My First Blogging Mistake: Facebook Advertising

When I first started blogging a few months ago, I had a lot of direction. Matthew Woodward gave me all the information I needed to get my blog up and running, and a huge number of posts guided me on content creation and audience interaction.

I didn’t have to make any big decisions in the beginning; I simply followed advice from those who had come before me.

However, during the last 2 months I have managed to find my feet, and as a result I have started making decisions for my blog. So far they haven’t been huge, and they include which theme to change to, which platforms are best for me, when to post, and other small details. I have probably made a couple of small missteps along the way; however, none of them stick out like the mess that is Facebook advertising.

Below I will let you in on my Facebook advertising mistake, so that you do not follow in my footsteps.

My History with Facebook

I joined FB on June 17th, after a lot of debate on whether or not this platform was right for my blog. As it turns out, Facebook is really great for Business Broken Down. Between June 26th and 29th I ran my first Facebook campaign, in which I advertised my WordPress Plug-ins post. I spent $4.62 over 3 days; unfortunately I had no response to my post; it was simply a bust.

However, as I started getting better at using my FB page for my blog, my confidence grew and I decided to give it another shot. At this point I had 98 organic likes for my blog, most of it as a result of engagement in FB blogging groups. It was at this time that I decided to create an advertisement for my FB page.

My reasoning was that the 98 likes I had gotten so far were sending good traffic to my blog, so if more people were introduced to my blog then my content would be viewed more frequently. It still sounds like good reasoning to me!

The Facebook Advertising Mistake

On August 12th I decided to create an advertisement for my FB page that would run for 5 days, at $5 a day. There was a bit of haggling with Facebook as they said my ad exceeded the 20% text capacity they had set, however, after some puppy dog eyes and a bribe of tickets to a Willie Nelson meet-up they accepted my ad (I’m obviously kidding, I would never give away tickets to see Willie).

Anyways, once Facebook reconsidered their position and accepted my ad, it was time for me to sit and wait.

My ad was targeting men and women between the ages of 18 and 65, who had shown interest in social marketing, advertising, marketing, and social media. The geographic locations included Kenya (my home), the U.S.A (the bulk of my current audience), and India (an audience that was highly engaged in my niche). Sounds solid so far?

What Went Wrong?

Well, the next day I woke up to find that my page likes had exceeded my expectations. I was in the hundreds, and every time I checked my account the likes had grown.

Needless to say I was ecstatic. However, by day 2 I was getting a little skeptical. I’m incredibly happy with the content on my FB page, but the results seemed a little bit unrealistic for my current blogging level. It felt like a majority of the likes I was receiving were from people who indiscriminately like all the page ads in their feed.

As someone who is picky when it comes to liking pages, I didn’t have the foresight to see that some people like pages without the intent to engage with that page on a regular basis. I had streamlined my ad, so I believed that the people liking my page would be searching for advice on small businesses.

Instead, what I got was a small number of interested people, and a huge number of people who couldn’t care less.

When I sought advice on one of my FB blogging groups, I found that other bloggers had been in the same position I was currently in. Their FB page advertising had resulted in uninterested followers, as opposed to engaged followers.

One blogger even told me that once the ad is complete, your post reach falls as FB wants you to keep on advertising. I can attest to this as my stats have reduced from an average of 30-50 people reached at 98 likes, to an average of 10-20 people reached at 800+ likes.

My Facebook Advertising Results

Once I realized that my page advertising was not delivering the results I expected, I stopped the ad. FB reported that the ad had reached 4048 people, and resulted in 505-page likes (though I estimate it to be around 700+ new likes). I spent $17.16, which was lower than the $35 budget I had allocated.

And unfortunately, my engagement has fallen as I mentioned above. Thankfully, there’s nothing that cannot be rectified with some elbow grease and aggressive networking.

However, it is a situation that I wouldn’t have been in if I had sought advice before I went ahead with it. Thankfully, my $17 investment will not haunt my dreams, though it serves as a reminder to make smarter decision.

So is Facebook Advertising All Bad?

I have no definite answer on this, as I have not ventured back into the scary world of FB advertising since my blunder. I know many people who have had a positive experience with FB page advertising, and many others who have not. I also admit that my audience targeting may not have been as sophisticated as it should have been, hence my less than stellar results.

