Facebook Page Versus Website – Who Wins
Like many small business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and self-employed people you’ve more than likely created a Facebook Page before turning your attention to a website.
You may even be wondering if you need a website now that you have a Facebook page.
In this article, I will compare Facebook Pages with Websites and see if I can answer some of the most common questions around this topic.
Is a Facebook Page Better Than a Website?
Well, that depends on what you are trying to achieve. The first thing to do then is to look at some data concerning Facebook.
Facebook is huge. It has more than a one and a half billion accounts and is by far the most popular social network in existence. It is no wonder so many businesses have flocked to Facebook and have created their own Facebook Pages.
In a 2015 Facebook for Business article, Facebook revealed that more than 40 million businesses have Facebook Pages. In 2018, Facebook stated the number of Facebook Pages was in the region of 80 million.
Fast forward to 2020. According to Facebook’s, about page, 160 million businesses use their platform and are thus competing for your attention.
How many posts from businesses do you see on your newsfeed? How many business pages have you liked? How much competition does your business have on Facebook?
The fact is, you have a tremendous amount of competition for your market’s attention. This competition does not only come from other businesses but also your market’s friends.
The famous Facebook Newsfeed is packed full of posts, ads, images, videos, etc. it is a hamster wheel that scrolls rather than rotates and not only is it busy but by its nature, it has been shortening people’s attention spans.
Your business has to cut through the noise incredibly well just to get a little attention in the form of likes, comments and shares.
Why do people spend so much time on Facebook?
Lets for a moment forget that Facebook has copied gambling methods to make itself highly addictive and look at the other reasons people spend time on the platform.
Most people on Facebook have friends and family on the platform. While users do interact and follow their favourite brands, they primarily use Facebook to stay up to date with friends and family and share the widest array of content under the sun.
So the user intent is, for the most part, to stay in touch and to share things with others. From time to time the content shared is the content of brands and other businesses but this is not a primary intent.
Going back to what I said in the section above on competition… your business has to put out some pretty eye-catching content in order to get noticed and have a very well thought out message to get engagement. Why? Because most people don’t like adverts and lots of commercial content.
Facebook Page Organic Reach
This brings me to the next point about Facebook Pages. How many of your Page’s followers do you reach with your posts?
According to a 2017 BuzzSumo study, Facebook posts created by brands and publishers has fallen steeply.
Another study suggested the average reach for organic Facebook posts was only 6.4% of a Page’s total likes. There have been other claims that the number is actually closer to 2%.
Now declining organic reach has been around for some time. The fact is, Facebook is an Advertising Platform. Facebook’s end users are you and me but Facebook’s clients are businesses.
If organic reach is cut then businesses have to rely on paid advertising and Facebook others this aplenty. If you want to get eyeballs on your content these days you can boost your posts, run ‘Like’ campaigns or targeted ads among other options.
Facebook Page Visibility & Reach Costs
Now let’s look at the cost of those ads. For many, Facebook advertising is seen as a cheap form of advertising which is often cheaper than Google ads. It can be more complex in some ways though.
According to WebFX, average Facebook costs per click are $0.97 (R16.30) or $7.19 (R120.74) per 1000 impressions. There are also other types of advertising pricing models as you can see in the table below.
|Advert Bidding Model||Average Facebook Ad Costs|
|Cost-Per-Click (CPC)||$0.97 (R16.30)|
|Cost-Per-Thousand-Impressions (CPM)||$7.19 (R120.74)|
|Cost-Per-Like (CPL)||$1.07 (R17.97)|
|Cost-Per-Download (CPA)||$5.47 (R91.85)|
Right so let’s crunch a few numbers. As a South African small business trying to reach a thousand Page Likes you would need to spend R 17 970. At 6.4% your organic reach on those 1000 page likes will be 64.
So R 17 970 will help you reach 64 people on an organic basis. This, of course, will further decrease in time if you don’t post regularly and maintain good levels of engagement.
Now I am only giving you the example of a ‘Like’ campaign because it is comparable, to some degree, with building an emailing list from your website.
Subscribers, Leads, and Sales
What do businesses want?
Growth, expansion, continuation or more simply, survival to a high degree for as long as possible.
How do businesses grow? They accumulate identities (subscribers, leads, and sales) in order to then offer their products and services in exchange for money and support.
Money and support is the lifeblood of any business. If a business cannot exchange its production in sufficient quantities then it will fail sooner or later. The current local scene paints a very clear picture of this.
How do you accumulate money and support? Well, you need the single most valuable business resource. Identities! Identities mean the name and contact details of a living breathing person.
So how does this work when it comes to a Facebook Page versus a Website?
As I covered earlier, increasing ‘Likes’ on a Facebook Page is much like building an email list on a website. However, when it comes to Facebook you don’t really have control over those identities, Facebook does.
