$$$ Why do brands think Facebook ads must cost the earth? $$$

Over the last 18 months or so, the most prominent topic of conversation I’ve had with brands, both big and small, is paid social. And while there’s generally an understanding of the opportunity, the actual allocation of the budget still seems to lack clarity.

The vast majority of brands have at least dipped a toe in the world of paid social (and some a whole leg), with most picking the granular depth of Facebook as a very logical starting point.

In this context, the two most common scenarios seem to be brands who’ve:

  • Run a few Facebook ads as a one off “Facebook ads project” to try and get a better understand of how it all works, but then stalled as they’re not sure “what next”.
  • Started using Facebook ads a few times a year to boost content which is supporting a big brand activity (and as such has a nice chunk of budget).

However, in both scenarios I’m coming across more and more instances of teams who seem to have decided you can only do Facebook ads if you’re spending upwards of maybe a couple of thousand pounds (per ad).

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I’m certain they all know it is technically possible to just spend a few quid boosting a post. However, for some reason they have a view that it’s not feasible to spend say £150 doing so.

My assumption is that one or more of the following is at play…

  • For brands who outsource their media buying, the agency doesn’t get out of bed for that level of spend; and as such, the conversation is never had.
  • Brands could manage the activity internally with training and a little of someone’s time; but for whatever political, resource or capacity reasoning, that doesn’t happen.
  • Marketers are reluctant to tell their peers or managers they’re spending just £150 supporting a piece of content… Perhaps they think it devalues their work? Makes it look silly? Make it sound small fry?

Whatever the reason, and especially for SMEs, it’s a mindset they need to escape from as soon as possible. Until they do, they’ll be missing so many benefits… here’s three for starters:

  • You wouldn’t design a whole TV ad and then play it out just once on Channel 5 at 2am. So why invest all that resource creating lovely social content for Facebook, only for it to reach an ever-shrinking proportion of your fan base (thanks to the Facebook algorithm)? At least allocate some media spend to reflect the effort that’s been put in. Give it a chance 😩.
  • For SMEs especially, targeting by location can be extremely valuable. Without a whopping great fan base, organic location-targeting is unlikely to be worth your while… so use a little spend to make it worth it.
  • Unsure of how something will be received… or trying to get feedback on something specific… a small chunk of budget is an effective way to reach them without blowing the budget.
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Paid social is a great way to reach location-specific audiences at scale (credit: rvcmedia.com)

None of this is to say brands shouldn’t invest big chunks of their budget in Facebook ads (or whatever social network). Rather, they shouldn’t ignore the opportunities that small amounts of spend can offer. As usual, it’s about findings the right blend.

For sure, this is likely to require some different ways of working and new processes, but for me the benefits will certainly outweigh that extra effort.


Do you only spend big on social a few times a year? What’s stopping you from using smaller boosts? As always, I’d love to hear.

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