Good advertisers do not Boost Posts!

Many of us work with social community managers, right? And whether or not they have any Facebook advertising savvy, they all see that “Boost post” option enough to think about trying it.

I think boosting posts is stupid. Here’s why: it’s a cheap way to get people to advertise without going into the ads manager and having them do all the “complicated” targeting. It’s basically taking advantage of those people who don’t fully know what they are doing.

I’m not saying that having a way for newbies to advertise on Facebook is a bad thing, but what it does is create a combination of bad targeting and bad ad units, which ultimately clobbers the perceived value of advertising on Facebook.

When you hit “boost post” on Facebook, you are given options. First is to show your ad to “people who like your page and their friends” and “people who you choose through targeting.” So, basically what you’re given off the bat is the ability to target both fans and friends of fans.

boost post to fans

This is traditionally not a bad audience, but what happens is it’ll create a version of your advertisement to your fans (fine), your friends of fans (usually a huge audience), and then a sponsored story version of that post (which usually targets almost no one).

sponsored post option

What normally happens is something like this:

boost post

In my opinion, this is a waste of money. Wouldn’t you agree? As an experienced Facebook advertiser, where do you think the budget is going to go, especially if you’re bidding oCPM (which it does by default)? It’s going to go to Friends of Fans (option 2), with absolutely no targeting layered on top of it. This is unfortunate because people would be so much better off if they knew all the valuable tools available to them in the self-serve ad creation area.

The targeting that Facebook offers is its biggest strength. The more Facebook can prove that by launching people into ad creation flow with full targeting options in mind, the better off they’ll be.  I have spoken to many social community managers who believe boosting posts is the best option they have for getting fans to see a post, which is incorrect. With only a few more clicks, a new world could be opened up to them.

Spread the word!

Andrew Foxwell

About Andrew Foxwell

Andrew Foxwell grew up on a farm in western Wisconsin, where his Macintosh Quadra 610 with its lightning fast 28.8K dial-up connection first sparked his interest in digital marketing. After graduating from St. Olaf College, Andrew went to work as a digital director for a U.S. Congressional campaign, which led him to Washington, DC to work as a press secretary/new media director for a U.S. Congressman. Recognizing an opportunity for improved digital communications between members of Congress and their constituents, Andrew founded and managed the social media marketing agency within iConstituent, the leading online communications firm working with Congress. Andrew worked with members and staffs from both sides of the aisle to deepen much needed Congressional dialogue, improve constituent services, and create a more effective 21st century democracy. Andrew then took his diverse skillset to Silicon Valley where he directed the social media division of 3Q Digital, a full-service online marketing firm. There he tripled the agency’s social media client base, managed a team of account managers and production professionals, and oversaw an average monthly revenue growth of more than 20% while working with companies like Square, Fitbit, Eventbrite, 23andMe, Citrus Lane and more. Andrew is the CEO and Co-Founder of Foxwell Digital, a digital creative agency that works with clients as diverse as small-town cafes to multi-million dollar start-ups. Find him @andrewfoxwell and foxwelldigital.com.
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15 Responses to Good advertisers do not Boost Posts!

  1. Dan Wilkerson says:

    Andrew! Totally agree.

    I’ve seen INSANE things based off of this, too – posts with thousands of likes that, on closer inspection, denote a suspiciously high enthusiasm in Thailand for a the posts of a Pittsburgh-based regional retailer.

    Sadly, Facebook’s self-service advertising seems designed to swindle those who lack the technical knowledge to properly make use of it. It’s a lose-lose, too, because those mom-and-pop advertisers get excited about the engagement their boosted posts get, promote them more, eat into inventory, raise the CPM/CPC, irritate their real fan base, and eventually get sour on the whole concept when all that juicy ‘engagement’ doesn’t correlate with a rise in any kind of meaningful business metric. Plus, users get a spammy experience from inexperienced advertisers, which I imagine drives at least some of them from the network, in turn lowering inventory, raising costs, and losing Facebook users. It’s a vicious cycle.

    What they need to do is create a section of videos/quizzes on how to use Facebook ads that have to be taken and passed before a Page can make use of any advertisements. Nothing crazy, but some pointers on copy, CTAs, and geo/interest targeting would go a long way, I think.

    Best,
    Dan

  2. Robyn Bradley says:

    I find the “boost post” option useful if I want to reach more than the 17 percent that FB limits me to due to EdgeRank. So, for example, if I have an announcement about a book (I’m a writer) that I want more than 17 percent (or so) of my fans to see, I’ll pony up a little cash to make sure this happens (I’m long past being angry at the concept of EdgeRank). Even doing this, I still don’t reach all of my fans (sigh), but it does help. My experience is that the post doesn’t really look any different in people’s newsfeeds (it just has the “sponsored post” disclaimer, but that’s easy to miss). I agree that if you want to run ads–the real-deal ones that show up to the right of the newsfeed–it’s all about careful targeting. I run those as well. Make sense?

