How many posts did you boost today on Facebook? Your latest, epic, blog content, that irresistible teaser for your upcoming webinar, a funny video-tutorial…what else?
It’s easy, isn’t it? Just a click on that magic “Boost Post” button et voilà, your post is live on Facebook! Not just for your followers and fans, but for all of your audience.
No more creating structured Facebook ads, struggling with the 20% rule, or the copy length that is always too short for your content to shine as it should.
Post, boost, done! And now repeat. For each one. Because yes, every single piece of your content is good and deserves a boost!
What if there was a way to give a boost to your post boosting strategy? To stop guessing which post is worthy of your audience’s attention, and which is not? To manage exactly what you want to boost, when, to whom, for how long?
Spoiler alert… there is!
In this post, we’ll show you how to boost your posts on Facebook, and how to boost your entire business with Automatic Post Promotion.
And we also show you the results of a $600 experiment we did to answer the question: Facebook Ads vs Boosted Posts, what works best?
Facebook posts are one of the core components of the Facebook newsfeed, both for personal profiles and businesses alike.
Over time as more businesses have joined Facebook and started posting more often this increase in competition has led to a decline in organic reach.
Oh ok, no big deal! 🙂
Add into the mix Facebook changing the algorithm at the start of 2018 to favor interactions with friends and family over businesses and that organic reach for brands is now at an all-time low.
Although regular posting is still a good strategy as each post gets some organic reach, Facebook is becoming more of a “pay to play” platform for businesses that want to get maximum exposure for key posts.
Thankfully posts are easy to boost, either using the Boost button on a post, the Ads Manager interface, or dedicated third-party tools such as AdEspresso.
When paying to boost a post, not only does it increase the reach but it has the key advantage over organic posts of being able to be displayed to any audience, not just your page fans.
With budgets from as low as $1 a day boosting is accessible to businesses of all sizes.
Let’s see how it works.
Can Every Post Be Boosted?
When you post anything on your personal profile or on a business page there are Community Standards that have to be adhered to.
These rules cover obvious things such as illegal activity, threatening behavior and hate speech but overall as long as Community Standards are followed Facebook is fairly liberal on what it allows to be posted.
The policies are much more restrictive for ads and this can catch some people out as what is allowed in an organic post is different from what is allowed in a boosted post.
As sponsored posts can be shown to anyone rather than just users that like your page, Facebook is more conservative with what it allows.
For example, an organic post could use swear words but profanity in a boosted post will result in it being disapproved from the ad campaign.
Be sure to check out the full ad policies before boosting any posts.
Boosting a Post and Creating an Ad: What Changes?
Although there is now a wide range of post types for a business page the most popular post format is very simple, it has an image or video and some text, perhaps with a link to a website within the text:
These posts can be set up in seconds by any business and they’re familiar to both business users and customers.
They appear on the Facebook page for the business, however, most users will still see the post when they appear in their newsfeed, either organically or when boosted.
Compare this to a standalone Facebook ad which has six main elements:
Adverts are often called “dark posts” as they don’t show up on the business page, they are only seen when a user is scrolling through their newsfeed.
As we can see they are more complex to create, partly because of the number of creative elements involved but also because they require a specialist ads creation tool such as Facebook’s own Ads Manager or a third party platform such as AdEspresso, they can’t be created directly on a Facebook page.
Don’t let the complexity put you off though, having more control over the design can give good results, especially as you can split test a number of different ad variations.
For example within one campaign you could test three images, three headlines, and three ad texts, giving you nine different combinations instead of just a one-page post.
To Boost Or Not To Boost?
While we mentioned why a post cannot be boosted (content wise) above, there are also some more technical limitations on what can and cannot be boosted.
Each post will have a specific button to let you know the status of that post. Let’s break them down!
When You Can Use The Facebook Boost Post Button
When You Can’t Use The Facebook Boost Post Button
All in all, most of the above are eligible to be deleted except for Not Boosted, Boost Post, and Boost Unavailable – as these are not live and delivering ads.
How Can You Boost a Facebook Post?
Now that we’ve learned the difference between a boosted post and a Facebook ad as well as what can and cannot be boosted, we’re ready to get to the fun part – boosting the post itself!
The process can start from 3 places – either your Facebook page or from Ads Manager. We’ll cover the Facebook page process first.
Oh right, we said 3 places… It’s because you can boost your posts through AdEspresso too (#TheSmartMarketerChoice)!
Boosting a post through your Facebook page
To get started, just navigate to your Facebook page and find your post.
You will see one of the buttons we listed above on the right-hand side of your post.
