Beginners Guide to Using Paid Facebook Ads vs. Organic Facebook Ads


These days, Facebook is definitely one of the premier platforms for online advertising of services and products. When is the last time you’ve heard of someone who doesn’t have a Facebook account?

This social network has practically become synonymous with the broader world of social media. With that in mind, advertisers use Facebook to reach a vast number of prospective leads.

But when we talk about paid Facebook ads vs. organic Facebook ads, the question is — which should you use? We’ll explore the intricacies of Facebook advertising and answer the question right here!

Organic Facebook Advertising

When marketers talk about organic advertising on Facebook, what are they referring to?

Simply put, these are Facebook posts that don’t require a financial investment; those that aren’t sponsored by any marketing budget.
If we were to make an analogy with the wider world of digital marketing in general, organic ads would be closest to search engine optimization.

The traffic and leads you gain from SEO are organic because you don’t pay for them; you get them because you’ve optimized your website to rank high on Google naturally.

On the other hand, paid advertising is similar to email marketing — a clearly organized and funded campaign. And while we won’t get into the details of email marketing and best ways to utilize it right now, just like with it and SEO, both organic and paid Facebook advertising has its uses.

Organic marketing on Facebook via non-sponsored posts is also great for marketing your products or services; today, it’s practically necessary.

Paid Facebook Advertising

On the other hand, there is also paid Facebook advertising. These posts are easy to differentiate, as paid ads have a “sponsored” tag beneath the poster’s name.

You will find that there are plenty of options regarding paid ads on Facebook. There are different ad formats, such as:

  • Canvas (instant experience) ads
  • Collection ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Video ads

Let’s break down the differences between each type of these ads.

1. Canvas ads

In simple words, Canvas ads represent a full-screen unique experience for mobile users. This type of advertisement is immersive, interactive, and removes the need to click outside of the app to use any mobile content.

The reason why canvas ads are so useful is that they bring brands to life like no other ads.

A good example is Wendy’s “Let’s take it from the top” ingenious idea to take the customers on a magical ride and show them how a tasty and delicious burger is made from scratch!

As you scroll down the pages, you get to see the step-by-step process with vivid images and engaging descriptions.

In just a few seconds, the customer learns not only the process they use, but also sees the product and various options. Once you understand the shape, size, and all the layers of a perfect burger, you get an inviting Call-To-Action button.

2. Collection ads

As the name suggests, a collection ad is a group of images that produce a unique experience for the customer. It consists of a cover photo, usually animated, and various ads for products, all lined in a fine grid.

The customer can scroll down and browse the ads.

Upon clicking on an ad, the customer is then taken on a full-screen interactive journey, where they can review products, make purchases, and much more.

3. Carousel ads

Carousel ads resemble the famous carousel photo gallery you can find on many websites. With the use of photos and videos placed in a specific order, the customer can scroll left and right to see different deals.

Here is how Target makes the best use of carousel ads.

A variety of ad formats isn’t the only thing that goes in favor of paid Facebook ads compared to organic ones; you also get a wide array of options for audience targeting.

4. Video ads

Breathtaking and lifelike images, specialized scripts, special effects, and emotional and exciting music are main features of video ads. As a product, the customer receives a captivating experience that transcends the expectations of what an add should represent.

For an example, here is how Air France used a video ad when the pandemic started, to keep their customers informed of the current options.

In the same manner, here is a video ad from Squarespace that promotes fresh ways to help young people with their careers.

Why Use Organic Marketing

There are plenty of ways organic Facebook advertising can benefit your brand and company:

  • Brand awareness
  • Relevance
  • Engagement
  • Conversations

If you want someone to have access to organic posts that you make on Facebook they’ll have to follow your business page on the platform. However, once they do, they’ll have access to all of the content you post consistently.

When people keep seeing relevant content from a brand, they begin perceiving said brand as an industry authority for its niche. Companies that have organic content on Facebook have a continuous way of reminding consumers of their existence.

And such a strong presence on social media is incredibly important in this day and age. This is true regardless of whether Facebook is your only avenue for lead generation, and it shouldn’t be.

Quite simply, people expect a brand to have a Facebook page or an account on Twitter and Instagram and depending on the niche, sometimes all of the above.

