How Paid and Organic Facebook Efforts Support Each Other

Opinion: If you know how to wield this data, you can turn it into a truly powerful growth factor

It already has all those likes, shares and comments, so it must be good filo/iStock

Facebook can be a strong source of insight into many of your followers’ behaviors and descriptions. From demographic data, geographic targeting, interests, likes, etc., you can learn quite a bit about your ideal user through the social network.

And on top of that, Facebook can be a great channel for you to promote your products and content straight to your audience.

Combine your Facebook brand page and your Ads Manager for big wins.

But where do organic Facebook efforts fade off and paid social campaigns come into play? Well, it turns out that these different ways of using the social platform often support one another.

Depending on how you leverage each, your paid Facebook efforts can inform your organic, and your organic strategies can enhance your paid campaigns. So, let’s see exactly what I’m talking about.

Word of caution: Facebook is primarily ‘pay to play’

These days, Facebook’s News Feed is constantly flooded with different branded publications and content promotions. But, for the good of the platform, Facebook wants to keep its users happy and engaged. The more their user experience is dragged down by irrelevant, sales-pitchy posts, the worse it is for Facebook.

Facebook wants to ensure that its users are only shown highly relevant content. So, to tighten up, it is limiting the reach of irrelevant organic posts.

Facebook’s increased revenue from paid advertising may be the cause.

This means that paid advertising on Facebook is probably a must for your campaigns and general promotion efforts. This further means that you’ll want to start mastering your Facebook Ads Manager. But this doesn’t mean that organic and paid Facebook efforts can’t still work together for ultimate success.

Distinguishing paid from organic engagement

It’s important that you’re able to distinguish between Facebook engagement from paid versus organic campaigns. As is the case with all tracking, the more granular you are, the more successful you’ll be. And Facebook is no different, so long as you don’t start layering before you truly know your audience.

It’s key that you don’t accidentally skew your attribution.

You can create rules to change attribution settings in Ads Manager.

You don’t want your paid advertising wins to be attributed to your Facebook community’s organic growth.

For instance, if you were to see a spike in likes and followers (and not differentiate), you may attribute that to a significant growth in your organic brand awareness. Or, because you’re essentially flipping a coin here, you may attribute it to your paid Facebook campaigns (if you’re running a campaign focused on driving likes and followers).

These two options may result in some very different strategies:

  • If attributed to organic growth, you proceed this way: more brand awareness, intensify calls to action (deeper in funnel), more conversions deeper in the funnel, more active leads, more sales, increased revenue.
  • If attributed to paid growth, you proceed this way: successful paid campaign, raise advertising budget in Ads Manager, increased paid likes, not necessarily any higher-level leads, more cold leads, not necessarily more sales, increased spend will not increase revenue.

You’ll need a mix of different engagement metrics to improve any Facebook campaign. But each will look different depending on whether they come from organic or paid campaigns.

If you segment your tracking by paid versus organic in Facebook, you may see something like this.

View metrics individually to see whether organic or paid is growing more.

As you can see, the metrics differ when you distinguish between paid and organic. Keep this in mind when you’re analyzing your reports. It may help identify correlations between your paid and organic efforts.