Facebook as an advertising platform has certainly made it into the heavyweight division. But as its features, interface and advertising costs grow, is it still performing well? And are Facebook boosted posts now in contention for delivering the best ROI for your marketing spend?
Facebook advertising has become a real favourite for many small businesses, particularly more recently with its expanded range of advanced targeting options and marketing objectives. However all these options and functionality have made it considerably more complex to manage and navigate for less experienced advertisers. And its sheer popularity with businesses as an advertising platform, has driven costs per click spiralling upwards in many niches during the last 12 months.
So now entering the ring is a relatively new contender, competing for your advertising spend. It’s Facebook Post Boosting. For a long time the boosted post (or Promoted Post as it used to be called) was considered by many a small sideline option for promoting content. However that all really started to change when Facebook modified its algorithm so that your fans would no longer automatically see your posts. So if you wanted to make sure your content reached all their feeds, then you would need to ‘Promote’ it.
This shift in Facebook certainly annoyed many people and business owners, but to partially counter that, Facebook made sure the cost of promoting posts was very low indeed (for now!). And it didn’t take many of the top marketers long to realise the benefit and potential of this, particularly when Facebook opened up more audience targeting options available for boosting posts.
Now Facebook post boosting has really grown up, with some powerful features, and is ready to take on Facebook Ads in the challenge to see which can deliver the best results in terms of return on investment for advertisers.
You can now Boost Posts via the same interface as your regular Ads (Ads Manager) interface, or alternatively directly from the post itself, allowing you to not only boost content to your existing fans, but also create new custom audiences to target your ideal customer (based on your customer avatar).
This, together with some great reporting and Facebook Insights data has made boosted posts a strong and worthy contender for your marketing pound.
Now, whilst on the face of it these two channels seem very similar, they are in fact very different in terms of strategic approach needed to get the best ROI.
The approach with Facebook advertising is pretty much as you would expect it i.e. you set up some audience targeting, add and image and headline, set your budget and timing, and decide where you want to send your traffic. Then you launch your Ad and you’ll pay a cost per click (visitor to your site).
The challenge here is to create an Ad that gets a good Click Through Rate (CTR) and a good Relevance score, in order to reduce costs and get the best return on your advertising spend.
However with Facebook Post Boosting, I believe the ideal approach is a little different. You see the primary objective with boosted posts is engagement. This is what you pay for (Cost per Engagement) and this is what Facebook is primarily measuring. And at the end of the day, the better your post engages with your audience, the lower the price you’ll pay.
So, although your posts will still contain calls to action and clickable links, you need to think about creating content which will really engage your audience and build a positive connection between your brand and your audience.
I think of this as more of a two stage approach, using some posts to build an engaged audience, and other posts to get that audience to take action. In reality you will be creating some posts that cover both these steps, and some which are just about engagement only.
If my experience using Facebook Post Boosting is anything to go by, then I would highly recommend all small businesses to try this strategy. As someone who’s used Facebook Ads pretty much non stop for two and half years and now switched 100% of my spend to Facebook boosted posts, I may be a little biased. But you can’t argue with the stats.
With my current boosted post campaigns I’ve been able to get the cost per engagement down to less than 1 pence, and clicks to my web site for as low as 2 or 3 pence. But it’s not just about the cost of getting traffic to your site. It’s about the type of traffic you’re getting. How engaged are they? How much trust have you built in your brand? And how likely they are to purchase from you when they visit your site?
For me this is where the two channels really differ. I believe that investing in building a more engaged community first, has a real impact on the quality of the traffic you generate and your sales conversion from site visits.
However, clearly not all business and niches are the same and I wouldn’t for one minute suggest my results are typical. Different audiences in different niches will respond and behave differently. It’s all about testing it for yourself.
In short, no. For many businesses Facebook Ads are probably still delivering a very good ROI for the ad spend. But it may also be time for those same businesses to think about building a really engaged community and start making boosted posts part of their overall marketing strategy.
And the real beauty of Facebook Post Boosting is its simplicity and low cost. This means you can test all aspects of your brand, your messages, imagery and audience targeting for as little as £1 per day. How great is that!
If you’d like to learn more about how to create and deploy post boosting campaigns for your business, you should check out my 1 day Facebook post-boosting campaign workshop.