What’s the Difference Between a Boosted Facebook Post and a Paid Facebook Ad?

EAG, June 19, 2019

In early 2018, Facebook changed the way their algorithm works to encourage peer-to-peer communication at the expense of how many people a company may be able to reach, even if a person “likes” that particular small business.

All that to say that ­­– on Facebook anyway – if you’re not paying to reach an audience, your posts are nearly worthless. Don’t post a Throwback Thursday. Don’t ask for likes, comments, and shares. Don’t pass go (but maybe spend the $200 instead). Sorry about that.

Unless you’re paying to reach a target audience of new people or fans, only 2-5% of your followers will see that update. It’s the new normal reach on Facebook. And that’s why you need to stop wasting your time with your unpaid Facebook postings, and start using Facebook’s ad platform to get the job done.

Let’s back up and look at what Facebook shows most of its users who handle their company pages. You’re likely presented with constant reminders to advertise by boosting a post. Facebook conveniently puts a “boost” button next to your social media posts, then tempts you with a sample of your promoted post in your news feed to show you how good it will feel to click the button and give Facebook $10 or $25 in ad revenue for the privilege of getting your post to your fans who said they wanted to hear from you when they clicked “like.” Some small businesses turn to boosting posts to make sure they can reach the fans they’ve built up. Before you know it, your boosted posts budget really starts to build over time.

The problem is, boosting posts from your Facebook page’s interface doesn’t have the power you need to target your audience and get the most for your advertising dollar. Facebook’s Business Manager / Ads Manager platform goes much further in allowing you to optimize your ad for the behavior you’re after, optimizing for sales transactions or contacts from prospects instead of likes, comments, and shares, as an example. It also gives you the power to target your audience more specifically than “My fans and their friends.” Your Mom is your Facebook friend. She’s a lovely person, but that doesn’t mean she’s a good prospect for your product.

Here’s a small business case study on boosting posts vs. Facebook advertising.

An online clothing retailer routinely boosted posts by between $25-50 over the course of a day to their fans and friends of their fans. This ongoing routine helped ensure engagement and visibility of their products through Facebook and Instagram. EAG’s role in this mini case study was to create and manage the more targeted paid social media advertising campaigns.

In just a week-long experiment, we went without boosting any posts. We then selected only half of the unpaid posts to run as an ad through the Ads Manager, targeted to those most likely to purchase and optimized for sales over the course of five days. As expected, the post received fewer likes and comments, but generated substantially more additions to the shopping cart and initiated checkouts.

Maybe the best reason to use the Ads Manager to control your promotional investment in Facebook is the data you’ll have as a result. You’ll understand more about the way your audience interacts with your products or services once they make it to your site. And you’ll be able to take even more targeting action once your customers interact with your site. In this short period of time, 15 people purchased the product, but 404 viewed the product online and 71 added a product to their cart without checking out. With a greater ability to target, a stronger sales message can be directed just to those who interacted with the product but did not complete a purchase.

That’s just a small case study on why boosting organic posts isn’t making the best use of your marketing resources. But, before you get too comfortable, know this: Social media marketing moves pretty fast. By the time we’ve gained credit from Google for the keywords we’ve used in this article, something new has happened with the algorithms driving each social media platform. Facebook has probably introduced a handful of new advertising objectives or bidding methods, and they’ve probably removed a few targeting options for being too intrusive to users’ personal privacy.

The point is, it’s a moving target. If you have someone on your team staying up to date on these changes, great. If you’d rather have that person be productive for your company in other ways, let’s talk.




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