Having your Facebook business Page resemble a ghost town sucks, doesn’t it?
So when it comes to generating a buzz on your Facebook Page, there is palpable pressure and stress to get more Facebook Likes.
Yet, nowadays you can get more Facebook Likes pretty easily, even on tight budgets!
We’ve tested 5 of the most effective ways to get more Facebook Likes with advertising in a real world scenario and, in this post, we’ll analyze how you can use each one of them to grow your Facebook Page.
Facebook Likes are still an extremely valuable asset for your page or business. With recent algorithm changes diminishing organic reach, getting your audience to engage with your content, comment on it, share it and Like it is actually more critical than ever.
We took a deep dive into campaign data to show you the best ways to get more Facebook Likes. Today, we want to revisit that data. We’ll tell you about what’s changed since 2016, what it means for your Like campaigns, and why you (still) shouldn’t be buying Facebook Likes.
Now, you can click here and go straight to the new content, but we suggest you to keep on reading!
Does it make sense to spend money for Facebook Likes? And what’s a Like anyway?
First of all, let me say it clearly, Likes are not just numbers. If your overall goal is just to brag about the number of fans you have on your Page, you should probably not even waste your time having a Facebook Page.
Likes are real users who are interested in your brand, who expressed an interest in your company with a click, and who may become customers or brand advocates. Your goal as a social marketer is to engage them with high quality content that provides real value and increase their loyalty to your brand.
Likes are just a vanity metric. What really matters are the users behind those Likes. What you want is 1,000 Likes from highly engaged users that will buy your products and share your brand rather than 1,000,000 Likes from users who barely know your name.
One of the most frequent objections to investing money to get more Likes is that Facebook organic reach is constantly declining, so those new fans will never get to see the content shared on the page, making them less valuable.
From my point of view, it’s still extremely important to growing a highly targeted, engaged fan base and spend money to get more Facebook Likes. Here’s why:
- While organic reach decreased for some brands, it didn’t for others. As long as you share great content, you’ll reach valuable audiences.
- 62% of millennials research products on Facebook before buying. A great Facebook Page with engaged customers will make you look trustworthy.
- A Facebook Page is not just to acquire new customers, it can also be an effective way to deliver great customer support (which will convert more new users into customers).
- Promoting content through Facebook Ads to engaged Page fans is cheaper and more effective than promoting to total strangers
- Even if every single Facebook Page post reaches only a small percentage of your fans, a well-executed editorial calendar will allow you to reach most of them over time
If you’re now convinced that it makes sense for your business to acquire new, targeted Likes, you’ll be happy to know that we tested with our own money 5 of the most effective way to target users with Advertising to get more Facebook Likes. And after a week of tests, the results are in!
1) Targeting Interests
This is likely the most common way to advertise on Facebook, create your ads’ design and target it to people that have interests related to your product or industry.
The tough part here is to understand which Interests your customers have. Sometimes this is extremely simple, sometimes it can be tricky. The most simple way to discover relevant interests is to use Facebook Graph Search. Performing a simple search like “Pages liked by people who like “MYPAGE” will provide many useful suggestions.
Another powerful way to find related interests is to use the recently released Audience Insights tool. It allows you to analyze common patterns among an audience. You can, for instance, analyze job titles, education, common likes of your Facebook fans or any other audience like people with a specific interest or part of a custom audience. Here’s what you’ll get by analyzing users who like Jon Loomer:
Using the standard precise interests targeting you’ll reach any user that likes at least one of the pages/interests you selected.
This strategy allows you to reach a very broad audience and can be extremely effective as our data proved. The only downside is that you could be targeting some Facebook Pages that bought fake Likes thus targeting thousands of fake users. In the best case scenario you’ll only waste some money displaying ads to bots. In the worst case those bots could click “Like” on your ads and become your fans.
2) Targeting Interests intersection
Facebook recently released a new, extremely interesting way to target precise interests. Instead of targeting anyone who has any of the interests you picked, you can now target only those users that have all the interests listed, basically applying an AND logic instead of an OR one.
