Editor's Note: This article was edited to reflect that Mastodon did not absorb Gab in 2019, its users migrated to Mastodon.

The Gist

  • Power tool. Social media advertising is a powerful and effective tool for businesses, especially when targeting specific audiences.
  • Mastodon or Facebook? Mastodon falls short for businesses due to its lack of advertising support and decentralized structure, while Facebook offers highly targeted ad packages and valuable insight to advertisers.
  • Generate revenue. While Mastodon offers a personal level of customer connection, businesses looking to generate revenue through advertising should stick with Facebook for its profitability.

Social media has become one of the most powerful tools businesses can leverage for advertising. Dollar for dollar, advertising on social media generates better results when targeting a specific audience.

Advertising on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram tends to put products directly in front of people who are interested in them. Television advertising is a means of reaching large numbers of people simultaneously, but it is not as targeted as a social media campaign.

Power Digital Marketing notes in an article that social media advertising allows the ad creators to tailor messages aimed at specific users of the platform. This allows for a better sales-to-ad dollars ratio at the end of the day.

Recently we have seen a plethora of new social media sites popping up. From MeWe and Parler to Mastodon, there have been a wide variety of choices for individuals and businesses to choose from.

The most popular models are, of course, Twitter and Facebook. However, Mastodon is gaining in popularity among individuals seeking a platform that is open source and decentralized. However, according to the Verge, the decentralization has actually caused a headache in terms of censoring hate speech on the site.   

Back in 2019 many users from, Gab, what has been called a far-right social media site, migrated to Mastodon. When the Verge asked Eugen Rochcko, the founder of Mastodon, how he intended to combat the offensive posts, his reply left many people frustrated. "You have to understand it’s not actually possible to do anything platform-wide because it’s decentralized. I don’t have the control.

The Case for Facebook: Delivering for Advertising

Facebook has been a go to source for advertising in the business world for over a decade. Its targeted ad packages promise businesses their products will be placed directly in front of users who actually want to buy the product.

While most of us hate having ads pop up every fourth post in our news feed, the company has delivered on its promise to advertisers. Facebook also has algorithms in place to limit hateful speech from users, and while those algorithms often err on the side of caution, they are intended to curb posts promoting violence.

Related Article: What Social Media Trends to Expect for 2023

The Case Against Mastodon: No Advertising Opportunities

Mastodon, on the other hand, does not offer an advertising platform to businesses. The network feels like a cross between Facebook and Twitter, with post length kept to only 500 characters. This gives users the ability to post a more complete thought than Twitter, but keeps them from publishing a book in your news feed at the same time.

The Case for Facebook: Valuable Insights

While Facebook's business model underwent a shift some years back to make it focus more on business than social connection, that shift has played an important part in advertising for businesses. While people still connect socially on the site, the information they allow Facebook to track provides valuable insight to advertisers.

Related Article: What Is Mastodon, the Red-Hot Open Source Twitter Rival

Learning Opportunities

The Case Against Mastodon: No Commercial Benefits

Mastodon's network centers around users connecting with each other. Each instance of the network has its own nuances and differences from every other instance. There is no central data bank or server that powers the whole thing. Instead, users host instances on their own equipment, which eliminates a huge portion of overhead costs to the creators of the network.

In November of 2022, Fortune pointed out that Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter caused the network to lose thousands of users. However, while many of them fled to Mastodon, those with businesses found themselves in a bind.

Mastodon promotes itself as "a social network that's not for sale." Because of this, advertising is a no-go on the site. This brings business owners and advertising managers to a crossroads in decision making.

While Mastodon is a great place to connect with other people, it is not designed to be beneficial in a commercial sense. Facebook is designed to support advertising and target ads to niche groups with surprising accuracy.

Because of this, Mastodon falls short of being the useful tool many business owners had hoped it would be. While an account can be created for free on the platform, there are no targeted ad packages and businesses will have to settle for broadcasting their products in hopes that someone sees their post and actually wants to buy.

One Plus for Mastodon: Connecting to Customers on Personal Level

The one thing Mastodon does offer to business owners is the opportunity to connect with their customer base on a personal level. While ads are not supported, a business owner can make an account and use it to connect with customers and develop relationships outside the traditional supply and demand roles.

Business owners looking to generate revenue through advertising need to consider the impact of moving to a network like Mastodon. By migrating away from Facebook and Twitter, you could actually be hurting your potential revenue growth.

Ultimately, the Pluses Are in Facebook's Favor

At the end of the day, if you are a business owner looking for a way to promote your products to a niche market, Mastodon is not your friend. Facebook on the other hand offers very targeted ad packages that can help you accomplish your goal.

Because of this, Facebook is a hands down winner when compared to Mastodon in terms of being profitable for business.

fa-solid fa-hand-paper Learn how you can join our contributor community.