    By the way, I don’t have all those options you show above…when I hit “boost post,” my only audience option is “People who like your page and their friends.” (Your article here sent me double checking!) Maybe this added targeting is for pages with a certain number of fans? (I have a little over 2K.)

    • Shashank says:

      Yeh, I manage 3 pages and surprisingly one of my pages don’t show this option of audience targeting. Now there can be two things why this is happening:
      1. I don’t remember the pass for this one page so I have to login to my personal profile – jump to the page – and then boost! Maybe this is why i don’t see the audience selector.
      2. This can be some sort of a bug.

      Anyone reading this have any ideas. Help will be much appreciated. Many thanks in advance.

      • Kim says:

        i manage dozens of pages and have a few that dont offer me the targeting through client login admin but I see it through my admin. No idea why.

        • Zachary Chastain says:

          Hi Shashank and Kim,

          You can only see ads you’ve setup through your own admin account. If another admin set them up, then you won’t be able to adjust targeting and such.

          This can be pretty easy to follow if you use one account to manage all advertising, but if multiple admins have access to ads and create them through their own accounts then it could lead to a confusing situation where you have permission to make adjustments to some ads, but not others, or access to some aspects of the ad platform and not others.

          The easiest way to solve this would be to use one shared account for creating all ads, so everything is centralized and all ads created by anyone on the team are done from that one account.

  3. Veronica says:

    This is all speculation unless you back up your theory by some analytics! :)

  4. Anthony Kirlew says:

    I would rather say “test both and see what gives you the best results.” For some of our clients with smaller budgets, promoted posts have done a great job in boosting the engagement that they were looking for, whereas with some of those same clients the FB Ads simply did not perform or perform well enough to justify continuing to spend the money. I actually like the fact that they have expanded the outreach on promoted posts to more than just the fan base.

    Test everything!

  5. I have to disagree

    My wife has a small local store in Philippines. She makes about $25 a day for the last year. I add $5 boost post option to each new post she makes (about 1 a day). After the first day of using this option her sales went to $125 a day for the last 7 days we have been using this option. I am using the second option and targeting her local area. I also set up ads withing facebook and found it not as affective.

  6. Max says:

    Are you serious? You don’t like it when I take the easy way to get business so to speak? You feel everyone should do it your way, the harder way? I suppose if each one of us had to dig a ditch, and you decided to do it with a little garden shovel, you would be mad because I used an excavator?

  7. Camilla says:

    Andrew I need you to confirm that if you create a boost or add facebook sends you an email confirming your purchase. I ask this because this morning I used PayPal to purchase something from eBay and shortly after that I was sent two receipt emails from PayPal saying I paid them over £400 for facebook adds! I haven’t even touched my facebook page in over a month. Please help! Regards

  8. George Pappas says:

    I have used the BOOST service twice in order to promote significant posts. Both times with a nominal budget of $5. What I have discovered is that Facebook are not honouring their word. The service you pay for is to promote a particular post to either 1) all ppl who have Liked your page & their friends, or 2) you choose the filtering meaning you can choose gender/countries.age etc regardless of whether that demographic has Liked your page or not.

    Now, it makes more sense I think to target ppl who already have Liked your page, you are far more likely to get engagement from them as they already know you. BUT, what I have discovered is that even though I chose to have my posts Boosted to all ppl (& their friends) who have Liked my page, across the world, on both occasions looking at the statistics later, my country engagement shows only 100% Mexico. And judging from the small real response I got on the posts, yes, it was response from Mexico.

    So, I can only deduct from this that Facebook is deceiving us when they claim they will Boost a post to ALL ppl who Like our page. I am further assuming they may reserve this ‘privilege’ to customersl who have far larger budgets. What the budget cut off point may be I don’t know.

    The final paid Reach achieved may show a large impressive number, but in my opinion, and from what I have experienced twice now, I think this service is a scam as FB do NOT deliver on their advertised promise. If you wish to try it with a small amount, I’d be interested to hear your own experience.

  9. M. Jones says:

    This video answers the Facebook boost question once and for all, wish I would have seen this before I wasted $20.00! He explains it very well and set up a fake FB page to test the ad/boost of it. Wow!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oVfHeWTKjag

  10. its not promoting by boost
    why?
    reply must and show the right way to promote the page
    very fastly and regulerly
    i will be thankfull to you

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