Here’s an example:
In the first example we’re targeting people that like either Nike or Adidas and we’re potentially reaching 17,800,000 users. In the second example we’re targeting only those users that like both Nike and Adidas with a much lower (but more focused) reach of 5,200,000 users.
This method of targeting the intersection of multiple interests can be extremely useful to target only users that are really interested in your product/market. Unluckily, to make it work correctly, the interests you’re using will need to have a very large number of Likes;otherwise the intersection will be too small.
In our test we had to use only two interests (Jon Loomer & Hootsuite) as adding a third one would have zeroed our potential reach. Still, also with two interests the reach was pretty small and likely increased the cost per Like.
Also, keep in mind that interests intersection is not available right now neither in the Ads Manager or Power Editor. You’ll have to use a third party Facebook Ads Manager like AdEspresso.
3) Customers’ Custom Audience
This tactic has a more limited reach but is extremely effective to populate your Page with highly engaged users. All you have to do is create a Custom Audience by uploading to Facebook the emails of all your customers, leads or newsletter subscribers and targeting them with advertising to have them like your page.
The upside is that these users already know your brand so they’re very likely to like your page and engage with the content shared in the future. The downside is that you’re not acquiring new customers but only existing ones.
Overall, targeting your customers through Custom Audiences to get more Facebook Likes is highly suggested , especially if you have a business with a lot of repeated purchases.
4) Customers’ Lookalike Audience
We just saw targeting existing customers through Custom Audiences is very effective but has a low reach and doesn’t lead to new customers. Luckily there’s more you can do with Custom Audiences: you can create Lookalike Audiences!
Creating a Lookalike audience out of your customers will allow you to target your Facebook Ads to people who are extremely similar to your customers. No need to find interests, age ranges or other patterns. Facebook will handle everything for you, analyzing your customers for common patterns and returning a list of new users very similar to them.
When using this tactic, remember: Facebook needs a good amount of data to run its algorithms and find relevant common patterns. I’d suggest you to use this targeting only once you have at lest 5,000/10,000 customers or newsletter subscribers in your Custom Audience and always optimize your Lookalike Audience for similarity rather than reach.
5) Facebook Page Lookalike
Finally, the last tactic we studied today still involves Lookalike audiences, but with a different twist – using a recently introduced feature.
While in the past you could only create a Lookalikes of a Custom Audience, today you can create Lookalike audiences also from a Facebook Conversion Pixel or from your Facebook Page’s fan. This can be extremely useful if you don’t have many customers but already invested time in creating a lively community on Facebook.
The same rules seen before apply here. Don’t use this strategy if your Page doesn’t have at least 5,000/10,000 likes, or the Lookalike won’t be reliable. Remember the more likes you have, the better Facebook will find similar people so if this tactic is not working for you currently, you may want to try it again a year from now when you’ll have a higher number of Likes.
Testing all 5 ways to get more Likes in the real world
Of course we don’t like giving out advice without first testing ourselves. So we created 5 campaigns to get more Facebook Likes for AdEspresso’s Facebook page and check which one performed better.
The experiment’s rules were pretty simple. We used the same design for all the five campaigns, in each campaign we created a split test on the Placement (with AdEspresso of course) creating three AdSets, one for each placement. We tried to spend around $100 for each campaign but due to the smaller reach of the Custom Audience and Interests intersection campaigns, those two ended up spending a little less.
Of course in all campaigns we excluded from the targeting anyone who was already fan of AdEspresso. This is very important, we don’t want to waste money displaying advertising to people that already liked our Facebook page.
Ok, here’s the data:
|Campaign||Spent||Reach||Likes||Cost per Like|
|Customers Custom Audience||$81.28||2,267||83||$0.979|
And if you prefer something more visual, here are the 5 campaigns in visualized AdEspresso’s campaign comparison page:
Wow, I have to say there are some unexpected results here. But before we analyze them, please remember, this is a small scale $500 experiment in our very specific niche market. The results may be totally different for you so… Assume nothing, Test everything!
