If Facebook plays a part in your social media marketing mix, there’s a high probability you’re familiar with their ad platform. Thanks to Facebook’s EdgeRank (now, Story Bumping, or whatever you’d like to call it) algorithm, only a small selection of your users will see a post at any given time. When you publish a story that starts building great organic engagement, amplifying your exposure to more people becomes the next goal. And this is where Facebook ads come in.
Before I cover that, heed my warning:
Stop “Boosting” Posts!
“But it’s so easy!” – You’ve caught yourself saying. And you’re not alone. Hundreds of thousands of page managers use the ‘Boost Post’ button to increase their post reach. It makes it super easy run a campaign. Just set the general targeting (to your page’s users and location), then the total budget for the promotion. BAM, it’s running until budget or time runs out. It’s so simple and fast! So what’s wrong?
Every time you “boost” a post, a kitten dies. Probably this one.
Facebook Boost Post vs. Promoted Post: What’s the difference?
You can’t target posts properly when you “boost.”
As of May 2014, the Boost Post feature still restricted targeting parameters to a handful of options. Some of the major limitations we’ve found:
- Limited interests targeting
- Broad “fans plus friends of fans” targeting
- No placement or device targeting (Desktop vs. Mobile vs. Column)
- Can’t use custom audience or conversion tracking features
On the other hand, Facebook offers far superior targeting options if you use their self-serve ad tool or Power Editor to set up your ad campaigns rather than depending on the limited options available through your boost button.
When you create precise targets for each ad, you can better determine which audience is performing (engaging/clicking/converting) best for your business. That’s the point, isn’t it? Getting the most for your marketing dollars. One of our favorite parts of online paid advertising is the ability to manage that budget efficiently; boosting Facebook posts takes that opportunity away from you.
You can only run one boosted post at a time.
Measuring success with the Facebook Boost Post method becomes a challenge since only campaign is created at a time. To efficiently control your budget and drive engagement on your page, break out those targeting options! You can make multiple ads per organic Facebook post with different targets (ie. split-testing), and easily pause the ads that don’t perform after a set period of time (say, 24 hours). Try some of these to start:
- Separate ads by age and gender
- Target people who like your competitors
- Separate ads by placement: mobile and desktop; newsfeed and right column
- Create one ad for fans only, and one for those who haven’t liked it yet
- Explore Facebook’s demographics, interest and behavior categories (formerly precise, broad, and partner categories)
And that’s barely making a dent in it.
Boosted Posts are reach based, not objective based.
While reaching more of your current and desired audience is important, there are other business objectives to consider.
Driving in-store traffic? Consider redeemable Facebook “Offers.”
Looking to acquire new leads? Conversion-tracked link posts will do the trick.
Marketing an event? There’s an ad type for that too.
Of course, if generating brand and top-of-mind awareness, or building an engaged community of customers, are priority goals, promoting Facebook posts will serve you best.
Where boosted posts offer a quick fix to reaching more people, allocating 5 – 15 minutes to promote Facebook posts properly in Ads Manager and test targeting will allow you to maximize your total return on ad spend (ROAS). And that’s one acronym we want to use wisely.
Next time you feel compelled to “Boost” the post, reach for the self-serve tool instead. Or call us and let us manage your Facebook marketing campaigns.
Just please, think about the kittens.
*How else can we help? Still have a burning question about Facebook ads (pricing, tactics, success stories, technical issues)? Tell us in the comments what we should cover, or send us a message here for a personalized answer: firstname.lastname@example.org
**Bonus! Take a peek at a presentation we did for the Iowa City Chamber of Commerce’s Expert Edge Series on building and optimizing Facebook ads, based entirely on this post.
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Emily focuses her efforts on the numbers and analysis, with a background in paid advertising and search engine optimization.