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The Relationship Between Facebook Advertising and Organic Page Likes

So for quite a while now There has been a lot of talk in the Social Media Marketing community about the influence on Facebook advertising on page interaction. This is something I’ve kept track of, but more than anything most of what I heard focused on people talking about promoting page posts and it’s influence on interaction, which makes sense. Last week I cut all our Facebook advertising just to pull back on our spend for a little while. The resulting effect it had on our organic page likes was both instantaneous and amazing to see.

Now I’ll note now that I don’t run ads promoting posts. I don’t find that they support the KPIs I’m trying to achieve. Instead I run “like” ads with sponsored stories supporting those likes. These ads are only targeted at users who aren’t already fans of the the marketed Facebook page (Ironman 4×4).

Facebook advertising - The proof is in the pudding

As you can see though. Within hours of having cut our Like ads, all our page ‘like’ traffic started to take a dive. Now for the most part this is completely understandable, but it was the “organic” likes on the Facebook page that were even more interesting. They dived to less that 1/5 of what the previous average daily organic likes had been and this was without any major changes to the content or anything else on the page. The only influential aspect that coincides with the sudden plunge of Facebook organic likes, was that paid likes fell.

Now thinking over this it actually makes some sort of sense. In Search Engine Marketing many of these ‘organic’ likes would actually be referred to as View Through Conversions. That is, the Facebook ads have been served to these individuals, but rather than just clicking on the ad or liking the page through the ad, they instead have gone to the Facebook page on their own and ‘Liked’ the page.

Moral of the story. Don’t undervalue the influence of your advertising’s effect on ‘organic’ likes. Your organic likes are likely to actually be overstated by including view through likes.

Has anyone else had this experience with their Facebook pages?

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  1. Josh · November 29, 2013 Reply

    I think you’ve nailed it. The thing that always gets me is ‘people talking about your brand’, which is such a crazy metric given the way they actually track it.

    Nice Matty

  2. Bin Teo · December 2, 2013 Reply

    Nice insights Matt! While I haven’t used Facebook advertising yet, its interesting to see how advertising spend affects the ‘like traffic’ drastically – Bin

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