When it comes to mailing lists built using your website you have a much greater degree of control over those identities subject of course to their consent.
On Facebook, your organic reach dwindles rapidly. Thus the potential to market to and generate revenue from those who have liked your page evaporates.
By comparison, identities collected through your website, with the permission of those identities, have a much higher value.
According to Campaign Monitor, email marketing ROI (Return on Investment) can be as high as 4400% or R 44 for every R1 spent if you do it right.
Additionally, with Facebook, you are having to reach your followers through a third party and you have zero control over how your posts are delivered.
With your own emailing lists whether new subscribers, leads from enquiry forms or existing customers, you get to control what you send, when you send it and to whom you send it.
The bigger your lists of identities are the better able you are to generate money and support. This is the secret to the success and size of Facebook, Google, Amazon, Takealot, Banks, etc. and any other large organization.
The more identities you control the more money you can make.
The next point is the Brand Experience. This is pretty simple to discuss.
A professional website designed with clear goals in mind will always win when it comes to the brand experience. This is because when someone is on your website they are in front of your brand only and you have complete control over how you present your brand.
On a Facebook Page, you have very little control over how your brand is presented and Facebook’s brand is always front and centre.
When on Facebook, it’s like standing in front of your prospect trying to hold their attention while a massive blue giant stands behind you. Who do you think is really top of mind?
So is a Facebook Page better than a website? No way!
Now I realize in some of the earlier points above, I did not talk about websites as much as Facebook. I will, however, do so in the next section.
What is the difference between a Website and a Facebook Page?
The table below will give you a brief idea of how a website compares to a Facebook Page. Following the table, I will discuss each point in a bit more detail.
|Different Pages (Tabs)||Unlimited||Limited|
|Customisable Design||Yes (Unlimited)||Yes (Cover & Logo Only)|
|Content Visibility||Indefinite||Short Term|
|Cost to Setup||FREE & Paid||FREE|
|Cost of Traffic||FREE & Paid||FREE & Paid|
|Brand Impact||Unlimited & Customizable||Very Limited|
A website allows you to set up as many pages or tabs as you like. If you have 10 products or 100, you can create a web page for each and discuss and present them with as much detail and creativity as you like.
Furthermore, you can implement guided experiences which move your visitors from one page to the next. This gives you the opportunity to interest your visitors in your offerings, to educate them about the benefits of your solutions, to answer any questions they may have, then to turn them into a prospect and finally close the sale.
This is a user journey or a marketing and sales funnel, or online selling process. Call it what you will, but your website gives you the opportunity to create amazing user experiences that are aligned to business goals.
See if you can do this with a Facebook Page.
On May 19 2020, Facebook announced that small businesses could now sell online using Facebook Shops. This feature is only natural considering that Facebook is an Advertising Platform and with will further tie people into the Facebook ecosystem and increase advert delivery.
But once again, you as a business have very limited control over how you sell and create a user experience. Personally, I see this feature as a secondary sales outlet. You always want to have as many sales points as possible. So it is not so much a case of choosing to sell using a website instead of a Facebook Shop but rather using both.
Once again, with a website, you will be able to create a much better more branded experience and also attain a far higher level of control over communication with your customers.
While I have already mentioned unlimited web pages and user experience in connection with websites, there is more to be said about the design of a website.
A Facebook Page allows you to add a cover banner and a page logo. That is the extent of your branding besides the addition of any branding on your posts. The rest is the big blue giant.
With a website, you get full control over how your brand is presented. A website gives you an opportunity to be more than a logo and a banner. You get to showcase your brand with words, images, colour, your people, your philosophy and in any other way that you choose to.
When someone is on your website, you are the giant and you have an opportunity to hold their attention.
Getting someone’s attention is the first thing you must do when it comes to selling, whether online or offline. You have to get noticed before you can be heard.
The life of a Facebook post is a short one. Once you click that ‘post’ button you are sending out a kite in a hurricane. While you may be able to repeat your posts the reality is their visibility is seldom more than a few hours or a day if you are lucky.
The sheer volume of posts on Facebook combined with Facebook’s algorithms means that the vast majority of your posts are seen by only a few.
This gives rise to a need to post frequently and continuously look for more creative ways to get engagement and so reach more people and extend the life of your posts.
This hamster wheel effect is not exclusive to Facebook but is part and parcel of most social networks.
Your website, on the other hand, allows content to be accessed almost indefinitely. Pages can be made to be highly visible using good menu and navigation structure, while your blog posts live permanently in an archive that can be accessed in a number of ways.
A single piece of content that is well written has the potential to bring in tens of thousands of visitors every month for years to come. You cannot say this about a social post.
When it comes to content visibility your website allows for a much longer happier and potentially more valuable life.
Cost to Setup
You can set up a website or a Facebook Page for free.