Let’s analyze the data and try to get some useful learning from this small experiment:
- While I think that interests intersection (targeting people that have all of the interests targeted) have a huge potential, the interests you target needs to be BIG. Ours were pretty small (20/60k people each) and resulted in low reach and high prices.
- Same applies to Custom Audience, most of our customers had already liked our page and the reach of the campaign was too small. Overall to get more Facebook Likes at a reasonable price you need a pretty big reach.
- Plain old precise interests targeting + oCPM is still extremely effective to drive likes to your page
- Lookalike Audiences, both from Page fan and Customers’ Custom Audience work well. Likely the larger the seed audience is the more effective they are. Our Page Lookalike performed better than the Customers’ Lookalike, likely because Facebook had more users to find Lookalike patterns.
- What we didn’t expect: Our Custom Audience campaign had the best CTR of the five and the lowest Cost per click, we expected that… however, those clicks converted into Likes very poorly. I honestly don’t have an explanation for that and we’d probably need more data to draw conclusions.
A final consideration on Facebook advertising bidding. If your goal is to get more Likes, oCPM optimized for Likes is the best way to go. After a single day of training, we immediately started to see the benefits of Facebook oCPM optimization. This is the cost trend that we saw across all our campaigns:
Bonus Tip: Facebook Ads Placement: Where should you advertise?
While researching on these 5 tactics to get more Facebook Likes for your page, we also took a chance to run a split test on the ads’ placements to understand which one performs better for Likes.
The experiment’s results were not really consistent across all 5 campaigns, yet they’re interesting to analyze. Here’s how each placement performed in our test campaign:
|Placement||Spent||Impressions||Likes||Cost per Like||Like Rate|
|Desktop Right Column||$132.44||33,730||170||$0.77||0.50%|
The Right Column placement really surprised us in terms of performances but we have to say it didn’t deliver constantly among all the campaigns. Overall Right Hand Column ads placement was really effective for campaigns with a big reach. On campaign with a smaller reach like the Custom Audience and Interests intersection campaigns, it performed poorly and was not able to spend the allocated budget.
The clear winner to get more Facebook Likes is instead the Mobile Newsfeed. We’ve said this before, social ads on mobiles performs really well and constantly deliver Likes and engagement at a very cheap price.
To double-check our results we analyzed a larger data set of many recent like acquisition campaigns running on AdEspresso for a grand total of more than $200,000 of advertising. The data did confirm that mobile is king when it comes to Likes:
|Placement||Cost per Like||Like Rate|
|Desktop Right Column||$0.33||0.04%|
In this dataset, while the Right Column generated a 2x amount of impressions for a cost that was 1/10th of the mobile ads, it failed to convert all that exposure in Likes, turning out much more expensive than the other placements in terms of Cost per Like
Overall, to get more Likes, I’d suggest that you surely go with the mobile placement and maybe run a split test on Newsfeed Desktop Vs. Right Column to see what works better for you.
1. Optimize your targeting
Two identical ad campaigns run at different times of the day or targeted towards different groups of people are always going to vary in terms of effectiveness and cost.
To help you maximize the efforts of your campaigns, we put together some numbers for Q2 2016 to show you how the cost of a Like-focused campaign changes depending on different targeting criteria.
Age: The price of running a campaign focused on Likes has dropped over the course of 2016 for every age group out there. The most dramatic decreases in price have been toward the older end of the age scale, with the 65+ bracket at $0.13 per Like compared to $0.20. 55-64 at $0.15 compared to $0.23 and 45-54 at $0.15 compared to $0.23.
Placement: There were some interesting results when it came to calculating cost-per-Like by the placement of the ad. While we found that right-column ads could be useful (primarily for campaigns with an extremely large reach) we definitely found Newsfeed ads to be the most powerful Facebook placement option. The prices on both mobile and desktop Newsfeed cost-per-Like campaigns have decreased dramatically, $0.05 per Like and $0.07 respectively.
