Blog > Facebook > Does The Facebook Boost Post Feature Work?

Does The Facebook Boost Post Feature Work?

James Parsons • Updated on November 12, 2023
Written by

Does Facebook Boost Post Work

Facebook’s boost post feature is much maligned, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. Just because it might not be as useful or effective as creating ads through the Power Editor, doesn’t mean it’s completely useless overall. In fact, the boost post feature can be fairly effective.

First: A Case Study

For a case study in boosting posts, I’m looking at this report from Untethered Income. He started with a page with under 300 followers, with an average view count of around 150 per post. He invested $15 in reaching what Facebook claimed would be as many as half a million non-followers who all shared a single interest; music. When his budget was through, he had reached only 9,000 people – much more than normal, but much less than Facebook’s estimates. What’s more, he only received 13 plays of his video, 10 clicks of his link and 6 likes. And Facebook has the gall to ask for nearly $300 more to reach 120,000 people, when his initial $15 was supposed to reach five times that!

Looking beyond the promoted post, we see that very little of permanent worth came from his use of the boost feature. Future posts had slightly more reach than before, but nowhere near what the reach of the promoted post was. They had growing engagement, but that can be chalked up to a growing page.

Analyzing Mistakes

There’s nothing wrong with what Allen did for his boosting a post experiment. In fact, it’s very much what the average user would do when presented with the option. A small fee for what is a promised massive audience seems like it’s too good to be true.

Unfortunately, this is what causes the bad rap the boost post feature suffers under. Here’s where Allen went wrong:

  • His page doesn’t have a lot of weight to it.       What I mean by this is that, with under 300 followers, boosting a post almost has to be set to “non-followers” to reach any significant audience. Even “friends of followers” isn’t very effective.
  • Unfortunately, such wide targeting is ineffective as well, as Allen discovered. Sure, boosting the post brings in a lot of people, but those people aren’t necessarily interested in what he specifically has to say. His video is about noise-cancelling headphones, while he targets – as he says – anyone who likes music. Not everyone who likes music listens with headphones, and not everyone using headphones cares about noise cancelling.       In short, his targeting could have been more specific.
  • He doesn’t say it, so I assume he didn’t specify countries for targeting. This means a large portion of his viewers may have come from nations like India, Bangladesh or China, outside of his area of advertising. A global audience simply doesn’t work when you’re not a global brand.       Very few Facebook pages can pull off targeting outside of their country of origin.

Now, he did a few things right.

  • There was other fresh content on the page to support a promotion. At least, there was a post from the day before and another post later that day.       Unfortunately, there were also several days left blank. A large part of promoting a post is getting users to stick around, and if there’s not a lot of fresh content, there’s not a lot to keep them there.
  • He didn’t continue with the promotion after the initial budget expired. Facebook is, at this point, just trying to sucker you out of more money; it’s a good idea to stop.

The Importance of Targeting

This can all be considered one big object lesson in the importance of targeting, as well as the power of Facebook’s targeting options. Google and other ad networks have some targeting options, but only Facebook has the deep functionality of lookalike audiences, interest targeting, broad and narrow demographics and more.

To make the boost post button work for you, you need to at the very least specify country and interest targeting. If possible, using a custom lookalike audience would greatly enhance the potency of any promotion.

You also need to ignore what Facebook says is the estimated reach. They’re going to inflate the numbers dramatically to entice you to buy, and they’re going to try to give you plausibly realistic numbers to get you to put even more cash into their machine. It’s possible to reach those numbers, just not for any real benefit.

An Alternative

Instead of using the boost post button, you can use a promoted post. To do this, hook up Facebook’s Power Editor and create a new ad using the “page post ad” style. Here you’ll be presented with a menu much like the boost menu, but with more options.

Here, you should limit your targeting to a lookalike audience that shares interests and demographics with your current audience. To create this audience, you can go to the Power Editor and select audiences. Click to make an audience, click to create a lookalike audience, select your page and your country to target, and you’re good to go.

Using this lookalike audience, you can target people who are not already following your page, but who look a lot like the people who do. You can limit your targeting to primarily English-speaking countries – USA, Canada, UK, Australia – or just your country of origin, as applicable.

All of this targeting will give you a smaller number of potential viewers. You won’t see 500,000 – 1,000,000 possible viewers, and that’s a good thing. If your number is too high, you know you’re not getting anything realistic.

The real benefit of running a promoted post rather than a boosted post is that a promoted post can target a specific form of engagement, such as a website click, a page like or a conversion, if you have the tracking pixel installed on your site. Boosted posts are essentially limited to just views as your success metric, which is virtually meaningless.

Nothing against Allen or his case study; it forms a perfect example of what not to do, and saves others from making the same mistakes. Promote posts, don’t boost them.


No comments yet. Be the first!

Leave a Reply