Does Facebook advertising work?

Most people would regard me as a Facebook fanatic.

I have 4,944 “friends” and 638 “followers”.

I post daily selfies, comments, check-ins and blogs.

Therefore, I see myself as an easily identifiable target for marketers.

They know my age, my personal profile, my occupation, my hobbies and all about my leisure activities.

So here’s this morning’s tally of sponsored adverts, appearing down the right-hand column of my personal profile, enticing me to click through:

  • Car rental
  • An email marketing course
  • Hand made shoes
  • A Kickstarter fund-raiser for metal Lego blocks
  • Employee perks
  • Salesforce training
  • Boosting my users web site experience
  • Register for a web summit
  • Holiday in Bruges
  • American Express Gold Card
  • Flying from Liverpool to Bacau

It would be challenging to create a list of things in which I could be more disinterested.

So what’s the problem?

Am I so ordinary that only irrelevant adverts can find me?

Do I have no distinguishing online features?

Or are the budgets allocated to digital marketers by these advertisers being squandered on fruitless randomness?

And yet.

What I’m hearing from my top end clients every week is that more of their new patient enquiries are coming in “via Facebook”.

When I interrogate that statement, it transpires that those enquiries are generated by combining:

  • carefully targeted Facebook advertising
  • a well populated and share-worthy Facebook Page feed

The first requires consideration of the target audience for your chosen product or service (not the spurious assumption that all men over age 60 must be interested in slippers).

The second recognises that potential new patients are connecting with practices who are posting patient testimonials, selfies and features about real people whose lives they have changed for the better.

Organic content about “people like us and people like you”.

Not generic content about “how to brush your teeth” and “National Smile Week”.

I don’t need metal Lego blocks, a car rental or a holiday in Bruges – and it’s likely I never will.

Advertising those things to me is the waste by an agency of a client’s money.

But I am interested in what I’m interested in – and in seeing what my friends are interested in.

The unfocused Facebook advertiser is shouting, throwing money at the wall in the hope that some will stick.

The focused Facebook advertiser and marketer is figuring out what I’m interested in and whispering in the right places.

We only listen to whispers.


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.