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Does It Pay To Buy Likes? How To Find Out

Download the full report ‘Does It Pay To Buy Likes?’ as a PDF

Does it still make sense to purchase likes? Absolutely. But how many you buy depends on lifetime value.

The decline of organic Facebook reach, a result of growing News Feed competition, raises questions for brand marketers. Among the burning questions are ones about fans. In the early days of Facebook advertising, marketers sought to acquire as many fans as possible, assuming they were building an owned audience for messaging at scale.

Now that marketers can only reach a small percentage of their fans organically, questions linger around whether fans still have value and whether investing in fan acquisition is still a smart strategy.

Let The Data Speak

Fans are still valuable even as organic reach declines for a number of reasons.

1. Less expensive reach costs

Though marketers need to pay to reach many of their fans, the fact that fans opted-in to receive brand messages means they respond positively at higher rates. They also react negatively less often (hiding posts, marking posts as spam). These engagements signal high quality to Facebook’s ad serving algorithm and can reduce reach costs (CPMs) significantly.

2. Greater ad impact through social context

When target consumers get product or service recommendations from a trusted person, that interaction is invaluable to marketers. Facebook imitates this concept when fans engage with brand content by serving ads with “social context.” This means when fans engage with an ad, their friends are served ads with the context that someone in their network liked, commented or shared. Kind of like an unofficial recommendation. And since fans engage with brand content at higher rates than other audiences, they produce more stories with social context. This is a huge benefit.

For example, a Nielsen study found that users seeing ads with social context had greater ad recall, awareness and purchase intent compared to those who saw ads without social context. More specifically, a blog post written by Facebook’s VP of Ads Product Marketing Brian Boland describes how ads with social context drive, on average, 35 percent higher online sales lift.

Are Likes Valuable Enough To Buy?

The question remains, are fans so valuable that marketers should advertise to acquire them?The answer is two-fold.

1. From one perspective, brands want enough fans that their target audiences see ads with social context.

2. The other important consideration is lifetime value – a prediction of how much actual revenue marketers can secure from a person, in this case a fan, over time.

To determine lifetime value, we recommend a robust fan versus non-fan analysis. Our latest report shows you how.

Download the full report ‘Does It Pay To Buy Likes?’ as a PDF

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  • Addie Conner, Chief Innovation Officer
  • Ben Weiss, Marketing Content Strategist