Category Archives: Working Facebook

Marketing on Facebook vs. Advertising on Facebook

LET’S CLARIFY A FEW IDEAS: A shared Facebook post about the value of a brand or a brand story is marketing. A Facebook ad trying to get you to buy something is advertising. They are similar but not the same. Let’s explore.

When McDonald’s advertises the Big Mac on Facebook they are doing something in between. They are not actually trying to get you to stop at McD’s for a Big Mac at that moment, that would be advertising. They are really trying to build the idea of the Big Mac in your mind. Make your mouth water, so the NEXT TIME you see the golden arches you turn in for a Big Mac and some fries.

Marketing – telling a story, sharing a brand experience, with the intention of influencing future purchases.

Advertising – buy now, click here to register, special offer now.

On Facebook you can do both. But of course Facebook is not intending you to be surfing Facebook while driving, so their intention is mainly focused on future events. However, with mobile advertising and mobile Facebook the lines are getting a bit blurred. I’d still offer that marketing on Facebook is what McDonald’s is doing. They don’t have to give coupons for discount fries. The fries sell themselves, so McDonald’s usually advertises or markets things in addition to the fries. Like “all-day breakfast.”

In my experience, there is one type of advertising that works really well on Facebook and everything else is really branding. Typical results from a boosted Facebook post.


And because I know my audience, that 4.36% engagement rate is pretty high. Typical engagements range from 1 – 3%. In my demographic, women for this ad, here is my demographic breakdown.


From this information I can see that no one over 54 or under 35 clicked on my ad. So I can tighten up the target a bit more. But this is branding and marketing. I am trying to build a readership and audience for my blog.

When we talk advertising the one WINNER on Facebook is the Mobile Downloads Ads. But of course these require two things.

  1. That you have a downloadable app.
  2. That your required WIN is downloading your app.

In this channel, Mobile Downloads,  I have seen engagement rates as high as 35%. That means that over 1/3 of the people who see the ad then click on it. The actual download rate then goes down, because not everyone directed to the download store on their various phones is actually going to then click the download button, even when the app is free. That rate usually dropped by 20%. So we’d get a solid engagement and download rate of 23%.

The last mile, for this company, was getting the user to actually launch the app and register with the company for the application to work correctly. This is where the drop off is more of a problem. At this point our WIN rate was about 7%.

So of an ad that produced a 35% engagement rate and a 23% download rate, we would end up with a 7% registration rate. Now if we dropped these numbers to the typical Facebook engagement rate of 2%, you can see where we’d run into serious problems convincing anyone to allocate dollars to a Facebook advertising campaign. Branding yes, advertising, not so much.

Know what you want to accomplish on Facebook. Pick marketing over advertising and see if you can come up with a mobile app version of your website (These can be created for free these days with 3rd party apps.) and you may have some real potential on Facebook. Otherwise, you’re building brand and goodwill, also valuable, but harder to justify in this competitive business environment.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

What Facebook Reach Looks Like with 2,000 Followers

Let’s get real with the appalling numbers from Facebook.

On an account I started a long time ago, I have 2,126 likes, or followers. Now let’s see how the organic (non-paid) reach looks for an account this size.


So for a hot topic, POLITICS, this Facebook group gets an average reach of 50 – 70 views on an account with over 2,000 followers. How’s that math for ya?

3.5% reach. That sucks. Without paying for views, Facebook’s organic reach is a non-starter. It’s fun for play (as I’m not trying to make any money off this account) but you can see, if I wanted to REACH my 2,000 followers I’m going to have to boost a post.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 8.49.45 PM

And once in a while you’ll have a break out hit, meaning it got shared by a few people with large followings. But other than that, you’re Facebook reach is all about frequency and nailing the topic that your followers are interested in.

Your mileage may vary, but the days of 20% organic reach, of just a few years ago, are long gone. Today, building an audience on Facebook is more about building the group you can pay to reach when you have a post you want to boost.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

I Might Have a Problem with Facebook, It’s a Love/Hate Relationship

For me, Facebook is like a drink to an alcoholic. But the problem is, I conduct a lot of business on Facebook. I need to check-in, to update client pages, to post to promote my own creative endeavors as well as those of a few businesses. It’s what I do, this Facebook dance.

But I have a problem with Facebook. It’s more of a problem with the always-on-connectivity that seems to be so prevalent in our modern lives. My phone becomes a third appendage, a vestigial tail, a flask of vodka tucked under my shirt. And Facebook is the elixir I most crave when I’ve been OFFLINE for any extended length of time.

What are the things about Facebook that are so addictive?

  • Updates from friends.
  • Trending news, according to friends.
  • Community around current and local events (The recent Austin floods brought out some of what is best about Facebook and social media: people responding to and taking care of each other.)
  • Funny cat pictures.
  • Buzz-worthy  videos, Vines, or other social artifacts that I should be aware of.
  • Business and advertising opportunities.
  • Just the thrill of opening mobile app or the webpage and seeing the little red flags of Messages and Updates.