If you’re running a cost-per-Like campaign with right column ads, your cost will likely be higher than it was early in 2016—prices on right column Like campaigns went from $0.08 per Like to $0.10.
Month: Month-by-month, the price of a Like-focused campaign peaks at the end of the summer and then quickly dips down to an average of about $0.18 per Like until the tail end of the holiday season.
Day of the week: The graph below shows a few different things. The red line is the average amount spent on each day of the week, while the light blue and dark blue lines track older and newer results for cost-per-Like respectively.
What we’re seeing is 1) a significant decrease in the price of cost-per-Like campaigns for every day of the week, and 2) a gradual leveling-out of the price differential between days.
In 2015, you might have paid $0.19 per Like on a Sunday and $0.22 per like on a Wednesday. Today, the difference between a Sunday and a Wednesday is down to $0.01.
2. Why So Serious? Make People Laugh, Smile, and Get Inspired
Maybe you’re reading this article and wondering if likes even matter anymore. After all, everyone knows about the algorithm changes and attendant decreases in organic reach that Facebook businesses are seeing. Your average Facebook page is just not reaching as many of their fans as they were one, two, three years ago.
But it’s too easy to blame Facebook, and too shortsighted. More than 3 million links are shared every hour on Facebook. That’s a massive amount of content, and it makes sense for Facebook to put some limits on how much businesses can pop up in users’ Newsfeeds. Plus, people on Facebook’s platform have been sharing personal updates less and less. They want to encourage people to get posting again, and that means keeping the content in their Newsfeeds up at a high level.
A very well-timed post, coming a day after the first Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
This reduction in organic reach actually means it’s more important than ever to go for Likes. No, you’re not going to be able to reach 10% of your fans with a direct sale ad anymore. No, you’re not going to be able to coast along with crappy content. But you now have a direct incentive to and can get a competitive advantage if you stand out with content that inspires people, makes them laugh, or otherwise brings them value.
Facebook’s machine learning algorithm, based off of a derivative of Edgerank, is going to reward businesses that post great content that leads people to react, Like and comment on it.
Most people find this too difficult to do, which is why it’s still such a huge opportunity for you. And demonstrating that you understand what people want to see on Facebook, you’ll reap the benefits of an increased relevance score. You’ll show, via social proof, that your business is trustworthy. In the end, focusing on good content will pay off with conversions, revenue, and growth.
3. Don’t Buy Your Facebook Likes
You’ve seen them. All over Google’s search results, websites promise you Facebook Likes that are organic (produced by real people) and local (from your own country)
Facebook Like sellers have definitely gotten better at marketing — but the results are still the same.
Buy Facebook Likes and your page will suffer.
- Ranking: While we’re not on EdgeRank anymore, the three original aspects of EdgeRank — affinity, weight, and time decay — still matter. Facebook’s new algorithm just takes into account a huge number of other variables that relate to how people use Facebook. At the center of this machine-learning based attempt to curate everyone’s Newsfeed just to them is engagement. Even a million fake Facebook fans are not going to bring you success because Facebook can easily suss out who is a real follower and who is fake, unengaged, and inactive.
- Awareness: Since Instagram became popular and brought the concept of “buying Likes” to the masses, people have become very savvy about identifying accounts that have manipulated their social media presences. Even rappers are publicly shaming other rappers who buy Likes. People are going to notice when you have a Facebook account with a million fans and only 2 or 3 comments on your latest post. And that look isn’t good on anyone.
- Wasted Ads: When you want to capitalize on your increased page presence and run ads targeting your fans in the future, your fake Likes are going to come back and bite you in a big way. There is no way to filter out your fake fans from your real ones. When you run your ad, you are going to waste untold amounts of money targeting people that don’t exist.
We even experimented with buying ads ourselves, and the evidence was clear—buying your Likes is simply a waste of time.
With Facebook, a massive and publicly traded company, they’re under increasing scrutiny to provide returns to their advertisers. Buying fake fans is like running a gift card scam at Target —it’s not going to work, so don’t bother.