Marketing online has changed a lot since Facebook emerged into the arena with the ability to advertise to your neighbor next door… literally (Tip: Set Target Audience to employees of that business). If you use Facebook for your business, chances are you have boosted a post with the dream that it will attract hordes of raving fans charging into your sanctuary the very next day.
Although the boost may not get a queue outside your door, you might think you have suddenly unlocked the secret of Facebook Marketing because of the few extra calls or enquires coming in due to the magical “Boost” button.
Well, I have some news for you. If you are clicking the boost button like how a DOTA player clicks the mouse, there is a 97.353847957937594% chance (just a rough estimate…) that it is causing you a lot of money.
When Facebook first started to monetized their platform, it was a lot of mumbo jumbo and trying to do well in the Facebook advertising platforms seems like it is in the realm of marketing gurus and the rein was not in the hands of business owners. Then in 2012, Facebook probably decided that it is more profitable to let novices try their hands on advertising rather than to depend on experience marketers so the “Promote Post” Button was rolled out. With this shiny new button, you could finally create an advertising campaign to promote your business without leaving your Facebook page.
A few good years later, the “Promote Post” button morphed into a different beast – The “Boost Post” Button. Truth be told that even though this change is the result of some updates, the underlying function of this creature is the same: a fast and super convenient way to spend top marketing dollar in the attempt to reach more people with your Facebook posts.
So why talk about it if it is as good as we what we think it is? … Or is it that good?
It’s fast, it’s easy but… it’s not smart!
What Exactly Happens When You Boost A Post?
When you go to your Facebook page and find a post you want to promote, you click the “Boost Post” button before proceeding to choose your audience, your budget, and the campaign duration and then one last click on “Boost” and the advertisement is launch.
What you may not realize is that Facebook have just create a new ad campaign in your personal ad account for you in its default setting using the “Page Post Engagement” objective.
This is when, things are going in the wrong direction…
So, what is Wrong to Use The Lazy Man’s Way of Clicking The “Boost Post” Button?
The reason why you should not boost your post this was is because Facebook optimizes your campaigns depending on which objective you choose.
Choosing an Engagement Objective will produce different results compared to choosing say a Video Views objective. An example would be if you choose Website Clicks as the objective, Facebook will optimize for link clicks to your website, if you choose Website Conversions as an objective instead, then Facebook will analyze everyone who has converted already so as to find similar people (or audience as Facebook likes to call them) to see your ads.
If you simply just click on the “Boost Post” button, Facebook by default will always optimize for more post engagement. It means your post will be catering to people who will like, share, comment BUT, may not be optimize to click on the link on that post or for that matters, not optimized for purchases.
If getting like, shares and comments are your main objectives, that (maybe) ok, but you still do not control the ad placements in people’s new feed.
The challenge will come if you decide to boost a link post, meaning you want people to click on the link to go to your website. Because by default Facebook is just optimizing for engagement, it will not get you audiences that will most likely click on your link.
You must be thinking, “surely having more likes, comments and share is better”, but keep in mind that it was never about likes, it is ALWAYS about conversion and sales. So getting a ton of post likes means nothing if they don’t click on your link and more importantly, don’t take up your offer. Always focus on your end objectives.
Limited Targeting Options are Really Lousy Options
If you look at Facebook boost post targeting, you have 3 options:
- People who like your Page – Fans targeting,
- People who like your Page and their Friends – Fans targeting + their friends,
- People you choose through Targeting – Specific target audience that you choose to advertise to.
Let’s go through these options:
People who Like your Page:
If you didn’t do a good job previously to get some laser targeted high quality page likes audience (very few businesses do), you will immediately be wasting money as these people have very little interest in your business and might have just click the like button while they are scrolling through their hundreds of feeds.
People who like your Page and their Friends:
Even if you have super relevant likes from fans, you will lose a huge chunk of money by selecting this option without more targeting. The Friends of Fans audience can have up to a few hundred thousand unrelated people in it. Many wouldn’t be within the appropriate radius of your business because their “friends” probably are all over the world. Just imagine trying to sell your legal service to someone in America while you are situated in Singapore and you will get the point.
So not only did Facebook didn’t optimize people who are relevant to your business, it is also impossible to have more detail targeting options or filter to let relevant prospect to see your ads.
People you choose with targeting:
Although at first this sounds like the perfect option because you can choose specific interests, the targeting choices that you can select are very limited. An example would be that you can not choose any audience behaviors. Who do you think will more likely to take an action on your ad?
Person A – Someone who has brought 3 times from you in the past, hang around your website for more then an hour each time, watched and like your post in Facebook.
Person B – Someone who never brought any things from your stall (in fact they never even add the items to their shopping cart ever), have attention like a gold fish and bounce off your site after 8 seconds, watched 2 seconds of your post in Facebook and even hide your post in their timeline feeds.
It is obvious that Person A would be a more valuable to your business than Person B due to differences in their behaviors.
You will also be wasting marketing dollar because you can’t exclude your page fans who are already going to buy from you so your “First time Customer” offers don’t apply to them.
So not matter which of the limited three options, you would probably be wasting 10-30% of your marketing budget because of these limited options. 10-30% adds up pretty quickly. Think about what else you couldn’t have done with these extra few thousands that you couldn’t have saved up?
One last bane is that you can’t control your positioning over ad placement.
No Control Over Ad Placements:
When the “Boost Post” button is pushed, you can’t choose where you want to show your ads, the default option is always “Desktop News Feed and Mobile News Feed”.
Now Facebook might have good intention to do so many optimization and selection for your automatically by aiming to find the cheapest way to achieve an objective, there is a chance you get screwed over overall.
Remember once again, likes don’t equate to sales.
For example, if you want to promote an upcoming Good Friday dinner party and you want to sell tickets to it. If the “Desktop News Feed and Mobile News Feed” option is selected, Facebook might push as much as 99% of your advertising budget to the mobile news feed options (because it is the less expensive option) without considering which option actually has a better conversion rate. Even though more people are surfing with their mobile now, we have found out that conversion rate is usually 2-3 times better on desktop as it is easier for people to fill up details on the site. The conversion rate differs even more if it is a non-mobile responsible website.
Because by default Facebook have selected the Engagement option and not the Conversion option for you, you are probably getting a ton of traffic that doesn’t convert to sales which is what you are aiming for to begin with.
Not forgetting that you can target people on Instagram now but you can’t do this with the “Boost Post” button. That means you would have missed out an audience who are super interested in your nice photos and would give your post more engagement.
What Can You Do About It?
Simple: Stop using “Boost Post” at the bottom of your Facebook post unless you like flushing money down the toilet bowl.
Regardless of the business that you are in, you can reach a targeted audience more effectively by creating ads in the ads manager.
Yes, it may take you a few minutes longer, but you will be able to choose the campaign objectives that makes the most sense for your business saving you a lot of money while building good relationships with people that are relevant to your business.
Gain control on where your creatives are being shown, and go on to increase the impact on people though your business by well spent marketing dollars.
In conclusion, your goal should not be just to get more engagement, but to get people to take immediate action be it visiting your website, sign up for contest, opt in to newsletters, buy a product, or simply to make an appointment, you are better equipped now to achieve these results more effectively than before.