Once you click Boost Post, you’ll see the next steps to finish the setup.
From here you can edit your targeting options like age, demographics, location, and budget.
Once you’ve added in all of your configurations (and added your optional CTA), you can select the Boost button and voila – your post will be sent through Facebook’s approval process and ultimately live.
Very simple to navigate and to quickly set up a boost. In short, it’s the easiest kind of ad to run.
Not very customizable – anyone needing more advanced audience setup or objective selection would need to set this up through Ads Manager. You cannot choose specific placements either.
Boosting a post through Ads Manager
The Ads manager route is a bit more lengthy, but does give the ability to utilize different objectives as well as use more detailed audience configurations like custom audiences. If your audience needs are a bit more nuanced, this is the best option for you.
Start off by navigating to Ads Manager and choose your objective. In this case, we’ll be using Engagement.
On the next page, you can start by adding your audience details in the budget section.
You’ll notice more options here like the aforementioned custom audiences, placement, bid strategy, and schedule.
The post selection happens on the next page.
From here, just choose the Use Existing Post option instead of Create Ad.
You can then choose your page and the post you would like to use.
Additionally, you can choose to add a call to action or any post tracking.
Now just click Confirm, and your post will travel yonder into the wonderful world of your target audience’s newsfeed (after approval, of course).
Advanced setup options can be taken here, like custom audience usage, post tracking, and placement selection.
For beginners, the options and layout of the creation may be difficult to interpret and navigate. This method also takes more time to set up than the previous method.
Now, you might be thinking that wasn’t too much work right?
Boosting a post can often be ‘easier’ than creating a post from scratch, but if you take a moment to think of all the time you will be spending boosting posts every day one by one, the time quickly begins to add up.
For those of your reading who might be looking for an easier way to go about this process, for anyone working with multiple clients and pages, or simply for those of you tired of having to promote every single post one by one, there’s a third way to boost your posts (and your business): AdEspresso’s Automatic Post Promotion.
Those who use it call it the “next generation” of the Bost Post button, here’s how it works.
Boosting a post through AdEspresso
If you’re ready to shave precious time off your work week, you can automate this entire process with AdEspresso.
With Automatic Page Post Promotion, you can create Facebook campaigns boosting posts based on the parameters you set.
To do so, just log into AdEspresso and from the What Do You Want to Promote section, select Page/Place Post.
On step 2 you have two choices – you can either boost a specific post (which is exactly what we just covered above with Facebook via Ads Manager) or you can use the automated option (which is what we’ll cover now).
This next step is where the real magic happens. Instead of picking a specific post, we’re going to tell Facebook to boost every post that meets the specific criteria we set.
This will then run for the duration you select, and you’ll be able to see all of your metrics inside AdEspresso.
Only want to boost video posts linking back to your site? Check. ☑️
Want to make sure your posts have more than 20 shares and use a specific hashtag? Check. ☑️
Want to give everything a tiny boost to a hyper-specific audience without ever lifting a finger? Check, check, check. ☑️☑️☑️
With this feature, the potential to run segmented posts to a specific audience is nearly unlimited.
If you’re looking for step-by-step setup instructions, you can watch our tutorial video:
What Insights Can You Get From Boosted Posts?
For measuring your results, Facebook recommends their own Insights tool.
With this you’ll be able to see information like:
- The number of people reached
- The number of engagements
- A breakdown of engagement metrics by actions taken (ex, Comments, Shares, Video Views)
- Demographic breakdowns by age, gender, and location
- Total Spend
Metrics in Facebook’s Insights Tool
To find Insights, just navigate to your page and select the Insights tab on the top-left corner of the screen.
From here, select the Post option on the left-hand side of the page.
Now that you’re on the Insights page, you can check the status of your posts by viewing the columns next to the post title.
You can quickly see organic vs paid metrics, and engagements like reactions, comments, and shares.
If you want a more in-depth view, just click on the post name and you’ll see a more detailed popup.
Not convinced yet? Keep on reading then!
Below, our Top Facebook ads expert Paul Fairbrother, will share his top 3 favorite strategic uses of AdEspresso’s Automatic Post Promotion tool to boost your Ads ROI.
3 Strategies for Boosting Your Facebook Posts With Automatic Post Promotion
Now that you know how to create an Automatic Post Promotion campaign, let’s see how we can put these campaigns to good use:
1) Give every post a small boost
For every ten pieces of content we post, the chances are only one of those will really resonate with the audience and get lots of engagement.
A few years ago organic reach on Facebook was high enough that we could just look through our page stats once a week or once a month and pick the winning posts to incorporate into our main ad campaigns.
