Posted 06.17.2018 by Josh Krakauer

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

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.

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 ever-changing algorithm, only a small selection of your fans 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?

How does Facebook Boost Post work?

When you click the Boost Post button, Facebook creates a new Facebook ad campaign for the post you want to promote. That Facebook campaign is optimized for “Post Engagements”, which means reactions, comments, and shares. After you enter your desired targeting, total budget, duration, payment method and you’re off to the races. Most people set it and forget it at this point, and the results vary.

Facebook Boost Post vs. Promoted Post: What’s the difference?

Truthfully, “boosting”, “promoting”, or “amplifying” a post implies the same thing. After Facebook introduced the feature, the marketing and business community started using “Boost” as a catch-all for Post Engagement ads on Facebook.

The biggest technical difference between the Boost Post button and manually promoting a post through Ads Manager is the number of targeting and bidding options. With Boosted Posts, your targeting criteria is limited and all settings are rolled up into one campaign.

As of 2018, the Boost Post feature still restricted targeting to a small list of options. Some of the major limitations we’ve found:

  • Limited to interests targeting, and not advanced demographic and behavioral options
  • Broad fans plus “friends of fans” targeting
  • No placement or device targeting (Desktop vs. Mobile vs. Column)
  • Limited duration of ad flights; there’s no ongoing option
  • 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 advertising is the ability to manage that budget efficiently; boosting Facebook posts takes that opportunity away from you.

With Boosted Posts, your ad reaches one audience at a time.

Learning something new about your audience with the Facebook Boost Post method becomes a challenge. To efficiently control your budget while maximizing learning, break out those targeting options! With Ads Manager, you can create multiple ads from one published (organic) Facebook post by breaking out different targeting parameters and running them head-to-head (i.e. split-testing). Then, you can easily pause the ads that don’t perform after the ad has optimized (give it at least 2-3 days, or after 2,000 people reached).

Want to learn something new with your ads? Try some of these targeting experiments to start:

  • Separate audiences by age and gender
  • Target people who like your competitors
  • Separate ads by placement: mobile and desktop; audience network, newsfeed and right column
  • Retarget people recently on your website with the Facebook Pixel
  • Target people with Facebook’s various demographics, interest and behavior categories

And that’s barely making a dent in the Facebook ad universe.

Boosted Posts are reach based, not lower-funnel 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 pixel-tracked link posts or native lead forms will do the trick.
  • Marketing an event? There’s an ad type for that too.

Of course, if generating brand and upper funnel awareness or building an engaged community of customers are priority goals, promoting Facebook posts with the Post Engagement objective 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.

Frequently Asked Questions about Boosting Posts

We get loads of questions about Facebook ads from thousands of visitors per month. Here are some of the frequently asked questions.

How do I boost political ads?

In 2018 Facebook launched a new policy that requires admins to get authorized before running political ads on Facebook and Instagram. We wrote a guide for how to get authorized that may help.

Why can’t I boost my post?

If you are having trouble boosting a post, you might be missing correct payment information, the right role permissions, or acceptable content for promotion. From our experience, it boils down to one of those. You can find a broader list of possible culprits on Facebook’s Help article.

Can I edit my post after it’s been boosted?

You can edit your audience, duration, budget, post text, or Instagram placement after a post has been boosted. For a long time this feature was completely unavailable to advertisers.

Are you receiving “0 people” after boosting a post?

If you are seeing zero people reached, your boosted post is not being shown. Your ad may still be in the approval queue, which is especially common if this is your first boosted post. In some circumstances, it may be necessary to duplicate your ad and start over. Note: This sequence can not be performed with the “Boost Post” interface.

Will I get charged the total budget if I stop my boosted post early?

No! Your total budget is the maximum dollar amount you will spend if you let the Boosted Post run its course. If you stop the campaign early, so will your payment.

Can I boost a personal Facebook post?

At one point, interestingly, you could. Alas, this option is limited to pages only now.

How do I make my post eligible to be boosted if there’s too much text?

As of 2018, Facebook will run your post as an ad if there’s more than 20% text in the image or thumbnail. That’s good news! However, Facebook will limit your distribution (reach) significantly if it’s well above the 20% figure. You can use the Grid text overlay tool to test it. The best way to get it to run is to re-post the link, image, or video with a different thumbnail.

Still have a burning question about Facebook ads budgeting, campaign strategies, targeting tactics, success stories, or technical issues? Sculpt is a full-service social media marketing team with experience managing successful Facebook campaigns ranging from $500 to $50,000 in monthly ad spend.

Create an effective Facebook campaign strategy for your business:

speak to a strategist

Looking for great Facebook ads resources? Here are a few of our favorites:

Facebook Blueprint
Facebook’s IQ Blog
Facebook’s Business Manager resource center
Jon Loomer’s Blog
Jason How’s Ads to Profits Blog

Some great Facebook Advertising Facebook Groups:

– Facebook Ad Buyers
– Local FB Ad Buyers
– Facebook Marketing Principles

Josh Krakauer

Josh Krakauer is the CEO of Sculpt, that social media agency you just discovered. He uses words and pictures to make people smile, laugh, think, and buy.

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