posts you publish if they do not follow your company profile. And even then, they need to show constant interest in your content in order for it to show up regularly in their news feed. With Facebook’s algorithm constantly changing, appearing in users’ feeds will become more and more challenging in time.
- No way to segment audiences through organic posts. Your organic posts can’t be visible only to a filtered audience – it is visible to everyone. You’d have to formulate your content to address a specific type of audience, which opens up more risks than benefits.
Pros of paid Facebook advertising
- Wide variety of paid ad formats. Facebook offers a plethora of advertising solutions depending on the specific needs of a business or niche when you use the Facebook Ads Manager. Whether you want to promote a product with a tutorial video or help users explore one of your services through an Instant Experience post, paid FB advertising can accommodate all of it.
- Multiple options for targeting users. Unlike Organic FB advertising, Paid FB advertising offers a way to categorize your marketing efforts to separate audiences. You can create tailored ads to target audiences based on different criteria, making it easier to identify your audience, which ads work best, etc.
- Cost-effective for driving leads and conversions. With paid Facebook marketing, you have complete control of your daily and overall budget, making it easier to manage your sales process. You don’t have to worry about overspending on generating new leads or converting them into customers.
- Offers a higher chance of increasing revenue. One of the benefits of paid social media advertising is that it can directly influence your annual revenue. Much like PPC advertising, you gain value for the amount of money you invest instantly and don’t have to wait for long-term results like with SEO and organic social media advertising.
Cons of paid Facebook advertising
- Analytics is an essential part of the process and it takes time. We recently wrote an article on how to measure the success of your digital marketing strategy and why it is so important to have this data. Paid FB ads are like all other marketing campaigns – you need to monitor and analyze them, improving them over time to avoid wasting resources.
- There is plenty of ways to waste your advertising budget. If a business has no prior experience with paid ads on Facebook, there is too much room for mistakes that can lead to wasting your budget. The ideal solution to this issue would be to consult a team of social media marketing professionals, at least in the beginning. Professional agencies can help you create a custom long-term strategy and manage your ad budget effectively.
Best practices to consider implementing
Trending tactics for organic FB advertising:
- Less promotion, more value. Straight out your priorities – leave the promotional messages and sales to your paid ads and sales reps. Organic FB advertising should focus on the needs of the users, providing them with relevant information that can educate or inspire them. You can certainly use a subtle way to incorporate a keyword or call to action to motivate followers to engage with your business, but nothing too direct or spammy. Users need to be able to connect with your content and establish a bond with the value you provide them with.
- Make your posts more personal. With so many companies, influencers, and groups on Facebook, it can be hard to stand out from the rest. However, organic posts can give you the opportunity to share a personal part of your business with others, making it unique and easier to connect to. Consumers today are less interested in working with corporations and more interested in finding trust and a sense of humanity in the companies they decide to buy from.
- Give your brand a voice. Much like humanizing your content, you can use organic posts to put a stronger emphasis on your brand and what it stands behind. Brand development should be an essential part of any digital marketing activity, no matter how big or small.
Trending tactics for paid FB advertising
- Target the right audience. When you have the data you need to identify the best audience for your business, it all comes down to targeting those groups through your paid FB advertising. If a business wants to create the best results, it needs to combine the right messaging with the right audience.
- Optimize your calls to action. The choice and positioning of calls to action (CTAs) play a huge role in how people react to ad campaigns. Each marketing campaign is unique and requires a custom approach to choosing a CTA, based on what the ad is aiming for. If a business is running a limited-time promotion, the CTA will be one of urgency “Get Now”. And if a business is looking to boost sales, it will take a more direct approach such as “Order Today”. Each ad should have a well thought out CTA to achieve its intended goal.
- Short and concise for the win. Consumers today, especially those on social media platforms, don’t have the time to engage with each ad they come across on their news feed. That is why you need to make sure that your ad is direct and to-the-point. It needs to resonate with audiences in a matter of seconds because that is all that you will get from social media users.
- Never stop testing. Not all your paid ads will be successful. The sooner you realize that the less time and resources you will end up wasting. That is why you need to try out different approaches, monitoring how each of them impacts your target audience, constantly finding new and innovative ways to improve your paid FB advertising efforts.
Organic vs. Paid FB marketing – which should you use in the end?
One of the first decisions that a business needs to consider is how organic FB advertising compares vs. paid FB advertising. However, that doesn’t mean that a business needs to choose between the two. If this article has proven anything, it’s that both options bring plenty of potential to the table. And since one doesn’t cost you any money, you have all the more reason to combine the two. Only by doing so will you be able to drive the best results for your company and brand on Facebook.
- Organic advertising on Facebook conveys trust and value while paid advertising on Facebook drives leads and boosts sales. Take the time to invest in both and you will have a strong foundation on Facebook to build your presence on.