Before Facebook, flyers were the go-to resource when it comes to promoting a service or event. They still have their place, but I don’t believe they are very effective unless they are coupled with an incentive, such as; a promo code, freebie, or exclusive access from a QR code. I’ve focussed down my design services to branding and identity, so I generally don’t deal with flyers anymore.

It’s quite difficult to track the ROI (return on investment) of a flyer campaign, but according to, the average response rate is an unimpressive 1%. If you printed about 500 flyers, you can expect only 5 people to respond, I don’t know about you, but unless those 5 people are going to give you back what you spent on printing and distribution, that’s not justifiable.

Humans have a habit of using dated methods to achieve results (I touched on this issue in my previous post about the use of email), and I think it’s about time we stopped relying on printed flyers. Everything has gone digital, so campaigns that rely on keeping sheets of loose paper are becoming more like junk-mail, not to mention they get thrown away most of the time. Save the trees people!

How do Facebook ads work?

Facebook ads in a nutshell; you pay a designated amount to have your content show up on potential targets’ feeds, all giving the following information:

  • Objective – what outcome would you like to reach by the end of the campaign; reach more people? Local awareness? Boost sales? There are a whole bunch of goals to choose from
  • Audience – what type of people you want to reach. You can define their age, gender, location, and some more detailed information, which we’ll get on to in a bit
  • Where to run the advert – Facebook? Instagram? Websites and apps?
  • Daily budget – how much you’d like to spend and for how long
  • Format – will this appear as a video, carousel, a photo?

We’re just scratching the surface of the options available on Facebook Ads. My explanation doesn’t do it much justice, but I hope you get the general gist of it. There are quite a lot of success stories from different people, just like the following short video.

Why use Facebook Ads

I’m not an advertising expert, far from it, but I know a great opportunity when I see it. There’s one thing in my opinion that makes Facebook Ads stand out, and that’s when you narrow down the target audience.

Facebook has a bunch of data on everyone that uses it (which is scary to a lot of people), and it’s putting it to good use. When you’re targeting your audience you’re able to be incredibly specific. Some of the options available include:

  • Interests; films, books, music, television programs etc.
  • Demographic; millennials, education level, income etc.
  • Behaviours; anniversaries, charitable donations

It will take me an entire day to give all the options available, but with what I’ve given you can most likely see the possibilities. If you’re creative, you’ll be able to see some incredible results, and here’s the kicker; it’s super cheap! You can spend as little as £1 as your daily budget, but obviously, the more you spend, the wider your reach.

My experiment using Facebook Ads

I’ve done a few experiments in my spare time, using some spare cash I’ve had. I was curious to see how many people I would reach with a basic advert.

(Note; I didn’t set up any landing pages for this, it was just a quick test with a general Facebook post)

I experimented with the brand page of Freedom’s Ark Church, based in Seven Sisters, North London. Here’s a screenshot of the content.

Facebook Ads Campaign

Here are the finer details of my advert:

  • Goal; brand awareness
  • Daily budget; £10
  • Duration; 1 day, starting on 24/03/2017 and ending on 25/03/2017
  • Audience; ages 20 – 45, located around Seven Sisters
  • Interests; Hillsong Worship, Christianity, Kirk Franklin or Jesus
  • Platforms; Facebook, Instagram, and mobile devices
  • Format; short image montage of the church services with background music

I was very impressed with the results for such a basic advert. Here are some of the finer details.

  • Reach (a number of people who saw my advert once) – 1008 users
  • Amount spent – £10.41
  • People who watched the video for more than 3 seconds – 298

Pretty impressive, right? All for just over £10, it’s such a steal. I almost feel guilty. I also tried some other campaigns for longer periods. One, in particular, reached up to 1,585 users over 4 days, spending only £18.19 in total.

Comparing the Results – Flyers vs Facebook Ads

Now let’s remember that the average reach of printed flyers is 1%. Let’s say you spent £17.99 on 1000 flyers from Vistaprint, that means you have a potential response amount of 10 people (assuming all flyers are distributed). Let’s compare this with my first experiment using Facebook Ads. I spent a total of £10.41 and reached 1008 users. According to the stats, the percentage of people who watched my video was 14.28%.

Not only did I spend less than it would have cost to print flyers, I also had a high number of people watching the video. I was secretly hoping that a bunch of people would walk through the church doors the following Sunday, but this would have been a stretch given that my intention was just to raise awareness. Now imagine if I actually took the time to come up with a whole campaign with a higher budget, with landing pages and all sorts. It will be very interesting to do this.

For me, it’s a no brainer! Facebook Ads wins because of its value for money and results. This comes as no surprise as most people on their commute are constantly looking at their phones, so the attention has shifted from print to digital!

How to use Facebook ads effectively

Flyers can still be effective if used correctly and with an incentive attached to, e.g. a coupon code, and Facebook Ads can easily become like flyers if they aren’t set up correctly. They are more effective with something attached as well. Making use of landing pages and really well-written content will boost the effectiveness of them and make people less likely to scroll passed. There needs to be something interesting about it, even if it’s just to get people to see a useful blog post.

Always go back to the goal at the start of the advert. Ask yourself, “what do I want out of this advert?”, and also make use of the detailed audience filters available, and think about what those people might be going through, what they might like, and where they might be located. Going back to my first example, I targeted those interested in Christian speakers and popular Christian music.

Have you had any success using Facebook ads? Share in the comments!