Facebook Ads & Boosted Posts: What’s Best For Your Social Media Strategy?
By Katelin Shaft, Digital Marketing Coordinator at Pearson & von Elbe Advertising
Managing Facebook and other social platforms in an ever-changing digital world can prove to be difficult at times — even for individuals who are well versed & trained in social media management. As business owners, your sole goal on social media is to reach your audience (i.e. the people who already like your page/profile, etc.) and beyond (i.e. those who would likely be interested in your product(s)/service(s)). So how best can you go about reaching this “beyond”? Oftentimes, simply publishing your post is not enough in an incredibly saturated and competitive social media environment.
Over the years, Facebook has turned down the volume on organic (unpaid) reach on their social platform. Nowadays, you have to pay for that level of attention, either through boosted posts or with Facebook Ads Manager.
Pearson & von Elbe has laid out a few pointers that will provide insight into advertising on Facebook and what one can do to reach that “beyond” in the most effective way possible.
The “Elusive” Facebook Algorithm
To better understand the steps you should take as a business owner with a business Facebook Page, it’s best to start at the core — the Facebook Algorithm. Simply put, the Facebook Algorithm decides what posts users see every time they open the Facebook app.
However, there isn’t a “cut and dry” answer to what exactly the algorithm encapsulates. In January 2021, Facebook released a few details regarding its latest algorithm.
- First, is the inventory. The inventory is basically every post available in a Facebook user’s network. This inventory is then scored based on a ranking signal, like type of post, recency, etc.
- Secondly, the algorithm removes posts from a news feed that a Facebook user is unlikely to engage with, based purely on past user behavior. Content that a user doesn’t want to see (i.e. misinformation, clickbait, etc.) will be demoted.
- Thirdly, the algorithm mulls over the remaining posts and scores them. As an example, Natalie is 64% likely to watch a makeup tutorial video from her favorite Beauty Page, but 79% likely to post a heart reaction to her brother’s post of his new rabbit. The algorithm then ranks them in order of value.
- Lastly, the algorithm arranges a variety of different media types across your news feed in an effort to provide an interesting selection of post types.
As one can tell, a lot goes into a seemingly ordinary published post on Facebook. Because all these factors heavily influence what your audience can and will see on their news feed, it’s really easy for business pages and posts to get lost in the midst of political ramblings, your neighbor’s latest rant about incessant fireworks, and your aunt’s gossip session for the evening.
I’ve Heard the Term “Boosting” — What Does This Mean?
Have you ever posted something on your business’s Facebook Page, only to see underwhelming results, such as a low like count, little engagement, and few comments? Even with over 2.89 billion monthly active users, it can be very difficult to reach your intended target market, even if they “like” your page! Facebook can be an extremely competitive and saturated environment, meaning that sometimes, the best way to get directly in front of your target audience is by investing a budget into your published posts and content.
A “boosted” post is essentially a regular Facebook post, except you spend money in an effort to promote this particular post to your intended audience who otherwise would likely not have seen your organic (unpaid) post. It’s the simplest form of a Facebook advertisement and completing a boost can take very little time, especially when you have some practice under your belt! Better yet, you don’t need a massive budget — even $5 can go a long way under the right circumstances.
Right off the bat, a boosted post allows you to reach that audience beyond those who already like your Facebook page. With a multitude of targeting options, you can ensure that you are targeting people who will likely be interested in what you have to offer. Not only that, but there is also an option to target users who already like your Facebook page. Remember when we mentioned how difficult it can be to reach your audience with so much content to compete with? This option allows you to “boost” your content to the forefront of news feeds in order to ensure your most valuable audience — those who already like your page and have shown loyalty — can see your content, too.
As we mentioned, boosting posts is relatively fool-proof and can be completed in just a few minutes. After selecting a few target options, choosing your budget, and submitting your ad, Facebook bots will review your advertisement and either approve or reject it. If you receive a rejection notice or would like to read up on these guidelines prior to attempting an advertisement, please see Facebook’s Ad Policy. Facebook also allows the ability to push your boosted advertisements out to Instagram (if you have a linked account) so should you desire. Additionally, when a boosted post is complete, page owners can view analytics relating to the performance of the ad. This is helpful information to better understand what worked well, what didn’t, and any improvements that could be made in the future.
When it comes down to it, boosted posts on Facebook are the fastest and easiest way to get your content in front of as many eyeballs as possible (although, much of this depends on your total budget and total duration). While boosting is a fantastic option for Business Page owners who may be new to social media advertising, there is another way to reach your audience on Facebook via advertisements in a much more detailed way.
How Are Facebook Ads Different Than Boosts?
Facebook Ads are essentially the more sophisticated older sibling of boosted posts. Facebook Ads are much more streamlined and detail-oriented. Not only that, but the process of creating and managing a Facebook Ad occurs through Facebook Ads Manager, not on your Facebook Page like a boosted post.
Facebook Ads are very effective as you have control over a variety of aspects, including, but not limited to: audience demographics, ad campaign objectives, ad formats, budgeting, and scheduling. In regards to formatting, Facebook Ads options are richer than boosts — with options like carousels, slideshows, canvas ads, and more to select from. Within Ads Manager, you also have the ability to provide several different captions/content — Facebook will use their magic and test out all your different content options and display the most effective content to users.
Facebook Ads can also be optimized to focus on a particular conversion. Conversions are like completed goals. For example, let’s say you’re setting up a Facebook Ad and you select the campaign objective of ‘Traffic’. Once you launch your advertisement on Facebook, one conversion will be counted every time someone visits your website from your Facebook Ad. There’s quite a collection of Facebook campaign objectives/conversions you can choose from!
Facebook Ads also allows you to build a customized target audience by using a Facebook Pixel, which is a code that is placed on your website to track conversions from ads, optimize ads, and remarket to people who have visited your website previously. Your website developer should be able to help you with implementing a Facebook Pixel should you desire to have one.
Note: Unlike boosting posts, when you create a Facebook Ad in Ads Manager, the ad is not posted to your Facebook Business Page — it appears in news feeds with the term “Sponsored” attached.
How Do I Choose Between Boosting or Facebook Ads?
Ultimately, choosing between Facebook Ads or Boosted Posts largely depends on your end goals on social media. Each option offers different outcomes. On particular campaigns, the added functionality of Facebook Ads might make them a better option for your end goal. Facebook Ads also tend to have a bigger, more substantial impact. If you’re looking to be much more strategic and precise with your marketing, with the hopes of maximizing your campaign goals/objectives, then Facebook Ads may be a better fit for you.
Meanwhile, boosted posts tend to improve your brand’s social media engagement metrics and overall brand awareness and social presence in a much more simple, manageable format for those who may not have much social media experience.
On a wider level, a mix of Facebook ads and boosted posts can be helpful for your Facebook Business Page. Boosted posts will allow you to build your brand’s reach and attract a broader audience to your page, while Facebook Ads can help you translate your brand’s presence into tangible outcomes and conversions. This one-two punch will allow you to build likes and fans, then turn your new followers into actual customers!
Are you hoping to start advertising on social media, but don’t know where to start? Pearson & von Elbe is a full-service advertising agency with a specialty in social media marketing, management, and maintenance. Contact us today for more information!