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  • Writer's pictureJason Burlin

Facebook is not for every business

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

Have you ever noticed how some of the most unexpected types of businesses invest heavily in their social media presence? Last week when I paid my gas bill, I noticed at the bottom of the bill that it said: “Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date.” Why in the world would I ever want to follow a gas company on Facebook and have them show up in my feed? Then I went to the car wash and noticed that they had a sign in the front of the cashier desk that says that if you follow them on Facebook and Instagram, you get 10% off your next car wash. Don’t get me wrong, their intentions are good. But why would anyone care about car wash companies except when they go to get their car washed? 

Nowadays, businesses think that not having a social media presence is like not having a website. They think that if you don’t exist on Facebook, you don’t matter. So let me clarify it to you for a second. Facebook and Instagram are social platforms for people to interact with things that matter to them. 

People are on Facebook to follow things that are entertaining or interesting to them. If your business doesn’t fall under the criteria of interesting or entertaining, it probably doesn’t justify a lot of investment on your end in creating a presence on social media platforms. 

I remember talking to one of the biggest personal injury attorneys in California who sought advice on how to create an effective strategy on Facebook to grow his presence and have people remember his name. He planned to get people to remember him and follow him, so when they might have an injury they will contact him. I immediately told him it’s a horrible idea. What are the chances that with everything that they will have going on at the time of injury (pain, stress, trauma) they will remember this attorney who they followed a few months ago on Facebook? In fact, I advised him to cut down and move all of his budget over to a platform that will be more relevant like Google Ads. You can assume that the first thing a user will do when he needs help from an attorney is to go to Google and search for a personal injury attorney, not look on Facebook. 

Just like not every business will do well on Facebook, the same goes for certain products and services. Many advertisers forget the concept of “trending” in advertising and totally underestimate its value. The word trending also means popular, and popular products are products that do well on Facebook. 

Generally speaking, products that are unique have great potential will do well on Facebook and brand products or generic products will do better on price comparison websites like Amazon. When price comparison is a factor, people tend to prefer shopping directly on platforms like Amazon, eBay, AliExpress because they are more native to offering alternatives and better customer experience. On the other hand, unique products like boutique brands and  unique gadgets tend to do better on Facebook. 

When you create a story behind a shirt or a new gadget, people tend to buy impulsively and do less research and comparison. These are products that do well on Facebook. 

For example, if I am trying to sell a new model of Beats headphones on Facebook, what’s preventing a user from Googling the name or model number and purchasing it from a competitor who sells it for $1 cheaper? Yet if I would sell a unique type speaker with a deep story behind it, people would be more likely to purchase without looking for cheaper alternatives. 

If the above is true and specific products do better on Facebook, doesn’t it give an advantage over others? Yes! Unlike Google Ads, on Facebook, you bid on your audience (people), not keywords. Also – you can’t decide who to bid on exactly – Facebook does that part for you. 

This means that businesses that compete for the same type of audience will pay the same price per impression, even though their products won’t perform in the same way. The concept of marketing your product or service doesn’t just mean that you need to understand its strongest selling points and weakest spots, it also means that you need to know where and when you can promote it most effectively.

Don’t be surprised if Facebook Ads doesn’t work for your business. It doesn’t work or at least isn’t very effective for the majority of businesses. Without backing up the above statement with references and data, I can confidently say that at least 51% of businesses who advertise on Facebook are struggling to create profitable campaigns. 

Why? It takes a combination of a trending product/service along with an effective marketing strategy to turn paid traffic into profits. It’s a numbers game. Every user will cost you money, and you need to convert X amount of them take action at a specific cost in order to make a profit. That’s why the majority of businesses fail at creating profitable campaigns on Facebook – because it’s really challenging. 


Yes, now that we are done with the negative part, we can face reality. If you have tried advertising your business on Facebook with no or little success, take a step back and reconsider your investment. If you spent a lot of money on ads and your results are very far from the goals you initially set, understand that magic doesn’t exist.


Unless your campaigns and strategy are extremely off, improvements usually come in small numbers. Marketing experts that take on campaigns and rebranding normally are able to create an uplift in performance of 10-30%. If your current results won’t look good with that uplift, then consider other advertising avenues. 

In addition, consider the nature of your business. Ask yourself if this is something that people might be interested in seeing on Facebook or Instagram. If not, where is it likely to be more relevant? Where are your competitors advertising and spending their advertising resources? My rule of thumb has always been to look for where competitors are spending money. 

Generally speaking, if someone is consistently spending money on an advertisement, it means it’s making them money. No one will continue to run campaigns when they are losing money. If you are having trouble finding the right way to promote your business, mirroring your competitors should be the first step in your marketing strategy. 


Facebook is not for every business. Social platforms are meant to be interesting and entertaining, so if your business doesn’t possess those two qualities, it probably doesn’t belong on Facebook. Products and services that tend to do well on Facebook are trending products that are unique and have an interesting story behind them. 

Branded products or generic products perform better on price comparison websites. Running profitable campaigns on Facebook is challenging and requires a strong combination of relevant products and excellent marketing execution. The majority of businesses fail to create effective campaigns on Facebook Ads. If you spent a lot of money on Facebook or Instagram and have yet to see success, consider taking a step back and re-evaluating the best place to promote your product or service by researching and investigating your competitors.

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Jason Burlin

A seasoned marketer with more than a decade of experience in online paid advertising. Managed more than $150M in ad spend and worked with more than 500+ brands. He is known as the unconventional marketer.

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