I have also been told that it is better to promote your post, than to promote your page. In this way only your target audience will be drawn to your content.

However, if you are still brave enough to venture into the murky waters of FB advertising, then here’s a piece of advice from me to you:

Run your ad for 1 or 2 days and closely monitor your results. If the likes appear genuine, then go ahead with your ad. However, if you are a small blog getting 200 likes a day, then maybe you should cancel your ad campaign and regroup.
And with this advice, God Speed my courageous friend.

Final Verdict

As you can see, there are risks associated with advertising your FB page. However, if you take time to plan your promotion strategies, then you won’t waste your time, effort, or money on mistakes such as mine.

I hope this post helped set you straight on some of the blogging decisions you have made, and although all of us are bound to screw up more than once, hopefully we won’t be making the same mistakes over and over again.

Before you leave drop me a comment and let me know if you have been in the same position as I have. And if you kicked FB’s ass, then you can brag about it as well. Also share this with your friends, and sign-up for the Business Broken Down newsletter where I share with you some more great tips and advice about business and blogging.

Thank you for stopping by, and be sure to come back next Monday when I will be kick-starting a campaign to raise the $17 that I lost (just kidding…or am I?). Have a great week!

26 Comments

  1. I had a similar experience, so I haven’t done anything with facebook ads since and have been watching my page grow slowly but steadily as I engage with groups and other bloggers and crafters. I haven’t really thought about promoting a post… maybe I should give that a shot.

    Like

    1. Hi Anjuli,

      Organic growth definitely provides more satisfying results. I’ll be staying away from page advertising, but post advertising is a good option if you have a spectacular piece of content that you want to promote fully. Thanks for sharing your experience.

      Asante,
      Davina

      Like

    1. Hi Yaya,

      Yeah, this is definitely a cautionary tale. However, you can test it out for your own blog without losing too much money. Just be smarter than I was about it 🙂

      Asante,
      Davina

      Like

  2. Totally agree. I made this mistake at first too and ended up with loads of likes from obviously fake pages which closed down over time thus lowering my likes. Boosting posts was better but still got “likes” rather than engagement. It also lowered my organic reach. I will NEVER pay to boost ever again.

    Like

    1. Hi Tori,

      I’m also monitoring my page to see when the likes will start disappearing. At least we made the mistake earlier on as opposed to later when the ramifications will be worse. Thanks for sharing your experience, I’ll definitely be wary about boosting posts now.

      Asante,
      Davina

      Like

  3. I have been struggling to decide if I should go for FB page and advertisement for months now. Somehow, I couldn’t convince myself to start, because I always had some doubts knowing people’s FB behavior around me. This article just proves my doubts. Thank you!

    Like

  4. I have had some luck – not much with post advertising on Facebook. Nothing to get too excited about. I’m trying to get the word out about the travel guides I write for children.They are eBooks and downloadable. I have been successfully meeting lots of fellow travelers on Facebook groups but none in the same niche and haven’t sold many books at all – like very few. I’m wondering what to do next? FB advertising doesn’t sound like the way to go at all.
    Natalie

    Like

    1. Hi,

      I understand the frustration you must be feeling right now. Perhaps your niche is not on FB, and if that’s the case you need to find where they ‘live’ on the internet. I wrote a post on How to Develop a Lasting Relationship with your Audience, and I mentioned tools likes Boardreader and Omigli which you can use to find your audience. This way you can interact with the people who want to buy your eBooks and downloadable. Best of luck with this, and if you want to talk more you can leave me a message on social media 🙂

      Asante,
      Davina

      Like

  5. Very interesting! My husband also had a paid FB ad for his business FB page. Although the likes and reach of the page increased, the number of customers did not. I had been thinking about getting a paid FB ad, but after reading this, and seeing my husband’s lack of results, I will give it a bit more thought.

    Like

    1. Hi Fabiola,

      FB advertising is definitely something you need to carefully plan if you want excellent results. I wish you the best of luck in whichever decision you make. Thanks for sharing your experience 🙂

      Asante,
      Davina

      Like

  6. I’m sorry your ‘likes’ were not more targeted, Davina, to people who truly want to connect with you. Facebook ads can be very helpful to growing your
    business, but is not for the uninitiated as it can end up
    either costing you a lot or giving results like yours.

