The boost post feature on Facebook is the subject of much criticism. It’s a one-click, one-stop shop for pumping money into your posts and getting traffic out of the deal. It’s also the easiest way for Facebook to con people who don’t know any better into dumping money inefficiently into their accounts. People like Jon Loomer hate the boost post button for a few valid reasons, but in this discussion we’re going to give it a fair shake. What’s all the fuss about?
Paying for Reach
First off, to address the issues of the boost posts and promoted posts concepts, you need to address the elephant in the room that is paid reach in general.
See, Facebook wasn’t always all about paying for reach. In fact, for much of its run, your options were to post a free post and get what it brings in, or run an advertisement in the sidebar. Only once they introduced news feed ads did promoted posts become a serious topic of discussion.
Should you promote your posts? A few years ago, the answer might have been a no. You didn’t necessarily need to spend money to bring in visitors, although you could if you wanted to bring in more than normal to a particularly important post.
Nowadays, the answer is typically yes. Posts of any importance should be promoted, as long as you have the budget to do so, because otherwise you’re only going to reach less than 10% of your audience. Paid promotional reach gives you access to many more people, doubling or better your standard reach.
There are, however, a few ground rules to use whether you’re boosting or promoting posts.
- Only promote content you’ve created and posted on your own site. There’s no reason for you to spend money to promote a site that isn’t yours, after all. You might as well just write them a check.
- Only promote content that you believe is helpful to a wide selection of your audience. It’s typically better to promote your non-sales messages over your sales messages, simply because users are more likely to rebel against promoted advertising.
- When possible, promote content that leads to opt-ins for other forms of marketing, particularly your mailing list. This gives you access to your audience through other channels you don’t have to give Facebook money to use.
- Images in promoted posts technically need to adhere to the 20% text rule in Facebook’s grid tool. This is sparsely enforced, so sometimes your images will slip through, and sometimes all it takes is a little tweaking to fix them. For anything time sensitive, keep your text under 20% to ensure your image will work without issues.
Using the boost post button is a simple way to convert money into viewers, but it’s not always the best option. In fact, with a little learning, you can replicate the results and improve upon them with promoted posts. Here’s why boosting a post isn’t ideal.
First, the boost post button is a trap. It’s a honeypot to trap the lazy and the ignorant into spending more money than they should. The window shows you a possible reach for your budget, and allows you to click to show your post to “people who like your page and their friends.” The problem with this is the “and their friends” part. See, most of the friends of the people following you aren’t actually interested in you. You may expand your reach, but your conversion rate goes down.
The alternative, using the “people you choose through targeting” option, is much more effective. The caveat here is that the options Facebook gives you are more limited than what you get through a promoted post. You can target by country, age, gender and interest, and that’s all.
Using the promoted post feature does essentially the same thing as the boost post button, only with a wider range of options. It has a few drawbacks, but the benefits outweigh them.
The most major drawback is that you need to use the Power Editor through Google Chrome. What you’re doing is creating an ad.
Specifically, you will go to the ads creation section and create a Page Post Engagement ad. You can also create a Website Conversions ad for similar results. Select the specific post you want to use as the basis for the ad, and continue. If you have a Facebook Website Conversion Pixel installed for Insights tracking, this is where you specify that tracking information.
Here you’re given a wider array of targeting options than what you’re given with a boosted post. You can use a custom audience, you can limit your ad to certain countries, you can filter by age, gender, language and other demographics, you can filter by interests, and behaviors. Finally, you have more granular options as well, including “only people following my page” and “only people not following my page” depending on the type of engagement you’re looking for.
For a good idea of basic targeting options to use for an effective post, use this for an ad designed to funnel traffic to a new blog post.
- Use a Facebook Page Post ad.
- Place your ad in both desktop and mobile news feeds, but not all of facebook.
- Target countries of relevance, limiting yourself to the top handful. No more than five, unless you’re a truly global brand.
- Select a wide age range or leave the age range open to all ages.
- Enter interests if you have one specific interest to cater to, but be aware that plenty of people have interests they don’t share with Facebook officially; to catch these people, leave interest filtering blank.
- Target specifically people who are connected to your page. People who are friends with those people, or people who are not connected to your page, are much less likely to care about what you have to post.
If you’d rather run a promoted post that attracts new users to like your page, do this:
- Follow the same basic steps as the post above.
- Instead of desktop and mobile news feeds, use the right-hand column option.
- Use your most common demographic targeting, including locations and interests. A lookalike audience, if you generate one, can work well. You can save this custom audience for use in the future.
- Specify your target as “only people not connected to my page” to reach people who haven’t like your page already.
From there, for both types of post, it’s a matter of setting your budget to an acceptable level.