In both these cases, you will be relying on a third party however, as free websites are only available on third-party platforms like Wix, WordPress.com, Google, etc.
Where you wish to have control over your website you will have to invest something. Now, this can be as low as R 100 p/m for a hosting account. You can then install WordPress which is free software and build yourself a website.
This is still better than relying on a Facebook page if you are willing to take the time to learn how to effectively design a website.
Otherwise, you can hire a professional website designer to build you that marketing and selling machine that is a professional website.
With a website, you can name it after your brand. You cannot do this with a Facebook Page.
Cost of Traffic
If you are using a Facebook Page as a website then naturally you will want to generate traffic. With a website you may typically use any number of advertising channels whether Google or Bing Ads, Facebook ads or even niche advertising networks.
You may also be working on your content and SEO in order to generate organic traffic. If you have an affiliate program you will be benefiting from additional referral traffic too.
With a Facebook page you will have to rely on Facebook Ads to drive traffic. As far as organic Facebook page traffic goes, well you are going to have to live with some disappointment here because you won’t get much without very regular posting combined with ads and post boosting.
Your actual cost of generating traffic will probably depend on your budget. The number of visits, clicks, impressions, etc. are the things that will vary. What you are going to have to weigh up is which platform helps you generate more leads and more importantly sales.
Websites win hands down when it comes to brand impact. The fact is, when someone is on your Facebook page your brand does not command exclusive attention. Remember the big blue giant I mentioned earlier?
A website allows you complete creative control over how you present your brand. You don’t have to compete for attention on your own website and attention is a key ingredient for real online success.
Attention value is of course connected to brand impact but it goes further.
On a Facebook page, there are many links, images, and videos vying for attention. You have no control over the vast majority of these links, images and videos so you cannot remove distractions and temptations.
Your website is a much less noisy place than Facebook and as such you will probably get a greater share of your visitor’s attention.
This attention gives you a chance to actually communicate with a person and create interest in your brand, your products, and services.
An identity consists of personal details of a person freely given.
Someone who fills in a lead form or signs up for a mailing list or better still, purchases a product is considered an identity.
Now an identity who has purchased from you has more value than one who has not but all identities are important in that it allows you to communicate further at any time.
On a Facebook page, an identity is collected when someone likes your page or messages you. A person that likes your page has less value than someone who has messaged you.
Depending on which Facebook stats you believe, your organic reach (posts seen by those who ‘like’ your page) is between 2% – 6%. This is a pretty poor number. You see Facebook limits what people see in their feeds. If they engage a lot with your page and post then chances are they will see more. If they don’t engage then Facebook stops showing them your content.
Identities given through your website give you greater control and emails typically have higher open rates than organic Facebook traffic. In many ways, Facebook pages are like email lists, only you don’t really control them and you have no say over how your content is delivered and its visibility.
It is this lack of control on Facebook that once again gives your website an edge and makes identities collected on a website more valuable.
Can I use my Facebook Page as a Website?
The short answer is yes, you can use your Facebook Page as a website, however it comes with many limitations.
If you skipped to this part of the article before reading the content above then I suggest you read the whole article and then ask yourself if you really want to use a Facebook page as a website.
While you can get away with using a Facebook page as a website it is not really a great idea, certainly not in the long term.
If you are just starting out then by all means start a Facebook page. However, make sure to plan for setting up a website too. In the long run, and used correctly, a website is far more valuable to your marketing and sales efforts. While this may not be the case for every business it is for the vast majority of businesses.
Two Final Thoughts on Websites Verses Facebook Pages.
These last two points are very much my own opinion, though the first of them has plenty of data to support it.
Facebook has privacy issues.
Now to go into all of the details in this article would be to go way off topic so I won’t be doing that. However, it is important that you realise that this issue exists. In fact it exists even if you don’t have a Facebook account.
When you have your own website you can look after the privacy of your visitors. This is a trust thing. It is interesting that a PWC study found that 87% of people would take their business elsewhere should they find a company has been irresponsible with their personal data.
Sales is all about trust.
Not having a website makes your business smaller and somehow less trustworthy.
This is my personal opinion. It has nothing to do with the fact that I build websites for a living. It is just that I would seldom do business with someone who does not have a website.
This is because I like to learn more about who I am doing business with and for me a website is a great way to do this. To me a business without a website is less trustworthy because it takes a little effort to set one up, certainly more than a Facebook page.
This means the business looks more established which increases trust. If the website also looks professional then that increases trust further and says that this is a business who is interested, if not proud of what they do. A website that also looks like it has been around for a while tells me the company has some longevity which says they know something about being in business and are doing something right, can you say, “more trust”?
So that about does it. What do you think? Do you think a website is better? Have you had greater success with a Facebook page? I would love to know.
Let me know in the comments.