    The good thing is that you shared your experience so others can benefit and you did not lose very much (in US$). Don:t know what your exchange rate is.

    Thank you and have a great week!

    Yvonne

    Like

    1. Hi Yvonne,

      Thank you 🙂 I definitely agree that FB ads can be useful if done right. And yeah, the cost could have been worse, thankfully I stopped the campaign ahead of schedule. Thanks for stopping by, have a great week as well!

      Asante,
      Davina

      Like

  7. I have learnt from experience and the trainings of others that to maintain follower/client engagement you need to grow your business organically. This seems to particularly so with social media platforms.

    If you post interesting and relevant information, you will attract the right people to your page/website.

    If you do not, paying for people to like your page means they will join but not stay.

    Once you are established and have developed relevant content, then there is an argument for paying to increase your following, but you better be pretty darn sure they will stay before you throw money away at a problem, not at a solution!

    Like

    1. Hi Terry,

      I’m definitely putting all my effort into organic engagement, but advertising isn’t paying for likes. It’s a solid marketing strategy which I clearly haven’t gotten a handle on yet. Thanks for sharing your experience, i’m going to do some careful planning regarding engaging with my audience.

      Asante,
      Davina

      Like

  8. FB ads can work, but initially as mentioned above you’re better to concentrate on growing organically, in addition if you post something that gets a lot of interest it is worth boosting just that post. The other thing to remember with FB pages is that FB will only allow around 10% of your followers to see you posts, so it may be that all your followers are genuingly interested but never see your posts on their timeline.

    Like

    1. Hi Mike,

      I’ve heard a lot about the decreasing engagement on FB, that’s why I’m trying to diversify my social media platforms. Thanks for the advise on boosting and engagement.

      Asante,
      Davina

      Like

  9. Davina, It was very interesting to see your Facebook ad results. I think we just have to keep making relevant post to our blogs, and other social media platforms, We have to keep moving forward. I have not tried Facebook advertising yet. Thank you for showing us your journey.

    Like

  10. Hi Davina
    I haven’t tried FB Ads as yet, but wanting to do so sometime soon. If it makes you feel any better, my first AD mistake was with Google Adwords PPC. I had no idea what I was doing at it cost me $100 in 48-hours and I got nothing out of it.

    My feeling is to use FB Ads to drive traffic to an squeeze page with an e-mail optin form. Offer a High Quality FREE eBook/Video Course as a bribe for the e-mail address.

    Once on your list, you have more control over who gets the e-mails and you monetize via the e-mail sequence. Don’t let FB have control over who sees what. Use your list!

    i.e. You can promote products and services via your e-mail list and hopefully make money this way

    Like

    1. Hi Duane.

      I’m sorry to hear about your Google Adwords PPC loss, I’ll be cautious if I ever decide to work with it. And I think your idea is brilliant, a second step like an e-mail optin will dissuade anyone who is not serious about what I am offering. Thank you for that advice, I’ll definitely use it when the time comes.

      Asante,
      Davina

      Like

  11. I would must say that you just rocked in this article. 😀

    It doesn’t matter, In which field you are working. You would definitely make mistakes and these mistakes will help you to learn something new. So we should never afraid of doing mistakes.

    In this article, the blogging mistakes which you have mentioned above are very much common which most of the bloggers or webmasters make when they start their blogging career.

    When bloggers like me do mistakes then It is obvious that they can’t generate that result which they want because of that mistake. When It happens, they again start doing all the things and tries to find what they did wrong in previous turn and then they find their mistakes and learn from that mistake.

    So some how, mistakes helped us to learn new things. Right? 😀

    Most of the people think that doing mistakes will give them failures which they never want but they should understand that every successful person makes mistake at their initial stages and learn from them.

    Every successful blogger copied others article once in their blogging journey but later they learned and started writing by themselves.

    I would like to give a great Thanks to you for covering these amazing blogging mistakes which people can use to learn from them. 😀

    Like

    1. Thank you Brenda, as you said, we should all learn from our mistakes 🙂

      I definitely learned a lot from my experience with FB ads, and if I use them again I’ll change my approach so that I can get better results. Thanks again for your kind words and support, and I hope anyone who reads your comment can take your words of wisdom to heart. 🙂

      Like

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