Like, now. If you have a boosted post going on Facebook, go stop it, then come back to this article.
Listen: we’ve been there and done it ourselves. We understand. You added a great little organic post (that’s something you post without paying) to Facebook, some of your audience shared and commented on it, and it’s getting some real traction. You’re short on time (always!) and between the thirty other nagging to-do’s on your list, you could just click the little “Boost Post” button and move on.
But you really, really shouldn’t, and here’s why.
In Short: Your Boosted Post Should be an Ad
So often, we see organizations and individuals confuse a Facebook marketing strategy with what is actually just boosting posts. There is a difference between setting up a Facebook for Business account, going into Ads Manager, and creating an ad, and just clicking “boost post” on posts you write.
Here’s what taking the time to make an ad can get you that a boosted post can’t:
1. You can target the best audience for your message
Facebook Ads offer additional options in audience targeting, pricing mechanisms, and more. You gain significantly more control over almost every aspect of your promotion. You don’t just want a bunch of people to see your post. You want the people who are most likely engage deeply with your brand to see your post. While boosting a post will allow you to drill down on your audiences (for example, arts lovers in your geographic area), it won’t let you exclude audiences. So you might have a post intended to get people to sign up for your newsletter that is being shown to people who are already signed up for your newsletter. That’s money wasted.
Boosting posts also won’t let you get hyper-specific in acquiring new audiences the way Ads can. One example of a powerful tool available to you in ads is the ability to import your newsletter email list and to create a Lookalike Audience from it (that’s an audience that is not the audience you shared, but one that shares its attributes as determined by Facebook’s robotic sorcery). That means you’re reaching people who have a high conversion rate (who don’t currently interact with you but are highly likely to based on their attributes).
2. It will look better
With a Facebook Ad, you get a preview of the placement on all devices (Facebook Stories, Marketplace Ads, etc.) and can edit the words and images to suit each placement individually. With a boosted post, you can see what they all look like, but you can’t edit them directly. This is yet another reason you’re less likely to resonate with the audience who sees it - your words or images might be cut off, you'll sacrifice a portion of your intended message, and you’ll look cheaper than you would otherwise.
3. You’ll get more detailed, meaningful data over time
Facebook ads will visualize your data via charts and graphs. The information is more detailed and organized than what you’ll find from boosting posts. Better yet, the dashboard will store this information, making it easily accessible for anyone who gets the keys to that account in the future. This is particularly important if you have turnover in your staff; if you onboard a new marketing role, you’ll have a convenient dashboard with context of what works and doesn’t work for your specific organization. (That’s more money saved!)
4. You can A/B test
Say you have two photos and you’re not sure which is more compelling. With a boosted post you have to take your best guess and you’ll never really know which one would have done better. Sure, you can post the other photo later, but the conditions won’t be the same and your results will be tainted by the previous post. With Facebook Ads you can take the guesswork out of advertising by running an experiment that tests 2 or more variables (like the description, headline, audience, or creative). You’ll put down a small spend to test your theory, and then put the larger investment behind the winner. You’ll walk away from the test knowing more about your audience and what resonates with them, and you’ll save money by not investing in underperforming ads.
5. It’s just a better use of your limited marketing dollars
If you’re working with an already-constrained marketing budget, the last thing you want to do is waste any of it. The next time you get the urge to click that shiny “boost post” button, revisit this article and remind yourself that with a few extra steps, you can save money, reduce the loss in institutional knowledge when you have marketing turnover at your organization, reach more people who are more likely to engage with your brand, and get meaningful, automatic reports out of it.
Wish you could just throw your marketing budget up in the air and have it rain down on you as data-driven, wisely-allocated marketing decisions that grow your audience and engagement? Whether you need a second eye on something before you push go, an ongoing coach to meet with you every other week to review your plans and make strategic suggestions, or a team to tackle all your marketing goals and give you ongoing, comprehensive reports, we can help. Check out our services page and schedule a free 30 minute consultation to get started. ❖
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