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Is Facebook Advertising Really Worth It?

8 min

Editor’s note: This article was updated in July 2020 to present more up-to-date examples and advice.

Your social media campaign almost invariably can be broken down into two distinct categories – your organic efforts, and your paid efforts.

The aim of both games is of course first to get more likes, followers, engagement and connections, and from these to go on to acquire actual conversions in terms of subscribers and of course sales.

Your organic efforts in seeking out these things will inevitably entail the likes of content creation and curation.

You will be writing blogs, composing tweets, providing links to breaking news in your industry, making videos and pinning pins. Through these you will be hoping to expand your reach across the internet, build your brand awareness and drive traffic to your site – and it works.

So, since it’s working so well, why on Earth would you want to start dipping into your possibly quite precarious budget, and try and buy your way to the top of social media feeds? Surely paying for social media success defeats the object, right?

Well, yes and no.

The fact is that, even though your organic efforts will no doubt serve you well, they will only ever take you so far – and Facebook makes sure of it.

Editor’s note

Now you can run Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns directly inside of your GetResponse dashboard. Read this article and learn how you can start running Facebook ads in GetResponse, in no time.

Facebook has changed

If you’ve been in this game for long enough then you will remember the glory days before the online world got hit with Facebook advertising. Up until this monumental moment in social media marketing history, all of your followers saw all of your posts in their feeds. That’s just how it worked. It was free, it was fair, it was fun… oh, such a simpler time!!

However, since the advent of Facebook advertising, things have changed. No longer does Facebook allow all of your fans, likers, and subscribers to see all of your posts for free – now you need to pay for Facebook advertising to make sure that your posts get the same reach that they previously did. It’s been a shrewd business move indeed, but one that only benefits a single business – Facebook. Everyone else has been hit.

So – Is that extra reach really worth your bucks?

As you’ll in a moment, Facebook advertising can be really powerful.

It can help you reach new audiences, generate leads, and help you sell more of your products in a short amount of time.

What’s also important is that Facebook ads aren’t just about Facebook itself. Your ads can also be reaching your audience on Instagram and other websites or apps through the Facebook Audience Network.

On top of that, thanks to features like Lookalike Audiences and Retargeting you’re able to be very specific as to whom you’re showing your ads. Thanks to these, you can maximize the return on your ad spend.

Let’s now look through some of the stories of businesses that used Facebook ads to promote their business.

Put to the test

InfoShare Academy offers intensive programming courses for beginners who want to start working in IT.

They wanted to reach people who only just started thinking about learning to code, so that they’ll be able to educate them and offer them one of the paid courses.

To attract a new audience they decided to create an ebook titled “The 125 coding terms for beginners” and promote it using Facebook Lead Ads.

Jakub Kłos, their Digital Marketing Team Leader commented on their idea:

We’re one of the few companies in our niche doing content marketing. We use our newsletter to nurture the leads who consider taking up a programming course, providing valuable information on a regular basis.

After creating a lead magnet that’s aligned with their audiences’ needs, they’ve promoted it on Facebook.

Here’s what the post and the Lead Ad looked like.

Facebook lead ad campaign example – InfoShare Academy

The results:

By using Facebook Lead Ads they’ve managed to attract 1,200 new contacts in just one month. Each lead cost them 1.31 PLN (approx. $0.35), which in total adds up to approx. $420 for the entire campaign.

Here you can learn more about this and other similar case studies on lead generation, marketing automation, and more.

To get a better grasp of your budget, consider using this Facebook ad cost calculator.


Well, this is just one point in the example, and Facebook itself has many success stories that you can search through. You can even segment the examples by company size, industry, objective, or region.

Here are some more examples worth checking out:

DesignMind – 100% paid advertising budget spent on Facebook, which led to a 40% increase in web visitors, which equates to one-third of their site referrals coming from Facebook. – enjoyed a 5 times increase in web traffic, and the average basket value increased by 2.2 times.

Grant’s Scotch Whisky – with Facebook advertising, Grant’s reached 6.5 million people, generated 7.5 million video views and enjoyed a 52% increase in social mentions over one month.

Example of a lead ad campaign run by GetResponse on Facebook.
Here’s another example of a Facebook Lead Ad campaign that GetResponse uses to promote its ebook

Is Facebook advertising really worth it?

Well, as with everything there are success stories and there are scare stories, and so the online debate will inevitably rage on for a while yet.

Put simply, though, as the examples have shown, it is more than possible to create your own success with Facebook advertising. The trick is to focus on what it’s good for, use your analytics to make targeted ads, and engage in a little trial and error and don’t expect to see off-the-scale results overnight. Also, augment your Facebook campaigns with conversion funnel software to streamline the process of generating and converting new leads.

Facebook advertising tips

Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your Facebook advertising campaigns:

1. Start with a goal

Don’t start running Facebook ads before you know what your goal is. Are you looking to increase the number of people who follow your page? Maybe you’re looking to generate new signups and grow your email list? Or perhaps you’re trying to sell your ebook to as many people as possible? Only after you know what your goal is (and how much you can spend to achieve it) you should go ahead and set up your first campaign.

2. Target, target, target

Facebook advertising allows you to target some very specific demographics and interests for your ads – and that’s exactly what you should do. There’s no point in advertising roller blades to grandmas in Greenland. If you’re unsure who your core audience is, start by targeting people who are similar to your current customers using Lookalike Audience or by retargeting those who visited your checkout page but haven’t completed their order in the last 7 days.

3. Boost your competitions

Competitions are a great way to boost your engagement in the first place, but if you give them an extra boost with Facebook advertising then they can go through the roof – and you’ll be able to obtain the email address from each contestant, too, as an added bonus to grow your list. Just remember to tag them properly when importing to your email marketing software. Better yet, use a tool that has everything under the same roof.

4. Follow up with email

To really ensure that your Facebook ads are lasting, make sure that you follow up any conversions that they’ve engendered with an email marketing message of thanks. And then again with any special offers that you have in the future. And then to alert them to any new blog posts that you write. Keep going, once you’ve got them, you’ve got them.

5. Don’t be afraid to experiment

Like with any new project, it sometimes takes a while before you’re going to see a massive return on investment. But don’t be discouraged if you don’t see an immediate return on your ads. Invest a small amount of money – even $50 will do – and set up several ad campaigns.

Here are a few ideas of whom you could be targeting:

  1. Those who visited your site over the last 7 days, but haven’t converted
  2. People who are similar to those who bought one of your products in the last 28 days
  3. People who engaged with your content but haven’t visited your sales page
  4. People who are similar to your email subscribers
  5. People who live in your neighborhood

6. Try different formats and ad placements

Facebook and Instagram offer a lot of different ad formats you could experiment with.

Other than boosting your posts, you could be promoting videos, doing stories, or generating leads with Lead Ads. You could be targeting people who are using Facebook on a mobile device or even presenting your offer outside of Facebook through the Facebook audience network.

Where to look for more information on Facebook ads

As you can see there are many ways in which you can grow your business with Facebook ads.

If you’d like to learn more about Facebook ads, here are some resources worth checking out:

On top of that, you can sign up to GetResponse newsletter where, from time to time, they publish articles on effective Facebook advertising.

Below, are three of their articles + a video from Ian Cleary on how to build a sales funnel with Facebook ads.

Is your Facebook advertising campaign a success or scare story? Let us know in the comments below. 

Kerry Butters
Kerry Butters
Kerry is a prolific technology writer, covering a range of subjects from design & development, SEO & social, to corporate tech & gadgets. Co-author of SitePoint's Jump Start HTML5, Kerry also heads up digital content agency markITwrite and is an all-round geek.