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Are you boosting your posts? Here's why it's hurting your business.

"If you're boosting your posts, you are basically lighting your hard-earned dollars on fire."


If you use Facebook for your business, chances are you are boosting your Facebook Posts. You’ve taken the leap and decided to hit the Facebook Boost Post button to promote your posts hoping more people would suddenly flock to your business.

Well, I have some new some news for you. If you are hitting the "BOOST" button frequently, it could be costing you a lot of money. For some, hundreds, even thousands, of dollars are being burned with no return on investment (ROI).

A lot has changed since Facebook emerged on the scene with the ability to advertise to your local market. When Facebook's advertising platform was still in its infancy stage, it was a very complicated place for many business owners. Then in 2012, Facebook introduced an easier way to advertise with the “Promote Post” button. With this option, you could finally create an advertising campaign without leaving your Facebook page. Easy, peasy.

A few years later, the “Promote Post” button turned into the “Boost Post” button, as the result of some updates. With the exception of the name, the feature basically remained the same , offering an easy way to reach more people with your Facebook posts with a small budget.

Over the past few years, organic reach has increasingly dwindled, as many pages have almost no reach whatsoever. Many page owners turn to the "Boost Post" button as a way to get their posts in front of their audience. Although it is a quick and easy way to reach the masses, it doesn't mean that it's smart.

So What Happens When You Boost a Post?

On your Facebook page, you find a post you want to promote or advertise by clicking the “Boost Post” button. You then choose your audience, your budget, and the campaign duration, and click “Boost.”

What you may not realize is Facebook just created a new ad campaign in your personal ad account with the objective set as “Page Post Engagement." It chooses the defaults for you — it’s the lazy man’s way of advertising.

And that’s where things start going in the wrong direction.

Boosting Posts

Why You Should Not Boost Your Posts

Facebook optimizes your campaigns depending on which objective you choose.

If you choose Website Clicks objective, Facebook optimize’s for link clicks to your website. If it’s Website Conversions, then Facebook will analyze everyone who has already converted and will try to reach similar people first.

But if you boost a post, Facebook will always optimize just for more post engagement, meaning they will optimize for more likes, shares, comments and so on. Sometimes, if that really is your main objective, that’s (almost) ok. But you still can’t control ad placement.

From my professional experience, running an ad with an engagement objective has never resulted in more likes, comments, or shares. Period.

Even if you decide to boost a link post, Facebook will still just optimize for engagement on the post and not link clicks to your website.

Have you ever noticed an ad that gets a ton of post likes - because their targeting is so broad? Keep in mind, chances are only a small fraction of those people will click through to your website, your event page, or your landing page. It’s never about getting likes to your Facebook Business Page or on your post. The goal for any advertisement should always be about traffic, conversions, and sales. You want results…period.

You also want to direct people to your website so you can then retarget to them. Retargeting, simply put, means that you deliver a different set of ads to people once they've visited your website. A person needs to see your brand five to twelve more times before they feel comfortable enough to buy or interact with you. Think how Amazon follows you all over the internet, serving you ads for the products you viewed on their site. This is retargeting. With boosting posts, you are not able to retarget your website traffic because Facebook is not delivering them to your website.

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Limited Targeting Options

If you look at targeting white boosting your Facebook posts, you have three options:

  1. People who like your Page — advertising to all your fans,

  2. People who like your Page and their friends — advertising to all your fans and all their friends

  3. People you choose through targeting — advertising to a specific target audience you choose

Let’s go through these options:

People who like your Page:

If you didn’t do great with attracting high-quality page likes (very few businesses do), you’ll be immediately wasting some of your money.

People who like your Page and their friends:

No matter if you have super relevant likes (fans) or not, you’ll still be wasting your money . The "Friends of Fans" audience can have up to a million or even more people in it , many or most won’t be within the appropriate radius of your business because their “friends” can be all over the world. There’s really no way for Facebook to find the most relevant people, and it’s impossible for you to add an additional layer of interests to make your targeting more specific.

People you choose with targeting:

Although this sounds good because you can choose specific interests, the targeting choices Facebook gives you are still very limited. For example, with the boost, you can’t choose any behaviors. You can’t use detailed targeting to reach people who are interested in both Interest A and Interest B either. Also, you can’t include or exclude your page fans or Custom Audiences from your targeting.

No matter which targeting option you choose, you will be wasting your money. Whether it’s 10% or 30% of your budget, it can add up to thousands of advertising dollars thrown away.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you can’t control the “placements” of your paid "boosted" posts.

No Control Over Ad Placements

When you’re boosting posts, you can’t choose where you want to show your ads . The default option is always Desktop News Feed and Mobile News Feed.

You already know that Facebook does a ton of optimization automatically for you. Most of the time their algorithms will try to find the cheapest way to achieve an objective, even if it might ruin your overall campaign results. They would love to show you a lot of likes and engagement, but that doesn’t always translate to results - traffic, sales, leads, conversions.

For example, let’s say you want to promote an upcoming wine tasting event at your restaurant, and you are wanting to sell tickets to this event. If you choose to advertise on both Mobile News Feed and Desktop News Feed, Facebook might, unfortunately, push as much as 99% of your advertising budget to the mobile news feed option because it’s less expensive than Desktop News Feed, regardless of whether it’s getting your desired results - ticket sales.

From our experience, even if a website is responsive and mobile-friendly, the conversion rate on mobile is usually 2 to 3 times lower than on desktop. Mobile conversion tends to be lower because it’s just not as convenient to fill in all the sign-up or purchase information on handheld devices. If the website is not mobile-friendly, it can be even worse.

Not seeing results for your boosted posts?

If you choose both placements, something you can’t control with the “Boost Post” option, you’ll probably be getting a ton of mobile traffic that either converts poorly or not at all. And if you are trying to drive people from Facebook to your event page, your wine tasting registration landing page, your website, your menu online, or anywhere else outside of Facebook, then you need conversions more than you do Facebook page “likes.”

Let's not forget Instagram! You can run Instagram advertising from Facebook Ads Manager, but you cannot do this with the “Boost Post” feature. If you ever do want the the engagement objective to get more page likes, we suggest adding Instagram as an ad placement so you can follows on Instagram and reach those who are not on Facebook. Again, you cannot get your ad on Instagram with the "Boost Post" button.

What Can You Do About It?

Stop using the “Boost Post” button on the bottom of your Facebook post unless you enjoy throwing your money away.

Regardless of your business, the audience you want to reach can be reached more effectively by creating ads in the Ads Manager section of Business Manager and by creating an effective content strategy that engages your audiences and increases your organic reach.

Yes, using Business Manager may take you a few minutes longer, but you will be able to choose the campaign objective that makes the most sense for your business. You will be able to select more relevant audiences and have complete control of where your ads are shown.

Combined, this strategy will result in saving advertising dollars and getting a better return on your advertising campaigns. In the end, your goal should not be just to get more engagement, but to get people take an action  by visiting your website, signing up for an event, opt-in a contest with their email, buy a gift card, or simply visit your business. Through Ads Manager, you are able to do everything needed to achieve the desired results in the most effective way.

I'd love to know your thoughts on this. Have you seen results from boosting your posts? If so, please provide details on how you are measuring that success.

optimize your facebook ads for better results

Alix Walker - Brand Strategist | Digital Coach | Detail Freak

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