The 12 Good, Bad and Ugly Things About
Facebook Marketing in 2016

UPDATED FOR 2016! More tips added… and one of the BAD things is now a GOOD thing!


I had an email subscriber reply to my latest post about Facebook reply to me, “As much as I’m a fan, and have been for a long time, I’m starting to wonder if I can trust you. You never say anything negative about Facebook… I’m a fan of factual and logical articles, as opposed to the Avinash Kaushik cheerleader approach.

I admit, I am not a headline-grubbing attack-writer… that’s how some writers get attention. And I know that it’s popular to attack Facebook right now. But I’ve never been a trend follower, unless it makes sense to me.

I do not say everything about Facebook is good. I never have. I am more likely to disparage (without naming names) gurus and companies that recommend Facebook strategies that don’t work as well as others. I was never big on Facebook tabs, while some companies based their monetization strategies around them. I wasn’t surprised when Facebook diminished their role in the ecosystem. I’ve always recommended advertising as part of your Facebook strategy… so I feel like I’ve been ahead of the curve and balanced in my assessment of Facebook and its options for about four years now. To be fair, you would have had to read all my articles everywhere and my books and ebooks to get that.

Facebook is transformative for all of us- it teaches you that the positive, constructive approach (which can sound like cheerleading, I suppose?) works better than the negative one. It’s an interesting topic- I am about to go present to NBC Affiliate TV station Creative Directors, and they are on the front lines of the news vs. social media struggle… which, if we want to be reductive, is negativity vs. positivity… exemplified by Local man mug shots vs. cats, dogs and bacon.

Also, my focus is exclusively about how to get results from Facebook as a marketing platform. You’ll never see me talk about a Facebook Security issue, because that’s more of a user issue, if it really is an issue.

I think the real problem is that Facebook is easy to do poorly- and many businesses don’t put enough time and training into it. So they feel like they’ve wasted their money. They probably have, because the companies that don’t succeed with Facebook marketing are lukewarm about it and go with half-measures. They don’t allocate enough time or money to it. They shut their brains off when they hear anything too complicated about how to get results. I’m still trying to make Facebook marketing more simple and more certain than it is- but there’s only so far you can go. There’s only so much of the learning curve we can short-cut.

The information about how to get results with Facebook is out there- if you haven’t found it or learned it, don’t blame Facebook for your lack of results. BOOM! :-)

So here’s a list for you… the good, the bad and the ugly. And let’s do that in reverse order, since in order to be credible I have to attack one of the platforms I recommend? Yep, that was sarcasm :-D

Facebook: The Ugly

  • No customer support for companies they haven’t identified as strategically important.
  • Some companies sunk a ton of money into fans, assuming (even though it has never been the case and Facebook never promised this) that they would always be able to reach those fans for free. Emails are more valuable than Facebook fans.
  • If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can waste a ton of advertising money and not get any profits. This is also true about Twitter, and to a lesser extent AdWords and Bing. (LinkedIn is just hard to even get a lot of clicks from.)
  • Facebook traffic won’t show accurately in Google Analytics without URL parameters, and you have to do custom javascript to track conversions if you’re using Facebook Connect to get leads.

Facebook: The Bad

  • There is a sharp learning curve for Facebook marketing, even if you already know how to do other types of digital marketing well. Facebook is a different medium, so you will have to market and communicate differently on it than other platforms. The ad platform is quite different from AdWords and Bing. One way I address that is with my Social Marketing Profits course.
  • Facebook marketing requires even a professional at least 5-10 hours a week of work, if you’re doing best practices. That includes time for advertising, posting and customer analysis.
  • Not every business gets satisfying results from marketing on Facebook. (But this is also true of AdWords, Bing, Twitter, LinkedIn- and every marketing option…)

Facebook: The Good

  • Biggest social media platform in the Western world- over 1.5 billion potential customers for you to reach. TV-sized reach. In many countries, more than 50% of the population uses Facebook.
  • Advertising with the most sophisticated targeting we’ve ever seen (infinitely better ad targeting than TV or radio). Even B2B targeting like job titles are available. In the U.S. you can also target people by income, net worth, home value, lines of credit and more.
  • Costs are 32x more affordable than TV or radio, and you can start for just $1 a day. Super-smart for businesses who can’t afford the huge TV ad campaigns. And Facebook is the ONLY ad platform that rewards you financially for finding your customer’s passions. When you find the right targeting, images and ad messaging your costs plummet and your profits skyrocket. This is a major reason Facebook gets the lion’s share of companies’ social advertising budgets.
  • Facebook is fundamentally positive, with no dislike button, so major PR problems are less likely to happen on Facebook than any other social platform. You can block people who prove they are troublemakers and aren’t good prospects. When you develop a passionate following, your fans will jump to your defense against online critics.
  • Facebook gives you the ability to learn more about your customers than you’ve ever known, which means you’ll be able to do all your marketing in all channels, even traditional ones, better than you could before. Audience Insights gives you over $10k in market research info for free.
  • I MOVED THIS FROM THE BAD CATEGORY TO GOOD. Facebook changes its features frequently. Any programmer can push things live. They’re trying to be agile and improve performance based on data, but users hate change and unhappy people sometimes are more vocal than happy ones. Still, one reason Facebook has succeeded more than other social platforms is that they try a lot of new features and offerings to help businesses win, and keep what works. That means the Swiss Army knife of marketing that is Facebook occasionally gets some new cool tools. If you’re already there, if you’ve invested the time and money to get it to work for your business, it’s easy to use the new things too.