If people Google your company and find that you’re not active on social media, they may view you as suspicious or untrustworthy. Not having an active Facebook page is definitely one of the biggest FB advertising mistakes you could make.

Also, organic Facebook posts are excellent at sparking persistent engagement with your target audience. This is particularly true when it comes to things that you really wouldn’t put in an advertisement, but you want your audience to know about nonetheless. After all, your business is more than just the service or product that you’re currently marketing.

For instance, EA and other game publishers create and share unsponsored content that doesn’t directly promote their games. Instead, it sparks interest in related topics, ultimately raising awareness about the product as well.

Organic posts are useful for giving users updates about your company culture, providing links to helpful niche articles, or just making them laugh with a couple of witty jokes now and again. All of that is crucial for keeping users continually engaged.

The best part about that is that users can engage with your content directly by posting comments. And when they do, you’re free to reply and start an actual conversation with them. There’s truly nothing better for building trust in prospective leads.

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Downsides of Organic Advertising

Naturally, there’s a flip side to any coin, which is why even organic Facebook advertising has its downsides:

  • Users must follow your page
  • Lack of targeting

Remember, regardless of how witty, original, and captivating your Facebook content is, if we’re talking about organic posts, users will need to follow your page to see it. Of course, if someone else who follows you shares your content, their friends will see that, but you can’t rely on that mode of user engagement.

That’s why growing a following organically is not as easy as it might seem. Also, audience targeting is practically nonexistent when it comes to organic posts. For such purposes, paid Facebook advertising is undeniably superior.

How to create an effective post to increase organic traffic?

Even though all types of advertising have upsides and downsides, it is crucial to learn how to create content that will attract viewers and increase organic traffic. Here is how to do it in just five steps!

1. Focus on asking the right questions

When was the last time you talked to a stranger? What did you talk about? Can you remember anything specific?

By asking these questions, you are now engaged into remembering something, digging for information. The more you think about it, the more you realize that the focus of that conversation was on asking questions, so you could find out more about the person you were talking to.

The most effective way to drive organic traffic is to create titles that ask important questions, and content of value that provides answers. In over 90% of cases, a user browses the Internet in need of an answer for something they want to find out. Ask yourself, what questions are bothering your clients?

2. The importance of long-tail keywords

When people browse the web, they tend to search phrases that consist of 3 to 5 words. Researching these long-tail keywords is imperative.

When a user is close to a purchase, they will use the selection of words to look for the best product. Let’s say you want to buy an iPhone, but you are on a budget. Here is what you would type in a search query:

  • used iPhones on sale
  • affordable iPhone discounts
  • best prices for iPhones
    Or, if you are hungry, you would probably look for:
  • best burgers in town
  • pizza restaurants nearby
  • What to eat for dinner?

Understanding and mastering these long-tail keywords is the road towards creating efficient posts that drive organic traffic.

3. Look for enticing headlines – and make yours better!

Everything is in the headline. We already talked about the importance of asking the right questions. However, that is just the first step of the process.

Since practice makes perfect, the best approach is to visit some of your favorite websites or buy magazines or catalogs you like to read. Analyze and study their top headlines and look for ways to improve them.

It is also useful to use BuzzSumo. It is a fantastic tool that lets you search any keyword you want and returns most viewed articles and ads on the subject. You can see real-life examples of headlines that attract users.

Next, you can model those headlines to create better ones for your ads.

This is a great practice that will teach you how to create headlines that drive traffic.

4. Having good content is not enough – you need the right angle!

With so many talented writers in the business, creating engaging content becomes challenging. One of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is to spend time researching a topic of interest, and then write about it from your perspective. Give it your own unique spin.

6. It’s all about the consistency

Once you grasp how to create organic posts that drive traffic, you must approach it professionally. It is crucial to be consistent and produce shareable content every day.

The entire process requires a lot of time and effort, but that’s the only way to stay in competition with the rest of the market.

Why Use Paid Advertising

As you might assume, there are plenty of advantages to paid advertising on Facebook as well:

  • Variety of ad formats
  • User targeting
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Revenue growth

We’ve already mentioned this, but there is an ample variety of formats that you can use for paid Facebook ads. There are Instant Experience Facebook ads that can offer an immersive interaction to your target audience, or more straightforward options like video ads.

Regardless of how you wish to reach your customers, Facebook’s paid ads can help you do it professionally and effectively.

