Facebook Ads: When Is Paying For Engagement Worth It?

Before Facebook Ads introduced its advertising platform, brands had to count on naturally increasing their social following.

In 2022, Facebook (and its sister platform, Instagram) is a pay-to-play marketplace. You may struggle to reach a broader audience without paying for advertising.

Whether you are starting a new company or an established brand, you may want to consider paying for engagement through social platforms.

But how do you know when it’s worth spending?

Brand new and share on Facebook

Every company has to start somewhere with social media. If you’re a new brand, you may be under pressure to grow — and quickly.

How do you do that without following?

You might hope to create viral-worthy content, but relying on this tactic alone for growth isn’t realistic for most people.

We now know that the organic engagement of Page posts can range from anywhere 0.05% to 0.29%, according to We Are Social. With such extremely low rates, you will be hard pressed to get attention on your social content even with a large following.

So, when is it worth paying to participate?

Some examples of why you should pay to participate include:

  • To quickly build a new audience and follow up.
  • Amplify the content among your existing audience (if it exists at all).
  • You want to have the ability to create remarketing strategies through engagement.

If you have the budget available, paying for engagement can be a cost-effective way to raise awareness rather than opting for “sales” or “traffic” goals.

Is your marketing budget too tight right now? You have free options available.

Facebook has an “invite to follow” feature for Pages. This is a free way to get additional page share.

However, the Invite to Follow feature comes with limitations.

One downside is that you can only invite 200 friends per day. This means that you have to choose personal friends to like the page, and they may not be your target audience.

Perhaps this tactic is not suitable for brands that want to reach the national level rather than small and medium-sized businesses.

Existing brands and sharing on Facebook

Think you don’t have to pay for exposure if your brand already has a large following?

Think again.

As mentioned earlier in this article, organic reach to existing followers is minimal. What does it mean?

Your followers that you worked so hard to earn will probably never see your content!

For established brands, the reasons for paying for participation may be different than for up-and-coming brands. Some of these reasons may include:

  • Expand your organic reach.
  • Exposing your posts to your expanded audience network.
  • Teach or inspire your audience.

Facebook users aren’t looking for sale offers everywhere they turn. However, this is unfortunately the case for many individuals.

By focusing less on getting the sale to the end user, you will actually stand out from your competitors.

Showing that you have a consistent presence on social media platforms allows your audience to connect with you. The more users associate with brands, the more loyal they are to them.

Choose a link target

Now that you know why paid engagement is so important on Facebook, let’s dive into how to set up engagement campaigns.

Facebook recently simplified its campaign goals.

If you’re looking to create a following and social media strategy, choosing the “engagement” goal might be worth it.

Screenshot taken by the author, February 2022

Right now, the campaign goal is only one piece of the puzzle. What’s more important is the content you create and amplify.

In previous experience, video content usually has lower costs per interaction, than static images or clickable links.

why is that?

If you take a step back and think about where you are reaching your users, they are on a social media platform. They are there to engage with content from their friends, family, and brands.

Facebook does not like users to abandon their platform. Standard static content with clickable links will usually do just that – which means Facebook will charge a premium for this type of content.

No wonder your promotional flyers just aren’t working for you!

By focusing on what really matters to your users, be it a useful tip, a tool, or the mission behind your brand, try to focus on video format content with the lowest cost per interaction.

Facebook paid engagement strategies

We now know which type of content is the least expensive, so let’s take a look at some ways to get the most engagement for your budget.

1. Start with a broad audience

You may be prone to targeting who you think is your target audience right away. However, narrow audiences usually have higher costs associated with it.

By starting with a broad audience, you can then narrow your audience based on the engagement metrics for your ads.

2. Create Remarketing Audiences

The beauty of engagement ads is that you can further segment your users based on how they interact with you.

For example, your first campaign targets a wide audience with a video ad. From there, you can create remarketing audiences on the post like so:

  • Video viewership.
  • Likes, comments, shares and saves.

This style of engagement will allow you to reach a broad audience at scale, and then re-acquaint engaged users with your brand in a cost-effective manner.

3. Don’t just use promotional flyers

If you’re starting with a cold audience, don’t send promotional fliers to them.

They don’t know enough about you or your products to want to click on your ads, let alone make a purchase!

Instead, save promotional posts for your loyal customers or warm remarketing audience.

Additionally, keep promotions to a minimum if you’re able to. If your only competitive point is your prices, you may end up unintentionally undervaluing your brand.

Unpaid Engagement Tactics

At some point, your brand will likely sign up for paid engagement advertising. However, there are many ways you can engage with your audience on Facebook that don’t come in the form of ads.

Some of these unpaid methods can include:

  • Respond to users in comments or direct messages (DMs).
  • Ask questions in your posts to encourage engagement.
  • Keep posts short and sweet.
  • Consistently post interesting and relevant content.


Social media, especially Facebook, is now paid. There is no getting around it.

The rules behind organic posting and advertising on Facebook have changed tenfold since it was first created.

No matter what stage your brand is at, it’s essential to stay current on strategies and tactics that can complement your organic efforts.

Create a paid and organic social media strategy that makes sense for your brand. Create content that is realistic and relevant to your audience.

Most importantly, be consistent in your efforts, and you will see the intense efforts in building your brand in the long run.

More resources:

  • 12 Facebook Ads Features Every Marketer Should Know
  • Here’s how Meta will change Facebook ad targeting for 2022
  • How to Advertise on Facebook: A Beginner’s Guide

Featured image: Sasha Ka/Shutterstock

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