Does Paid Social Media Advertisements Of Your Blog Really Work?

“Don’t measure what you can. Measure what you should.” – Philip Sheldrake, blogger, marketer, web analytics specialist

Once again, as the title of this blog suggests I fairly new with applying marketing strategies in the real world and real situations. This goes especially in the social media aspect. The only marketing experience to do with social media that I have is the one Facebook page I look after at my day job. The owner of the pub I work for, one day, a few years back, decided that his business needs to pay more attention to the social media platforms scene. I was sent to a one-day seminar (only a couple of hours to be precise), which was for businesses from the hospitality industry. The focus was on how they should represent themselves on social media websites. Even though it was short, it was definitely a useful experience. I learned a thing or two from the seminar that helped me double the numbers of people who “liked” the page.

The idea was to do a maximum of what we can in our presence on Facebook, without investing money and paying for Facebook ads. The one thing that gives really good results and people are engaging conversations on Facebook is posting pictures. This is a vital piece of information for anyone who owns a restaurant, pub, a hotel or any sort of business in the hospitality industry – post pictures. Post a picture on a daily basis, and if possible two. The pictures need to be of not just the food or the drinks the place is offering, but also of customers having fun. Pictures of the building or the musicians that play their or anything that is unique for the business are key for viral support in social media.

Another important factor I have learned from that seminar and that gives great results in engaging the audience is what caption goes with the picture. The best results are coming when you ask a question. People like answering questions about everything. For example:

“When was the last time you visit us?”, with a picture of the front of the establishment,


“Which of these is your favourite?”, with a picture of showing some of the beer taps the bar has.

This strategy makes people answering and liking posts. Then this leads to their friends seeing that too, which then leads to more people liking your Facebook page.

In this example, it was fairly easy as the pub’s page was already popular on Facebook with around 5000 people in it. Doubling those numbers was not such a hard job as the only thing I had to do was to engage the people who are already there.

But what if you are a novice, with a couple of your friends and your relatives the only ones who liked the page of your new venture? How do you get from zero to hero?

This was, and still is the case with The Novice Marketeer’s Facebook page (link to it). I had to spend a few quid but the results were great, or at least that was what it looked like at first glance.

What I suggest is, if you are starting your blog and you are getting into social media as well, make sure you are monitoring your progress. You should do that anyway because it is the best way of knowing your audience, but it is also useful for monitoring your social media results.

Because I had only a dozen likes on my Facebook page, I decided that I will invest some of my money and promote my page. Actually I first promoted an article I was really proud with. I spend €30 on an ad to reach 5000 people. The ad did reach that number and I got 1800 likes on Facebook for the article itself and collected around 60 more likes for the Facebook page.

That got me really excited and it felt like I have really accomplished something. People from all over the world appreciated what I was writing about and were showing it by clicking the “like” button. It was a great feeling going home after a late shift at the pub and seeing this insane number – 1800 people liked the article.


Unfortunately, it was a different story the next day when I decided to look into the details. As we should all know – “the devil is in the details!”

Firstly, I started wondering, if there are so many likes, why isn’t there even one comment? If people like something or are interested in the subject, at least a few will leave a comment and try to engage in a conversation. This leads me to the thought of checking my Google Analytics account, where I monitor the actual visits and how much time people are spending on the website. For my surprise, there were 80 visits for the day the Facebook ad was running. 80 visits out of 1800 “likes”! That was a shock for me to see. Everything I thought about my article was actually not true. People liked the picture and the title of it and that is all.

I then quickly remembered about a few studies I have read a month earlier, about people’s behaviour on liking and commenting on Facebook posts. The experiment was originally done by NPR, but I Fucking Love Science (IFLS) did one with the same idea which was the one I saw. So the title of the article IFLS posted on Facebook went like that:

“Marijuana Contains “Alien DNA” From Outside Of Our Solar System, NASA Confirms”

It had thousands of likes and hundreds of comments. I decided that I need to read it because IFLS usually are very trustworthy about what they write. I was blown on how could this be true and quickly clicked on the article. Turns out it had nothing to do with aliens trying to control our minds with a plant they put on Earth. It was about how people act on Facebook. Just because what they see on the title without actually making the effort to read the whole thing users reacting on the post.

This is exactly what had happened with my article and probably will happen with my next one. So what is the solution here? Do I keep spending money I do not really have on an advertisement that does not have a real effect on helping me getting people to my blog?


Unfortunately, it will take me some time to get the best answer to those questions. I also do not believe there will be a straightforward answer either. For now, I will keep on experimenting with a small budget on Facebook and will soon do the same with Google Ads. I will be posting the results with the hope of helping all other novice marketers, so keep on checking this blog for more information!

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