Also, paid ads help with the biggest downside of advertising via organic posts, and that’s a lack of audience targeting. When you pay for an ad on Facebook, you can precisely choose who you want to see your content.

Facebook’s insane amount of data on individuals’ interests and purchase habits means that you can instantly get your ads to people who are the hottest leads for your niche. This means a lot more sales than you’d achieve otherwise.

And while organic ads are free, you shouldn’t think that paid ads on Facebook aren’t cost-effective. As a matter of fact, Facebook is one of the most affordable pay-per-click advertising platforms out there. If you want to make sales and drive leads on a tight budget, you can set your caps on ad spending across specific timelines.
You’ll never have to worry about overspending on this ad platform.

The key ideas when preparing content for paid ads

As mentioned above, producing quality content is just the tip of the iceberg. Having talent is great, but you also must learn how to pack it and sell it to the customers.

Picking a topic to write about is the most vital part. The goal is to create something not only interesting, but also useful and informative. People don’t want to waste time reading content of no interest. An average person decides whether to stay on a web page or move forward within 3 to 5 seconds.

If the content has no value, they will not read it. To understand what your customers want, you need poll campaigns to find out their interests.

It is also a good strategy to create infographics and use high quality videos. They are both informative and engaging.

1. Use the right distribution channels

It is simply amazing how the world of social media developed over the past ten years. With so many platforms that people use, you have to be smart when choosing the best one for your ads.

Research statistics on your clients and see what social media platforms they use the most. Furthermore, do a testing session and post the same add on multiple platforms. Observe it every day and see where it gets more views and comments.

Picking the right channel to post your ads may make the difference between going viral and staying invisible.

2. What are your measures of success?

Deciding on your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) is a crucial strategic move. You cannot be successful without knowing what the goals are. Furthermore, this step is vital if you don’t want to lose money.

Understanding the KPIs will help you decide on a budget you will spend for an ad.

To give you an example, let’s say a customer has a value of $1000. If you are promoting a free guide, and about 10% of the customers who download it turn into paying customers, you can do easy math.
10% out of $1000 is $100, and that’s how much you can pay per download in promotion just to break even. If your KPI is cost-per-lead, you can conclude that the expected price per download would be somewhere between $50 to $75.

3. Think about KPIs’ when designing a landing page

The last step is to design your landing page to serve your KPIs. Once the content is prepped and packaged, it needs to be delivered clearly. All elements should be in a visible location, and the CTA button should stand out from the rest.

That’s how you sell an ad to a customer the right way!

Downsides of Paid Ads

You should know that there are a couple of downsides to paid ads as well — for one, you will need to spend time thinking through the analytics of a Facebook campaign.

Otherwise, you could be wasting money on non-deliverable Facebook ads even if you’re following the latest FB advertising trends.


As you may have surmised already, organic and paid Facebook ads aren’t really in opposition.

In reality, they’re both needed if you’re going to maintain an engaging online presence and build brand awareness. While either of them may be better for a specific piece of content, you will need both to remain relevant and visible on Facebook in the long run.

To underline it one more time, it is all about the goals. By understanding what you want to achieve, you will know exactly what type of ads to use, and in what quantity.

Organic ads let you prioritize your loyal fans. You can easily play to their liking and build content that will have a high percentage of success.

They will be entertained, engaged, and enjoy the interactive side of organic ads. Best of all, this strategy is affordable, and, as you slowly build your customer base, the results will be better and better over time.

However, having paid ads also play a crucial role in building your brand. The main benefit is that you can reach a massive pool of potential customers. Paid ads are shown to everyone, not just to the people who liked your page.

Furthermore, with using the wide choice of ad formats, you can be creative, diverse, and break the monotony of everyday Facebook browsing. This strategy will show people that you are ready to invest. That speaks dedication, professionalism, and customer care.

With mixing both organic and paid ads, you can create a perfect setting. While the organic ads play a melody that entices most loyal fans and strengthens your connection with them, paid ads are out there in the wild, “hunting” for any new clients who maybe missed your page somehow. The synergy of both is the best approach to advertise.

About the Author

John Tucker is an email marketing expert and a digital marketing consultant. When he’s not writing about online advertising and advising brands on maintaining a vital presence on the Internet, he enjoys Golden Age cinema and vintage bourbon.

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