Paid vs Organic Reach on Facebook. Which is better?

Case Study: We compared Paid vs Organic reach on Facebook

Facebook wants you to post content, and then boost your organic reach with paid promotion. This is their monetisation strategy. We touched on the decline in organic reach in another post and have since discovered a strategy that does wonders for the organic reach on Facebook. In fact, this strategy gets the same, if not better, reach numbers than a boosted Facebook post. But does it turn into a valuable interaction or a sale?

That is what we need to find out.

Here is a case study based on a similar post, for the same business page within a week of each post.

The Test page on Facebook

mediaholic has set up an e-commerce marketplace for small businesses that can’t afford their own website and marketing efforts for it. Power Deals is like an eBay for small business in South Africa. The Power Deals project also presents us with an opportunity to share the entire marketing journey with you, from case studies on social media advertising, to how to maximise profit from an e-commerce store and dropshipping. We will use a focus marketing strategy for Power Deals, looking only at advertising on Facebook. You can visit the Facebook page here.

The Paid Post

The paid post, was a series of automated product ads on Facebook. We left it up to Facebook to select which products to use in the ads and in what order.

The ad previews for the Product ad we ran on Facebook

The ad performed like this after 4 days;

Quality RankingAbove Average
Engagement RankingAbove Average
Link Clicks699
source: Facebook Business Manager

I wasn’t expecting any sales since this was the first weekend that the store was up. We need to build a lot more trust before people are willing to part with their hard earned cash. I also don’t believe that the products listed on the site were unique enough, desirable enough, or cheap enough to entice an impulse buy.

The Organic Post

Facebook organic ad example Case study

The organic post was quite different. It consisted of a single, banner-style image and I tagged some of the products in the post.

At this stage, the page only had 26 followers. Even if we got 100% reach, we needed more. There is a simple method for this;

  1. Create the post on the page
  2. Interact as yourself (This doesn’t work as well if you do the next step as the page)
  3. Share the post to as many groups as you can.

Of course, you need to have joined these groups as an individual beforehand. Bear in mind, some Facebook groups don’t allow advertising, obviously, this won’t work there. Be warned though, Facebook intends to monetise group reach meaning this free method might go away at some point. For now, you can see the results after 2 days

Facebook Organic reach results

Also Read: Content Ideas for any Business

So what is the benefit?

Both posts yielded no sales. This could be viewed as a waste. However, both posts added growth to the number of page likes, and both posts sent visitors to the website.

Visitors to the website are a win. Not only do we have Google Analytics installed, but the Facebook Pixel as well. This means for future ads, we can run remarketing campaigns on Facebook. (That will make for an interesting case study)

We have learned that we can get nearly the same reach on an organic post, as we did for a paid post, and get the same amount of sales. Armed with this knowledge, we can adjust our campaigns and content accordingly. Before we touch on the next steps, lets take a look at how each post affected the website traffic.

UsersNew UsersSessionsBounce RatePages/SessionAvg. Session Duration
Organic Post16161643.75%4.553 Seconds
Paid ad66666729.85%2.016 Seconds
Source: Google Analytics

Ok. That is a lot to digest. Both posts have pros and cons, and the low numbers don’t give us much of a sample size to make any concrete deductions but it is encouraging that we are now driving traffic to the website. This is a step closer to finding a winner in the paid vs organic on Facebook.

Also Read: Facebook pages: The First Steps

The Way Forward

Based on this, we are going to proceed with more organic posts, shared to as many groups as possible, to get as many eyes on the brand and products as we can. Visibility equals credibility. I will experiment with a shock-and-awe style paid product ad where we choose which products are displayed deliberately to get attention.

The goals for the next few weeks will be;

  1. Get as high a reach as possible
  2. Drive traffic to the website
  3. Measure, measure, and measure again

Using our tried and tested strategies we will grow the brand audience and customer base. If you want to follow along with the progress please consider signing up for our newsletter or follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn. We will touch more on paid vs organic reach on Facebook; as well as other strategies to get exposure, sales, and more sales.

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