Social networks used to represent the opportunity for marketers to connect more directly with their audience. But the CEO of engage:BDR, Ted Dhanik, argues in an article on Adotas that the rising cost of advertising there has made social prohibitive today. The fact is that there are many variables that play into why Facebook ads aren’t the smart buy they used to be.

Unreliable Data

Facebook’s data delivers metrics on user engagement and social mentions, but this data doesn’t help you discover whether your ads are actually working. You can review conversion data, but there is a missing link between the sale and the user seeing the ad that Facebook doesn’t track. Advertising outside of Facebook frees you to pursue different data points and gather the figures you need to see in order to improve conversions.

It’s not that Facebook is lying to you, it’s that the data it reports isn’t always relevant to you. Not every ad needs a share value to have a success factor, so this metric is less useful than banner advertising analytics that tell you whether a user listened to the audio or video on your site.

User Intent

Facebook is a social network, meaning users come to socialize. If we think of this like a common space in the real world, it’s easy to see how difficult it could be to judge a person’s intentions. For one, that user could be on Facebook for any one of a number of reasons. Not every Facebook user is fully engaged with the network either, leaving out potentially millions or billions of customers you could reach elsewhere. Though Facebook still has value, there is definite reason to seek traffic from other sources like display advertising.