Now, with organic reach so low, we need to give every post a small boost so that they all get enough exposure, allowing us to make an informed decision about what posts should be given the majority of the ad budget.
A simple Automatic Post Promotion campaign spending $10 a day to boost all new posts works well for this:
From this, we can then go to the page Insights tab and pick the best posts.
Pro Tip: use the drop-down menu at the top right to change “reactions, comments & shares” to “engagement rate” to give you a simple breakdown of which posts are the most engaging.
2) Boost different types of content to different audiences using hashtags
Does your business have different customer avatars that might be interested in different types of posts?
At AdEspresso our core focus is on Facebook advertising but we’re integrating Google AdWords so we produce articles about this as well. To show relevant content to the right audience we can filter posts using keywords.
With a normal keyword, there’s a risk that we could unintentionally include it in the wrong post, so to prevent this from happening we use specific hashtags as our keywords.
You might have noticed #AdWords on our recent post about AdWords and #AdEspresso on our posts covering Facebook advertising, these are there purely to trigger the correct APP campaign.
Here’s how the #AdWords boost is set up.
Let’s start with the post on our Facebook page:
Below, note the use of AdWords specific interests for the audience targeting.
Next here’s how we set up the boosting of posts on the topic of Facebook advertising:
This campaign uses social media interests to reach people interested in Facebook advertising.
3) The “Stick or Twist” Strategy
In the card game Pontoon, there’s the option to “stick” with your current hand of cards or “twist” and add some new ones.
Similarly, we can apply this strategy to boosting posts and use Automatic Post Promotion to decide if we want to stick with a current group of posts or add new, potentially better-performing ones into the mix.
By using this exact strategy we reduced the cost per lead for AdEspresso by 44% and reduced the time administering our ad account down to two minutes per day!
It’s a very simple strategy to set up and we run through the exact process in this short video:
Do you know what the AdEspresso motto (and the boss) says?
Never assume anything. Always test everything.”
And we’d add…
Don’t believe everything you read. Unless it’s supported by “scientific” data.
That’s why we run an experiment and spent $600 of our own money just to answer the question:
Are Facebook Boosted Posts worth it?”
The answer is free for you!
A common question we get asked at AdEspresso is do we recommend boosting a post or running a separate ad campaign?
To find the best option we’ve run an experiment using $600 of real ad spend.
Here’s the post that appeared on our Facebook page:
And here’s the dark post (note that the dark post has a separate headline and link description underneath the ad text):
We tried to get the two post types to be as similar as possible but due to the different ways they are created there will be some variation.
Here’s the experiment setup:
- Both campaigns were run to a US-based 1% lookalike audience of current AdEspresso customers aged 18-65+
- As for placement, we used the mobile newsfeed
- We excluded current customers and website visitors (as they are shown separate retargeting campaigns).
After $300 of ad spend for each campaign over the course of 7 days which one was the winner?
Let’s find out:
The dark post had the best click-through rate, cost per click, cost per thousand impressions, relevance score and most importantly cost per lead.
By most metrics, especially cost per lead, it was the best performing ad.
Although note that:
The page post had a higher conversion rate (95% compared to 53%).
So the page post is attracting good quality clicks.
There are three important considerations that the above data doesn’t cover though:
Facebook Ads vs Boosted Posts: Experiment Takeaways
- The page post got lots of extra organic reach.
Indeed this nearly doubled the number of people reached (4,505 organic and 4,837 paid).
Naturally, this is dependent on your page following, AdEspresso has over 106,000 followers and page fans. Compare this to the dark post that only reached a mere 4 people organically.
- A page post gives lots of extra free engagement.
And this shouldn’t be overlooked.
The page post got 34 reactions, 9 shares, and 3 comments and the dark post only got 7 reactions, 1 share, and no comments.
- With a dark post, it’s possible to A/B multiple elements of the ad.
As we discovered in a recent $1,000 experiment just split testing one part of the creative can reduce the CPA by a factor of 2.4.
With page posts, it’s much harder to split test without filling up the news feed with similar posts.
So, for pure performance-based marketing where you are looking for leads or purchases a dark post can do well.
However, the extra reach and likes, comments and shares (for only a small increase in CPA) make the page post a very useful ad type.
That’s all, folks!
Many businesses want engagement along with leads and sales, especially if selling offline in stores or building a funnel to nurture prospects over several touch points.
The best approach overall may be to run a dark post campaign and split test the creative to reduce the CPA as much as possible. Then turn this into a page post where there will be lots of additional likes, comments, shares and organic reach to go along with the leads or sales.
What works best for you will depend on your business goals.