Are Facebook Ads Still Worth It for Businesses in 2023?
In a constantly-evolving digital landscape, Facebook has long been a trusted platform for businesses to reach their target audience. However, the last few years have brought about major shakeups in the online space - new social media platforms rising, widely-publicized government hearings and other drama has left Facebook in a precarious position.
With all this volatility, there is one question many businesses are asking: are Facebook ads even worth it anymore?
This question is something we hear a lot from our clients, and it's also one that doesn't have any easy answer. Let's dive into it.
The Argument For Advertising on Facebook
Despite the reservations mentioned above, there are still applications where Facebook is still relevant for your business.
First - and most importantly - if Facebook is where your audience is spending their time online, it's still worth running ads. Statista reports that Facebook still has a large user base averaging around 3 billion monthly active users. To decide if your target market is among them, reference your marketing personas. If you don't have defined personas, consider this your sign to make that a priority. As a rule of thumb, Facebook plays well with a B2C audience of users aged 45+. It might still be worth it if your target market sits within that range.
Additionally, there are a few features that make Facebook ads attractive:
- Targeted advertising options. Despite privacy crackdowns, more options exist on Facebook to target your ads based on interests and demographics than other social networks.
- More pricing controls. You can customize your budget within Facebook and still see results. You have more options to adjust and limit spend.
- Unique ad options. Facebook has historically led the pack when it comes to social media advertising. This means that you have more options to tailor your message - like augmented reality, live streaming and creative display options.
- It's tied to Instagram. Meta owns both Facebook and Instagram (and Threads), which means that if you want to advertise on Instagram you might want or need to go through Facebook advertising as well. In any case, even if you don't advertise on Facebook you still need a business account to advertise on Instagram.
Consider all of the above before ditching Facebook entirely. If it's the best place to reach your audience - and it likely could be - then it's still worth the cost to advertise.
The Argument Against Advertising on Facebook
On the flip side, there are a few compelling reasons not to advertise on Facebook.
Again, we have to start with your target audience. If they're not on Facebook, then don't bother. This includes a lot of B2B audiences, younger audiences or people more likely to have left Facebook during upheaval. Again, reference your marketing personas when making this decision.
There are also additional negative considerations with Facebook ads in 2023:
- The platform is difficult to use. Meta Business Suite - the tool for running advertisements - is notoriously difficult to use, and there's little support available. It's not uncommon for ads to be flagged by Facebook's bots and removed without recourse.
- Steep competition. Since Facebook has been around for so long, it's also become highly saturated with businesses. Standing out in all the noise is a real challenge.
- Privacy and data protection. Facebook has had to adjust to new privacy regulations quickly, which means that some previous targeting tools have been removed or limited. There are new tools like Advantage+ shopping campaigns, but they're not available to all users.
- Poor lead quality. Yes, Facebook has an active user base of around 3 billion users - but that doesn't mean they're all in your target market. You often experience a higher volume of poor leads when running ads on Facebook, which must be weeded through constantly.
Alternatives to Facebook Ads
If Facebook isn't the right platform for you, there are some alternatives to consider.
|Google AdWords||Effective for most organizations|
|Bing||B2B or B2C|
|YouTube||B2C, B2B and Not-for-profit, video-focused|
|Spotify/Pandora (similar audience)||B2C, B2B and Not-for-profit|
|TikTok||B2C, Aged 45 or under|
|Twitter/X||*Historically, B2B or B2C|
Explore platforms based on your niche as well - for example, a home contractor might want to consider Nextdoor or Angi. You know your audience best, so consider where they spend their time online both professionally and for fun.
*With all of the rapid changes on Twitter/X, I don't recommend advertising on that platform unless there's a solid use case. Most advertisers are seeing a negative return on investment right now. However, I'm always wary of blanket statements because there's always an exception to the rule. It might be an effective platform still for your business if that's where your audience is spending all of their time online!
There's no one right answer to the Facebook Ads conundrum. Generally speaking, look to your personas for guidance. If your ideal buyer spends a lot of time on Facebook and uses it for purchasing decisions, it's still worth it. If they're not, then it might not be worth the trouble. Consider factors like ease of use, amount of control and your ad budget to help solidify your decision.
Free Guide: Master Google Ads
Facebook may be uncertain, but Google Ads remain strong no matter your business. Unlock how to use Search Campaigns to drive more leads and customers for your business.
We’ll start off by explaining what Search Campaigns are and how it differs from organic search. Then we’ll talk about the different ways you can use Search campaigns, followed by how paid Search Campaigns work, some campaign strategy discussion, and finally, how to measure the effectiveness of your campaign with metrics.
BizzyWeb is a Minneapolis-based digital marketing and web design agency that helps companies get the high-quality leads they need to grow and thrive. Our tactics include inbound marketing, SEO, advertising, web design, content creation and sales automation. We are an accredited HubSpot Platinum Partner and we offer full-service HubSpot onboarding, enablement and strategy for new and current users.