And is there an inherent problem with Facebook as a platform, or is it our connective-addictive iPhones? I went for a walk this morning and made a conscious decision to leave my phone on the kitchen table. Sure I wanted to track the miles I was about to put in. And like yesterday morning I wanted to take and share pictures of the amazing sunrise in my nature-rich neighborhood. But I didn’t bring my phone. I unplugged, even for an hour. No music in my hears except for the birds and flow of the swelling creek. No photos except those in my mind. And most importantly no email, no texts, no updates or selfies.

We have, I have, become addicted to narrating the story of my life through pictures, songs, and messages. LIFESTREAMING is what we used to call it. And now with apps like Meerkat and Periscope we really can stream it, but I’m not so much into real-time event as the capture and broadcast of cool things that I see or do. And yes it’s all about me. Facebook is the modern equivalent to Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself. We are all proudly crowing about our joy or angst and looking for people, “friends,” to respond.

And when they do, as in a few pictures I’ve recently been tagged in of my significant other and I, the thrill of celebration and pseudo community can be quite satisfying. Satisfying what, exactly, I’m not sure. Maybe that’s the issue.

This narcissistic song that we sing and share is some sort of call to our community to celebrate us too. See me. See what I’m doing. And chime in if you have something nice to say. Let’s all give each other a bunch of virtual High-Fives. And why not? What’s the problem with that?

For me Facebook is not the problem. For me, the problem is my desire to connect and be reflected by all of my tribe. Of course I do my share of celebrating their posts and photos too. I AM A CONNECTOR. For me the problem is the split focus I develop between experiencing an event (a live concert, for example) as an event and not as a sharable moment. If we all spent more time seeing the show rather than video recording the show on our iPhones for later, we’d be a lot more present.

So for me, the digital consumption of my soul is about presence and quality of life.

Today I am going to take connectivity holidays for hours at a time, everyday, from all of my devices. I’m going to breathe. Maybe put in a 5 minute breathing meditation in places. And just NOT BE ONLINE. For me it’s not Facebook, for me it’s my compulsion to share, to shine brightly, to broadcast MY STORY.

I am already building The Song of Myself online. I have 4 blogs, a number of books, and several active social networks. (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) I don’t need MORE content, I need MORE presence. More awareness. Better listening, in real-time to real people who matter to me. People who I spend time with at 100% awareness rather than split awareness  (Just a second, let me tag this and share it and I’ll be right with you.)

I’m not pointing fingers at anyone but myself. I do recognize the sad addiction in others, but I do my best not to pass judgement and to focus on MY LIVING and MY EXPERIENCE rather than what they are doing.

Let’s STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN. Breathe and move on. No update, no check-in, no picture, no post, no tag. Nothing. Just living.

Wow, what a concept. (I think, satisfactorily, as I finish this post and prepare to share it broadly.) Is that the definition of IRONIC? Or is that hypocrisy? Maybe just humorous.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

Reference: Why your brain wants to check Facebook every 31 seconds – and how you can stop it – TNW

Nudging Facebook Back Towards Friends

Facebook is getting worse, that’s old news. But there are some simple things you can do to improve your news feed. It’s about how you want to use Facebook. If you use it for business, you might want to keep following brands and businesses you are tracking, courting, working for. If it’s about friendship and connection there are some easy things you can do to connect more efficiently with your friend-network.

1. Use adblock software. 
Removing the ads from Facebook is awesome. It’s not complete, because Facebook knows how to promote itself and it’s advertising platform without triggering the AD-remove bot. But you will see none of those annoying homemade ads that are so bad. (Corollary, you might want to see them, in that case don’t block the ads.)

2. Like Stuff.
When someone you care about posts something LIKE it. This will move them up in your food chain. The more you LIKE from a friend the more that friend’s posts will be identified as interesting to you.

3. Use Notifications for people you love.
If you really like someone you can set their profile to alert you when they post anything. Good for lovers, employers, and siblings.

4. Unfollow everything.
You know those movie lists you always LIKING, unLIKE them. They are cluttering up your newsfeed with movie or tv crap. Same thing for brands. I mean what is there to LIKE about Heinz catsup or Haines underwear?

5. Post a lot.
As you post various types of content they will be shown to more of your friends and based on their preferences, you might hit different friends with different types of posts.

6. Privacy First.
Use a privacy filter or a browser extension to block Facebook’s external cookies.

7. Kill Cookies.
For that matter, use an extension to alert you when any website wants to set a cookie. Cookies are not delicious unless you are the advertiser who is trying to reach you.

That’s it. Be more interactive on Facebook and Facebook may begin to look a bit more like it used to. Fewer ads more friends. As Zuck and Co. work to make their shareholders happy, you don’t have to whine about things, just change your habits. Oh, and if you’re a lurker who rarely posts or likes anything, wake up. Do us a favor. Engage. Say something, you’ll be surprised who is listening for your thoughts and ideas.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)