Don't Boost! Promote Facebook Posts Properly

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Don’t Boost! Promote Facebook Posts Properly to Increase Reach

Don't Boost Facebook Promoted Posts

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?

 

Don't Kill This Kittne

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.

In Conclusion:

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: social@wearesculpt.com

**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.

Don't Boost: Making The Most Out Of Facebook Ads from Sculpt
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Emily Martens

Lead, Digital Strategy and Client Success at Sculpt

Emily focuses her efforts on the numbers and analysis, with a background in paid advertising and search engine optimization.

16 comments
westlightimages
westlightimages

I'm a bit confused on what option/s might be best for trying to get people to go to my actual website to hopefully sign up for a photography workshop. As I understand it the "Promote Page" option drives people (hopefully) to your FB Page and not specifically to the post and ultimately to the website page?


I was about to hit the "boost post" button then read this article which i thank you for. Still going to do some digging/reading but thought I'd pose the question here.


I do want to grow the number of people going to my FB page too but that's not the important thing at the moment.


Thanks

EliseHealthyFit
EliseHealthyFit

I think it's important to share my experience so far and let you know that Facebook advertising is a waste of your money and a scam.  We're hosting a giveaway and had 521 Organic views on the giveaway post for the last two weeks.  In an effort to get more volume to our page and more people entering the contest, I decided to boost the post by paying $15.  As of right now $1.12 of that $15 is gone and I still have the 521 post views, but now it's saying 293 of those are organic and the remaining 228 are from the paid boost.  So ultimately they just changed my Insights so that it looked as if almost half of the people that viewed that post were from the boost.  If I hadn't waited 2 weeks to boost the post I probably wouldn't have known.  I'm going to be posting this comment onto multiple blogs to get the word out - do not waste your hard earned money (no matter how little $15 may seem) on these scam artists and thieves.  I'm certainly going to keep the Facebook Page up, but they will never get another dime from me.

ScottNash
ScottNash

Do you recommende PE for first time users? If not which of facebook's options would you recommend?

Thanks

RobSaxe24
RobSaxe24

Just found this..thanks it helps!

TheresaGee
TheresaGee

@EliseHealthyFit  Facebook has so many bugs, I wouldn't chalk this up to any conspiracy to take your cash--more likely just dumb Facebook. I have had great success on the platform even though my numbers don't completely add up all the time. 

WeareSculpt
WeareSculpt moderator

@EliseHealthyFit  Thanks for sharing your story. @JonLoomer shared a similar insight (about organic reach manipulation after a paid boost) on his blog a couple months back. That is an unfortunate story, and I'm sorry to hear you've lost all faith in the platform. The whole purpose behind this post (which we'll be majorly updating soon) is not to give up on Facebook ads, but to instead explore it deeper. The "Boost" feature lets Page admins quickly reach a larger audience. What you give up is the ability to experiment with robust targets and use real data to influence what works best. 

Since your blog covers a specific topic with a large potential audience, I could see highly-targeted, interest and demographic-based Facebook advertising working wonders! The "Custom Audience" feature (the ability to upload and target your subscriber list and similar fans) could be a lucrative area of opportunity too. To take full advantage of those opportunities, you will want to play with Facebook's Ads Manager or Power Editor.


Lastly -- and please correct me if I mistakenly found the wrong Page -- it appears that a "share" call-to-action was part of your contest entry. Please note that this violates Facebook's terms and conditions, and although rare, could result in them cutting off your paid reach campaign early.


Hope that helped!


- J



WeareSculpt
WeareSculpt moderator

@ScottNash  Thanks for your question! Facebook has *finally* overhauled their Power Editor tool, making it much friendlier to beginners. With that said, Facebook's basic Ads Manager (https://www.facebook.com/ads/manage/) has most of the bells and whistles, and would be a better place to start learning. Happy to elaborate if requested!

WeareSculpt
WeareSculpt moderator

@chrisescars  Yikes! Sorry to hear that. We've had tremendous success with Facebook's ad tools, but always recommend our clients stay away from the "boost" button; hence the topic of this post. The boost button's purpose is to help you reach more fans, at the expense of complete administrative control. I would highly recommend setting up campaigns through the Ads Manager or Power Editor next time. - J

ScottNash
ScottNash

@WeareSculpt @ScottNash

Since posting here the first time I have learned a boat load of things that I can do to get our message out. Some example are; How to use my personal profile to introduce our business to folks that come to my personal page. 2nd, how to use the like box that Facebook offers to capture our website traffic and allow them to like our business page. 3rd. What types of posts we should be posting to be more relatable to our fans. ( It's not always about selling your product). and last , How to use Graph search in your favor. I just thought that I would pass these tips on to others that are looking for a way to grow your likes.

melquiades2
melquiades2

@WeareSculpt @chrisescars I'm not sure what's all the fuss around boosted posts.  We use it on a regular basis and if you need more reach, which is sometimes the case, it's fast and easy and does return results.  But about your advice to use PE: can you run an ad for a post on your brand's wall?  Yes, you can use a post content to create an ad, but if you use PE, I don't think that it'll be linked to that particular post, or will it? You will end up creating an ad that is separate from your post and your post will be left unseen - no clicks, no views, no likes. If I'm wrong please do let me know thank you!

RobSaxe24
RobSaxe24

@WeareSculpt @RobSaxe24  Frankly, I'm a little shocked how much targeting I'm able to do with Power Editor.  How the hell do they have that much info on us?? LOL  PE wasn't that easy to figure out and I suspect that if you don't feel you're a tech person you might just want to hire the folks from this site to do it for you..it seems as if, right now, it would be a good investment.

Got my ad started and we'll see how it does.

Thanks again!

melquiades2
melquiades2

@ScottNash @WeareSculpt Has Graph Search deployed everywhere? I certainly can't use it - not one single natural search term combination will work in the search box, which was the initial promise.  To me this Graph Search looks like another butched project.

WeareSculpt
WeareSculpt moderator

@RobSaxe24 It certainly doesn't help that the entire PE dashboard has changed all over again. Power Editor is not for everyone, but if you're serious about investing in the paid platform, and truly understand your audience and goals, it's the best (free) solution for launching and split-testing targeted campaigns. Facebook is discovering more and more about its users everyday. Every action -- from page likes, profile updates and day-to-day interactions -- help them learn more. Their relationships with partners that have access to transactional data add another interesting layer. 


It is a bit scary. But once you fully realize the capability and control you possess, it's incredibly powerful.


Thanks for commenting!