Facebook Boosted Posts: Why You Shouldn’t Do Them

If you have a Page for your business on Facebook, you will have no doubt seen the ‘Boost Post’ feature.

Facebook Boost ButtonAlthough boosted posts are a quick and easy way to promote an offer or get your message in front of more users, there are several reasons why you should stop doing this.

“It works for me” I hear you say as you consider reading no further. There’s no denying boosting a post can seem like a winner, especially if you get a giant surge of Likes, comments & shares.

But before you hit that boost button, you need to ask a few questions:

  • What was the objective of this paid promotion?
  • Were you looking to increase social engagement on the post with more Likes and comments?
  • Were you actually looking to drive traffic to your site?
  • Were you hoping people would see the post and convert either by signing up to something or making a purchase?

If the latter, how did you measure the results achieved from the promotion, outside of seeing an increase in social engagements?

Hopefully, you’re reviewing the action taken by users who saw your boosted post by looking in an analytics platform such as Google Analytics. Take a look at your acquisition, source/medium report, find Facebook referral traffic and filter to the time period your promotion was running.

Facebook Referrals in Google AnalyticsNow you can see how many users actually came and visited the site via Facebook during that time period and if there were any valuable actions taken such as goal completions or e-commerce transactions during the visit.

There’s a problem here though, how can we differentiate between traffic that visited your site from Facebook organically and traffic which only came from the paid promotion? And if you can’t make this differentiation, how do you know if the boost was effective and what the ROI was?

Simply put, you probably can’t.

This problem is twofold;

  • You won’t be able to actually measure results or calculate ROI;
  • Your paid and organic traffic has been muddied together which will give an artificial spike in organic Facebook referrals and your organic channel grouping.

Traffic Growth GraphURL Parameters

The way to separate your traffic is to add parameters to the URLs you use, that way you can define the traffic you’re sending to your site. Parameters make it easy to track and segment traffic in your analytics platform, from any campaigns you might be running.

Having to create these parameters for every URL in every organic social post you create, may not be possible for you from a time standpoint, also, having a long URL with parameters in it, in a social post can also look a bit off-putting to users. Of course, you could shorten them but then there’s another step to have to carry out each time you post. We shall continue.

Pro tip: Create URLs with parameters quickly and easily using this tool. We’d recommend adding a medium of ‘paidsocial’, with source facebook, and a campaign name of your choice as a minimum to any paid advert on Facebook.

So why boost a post?

The default goal of a boosted post is to get more users within your targeted audience to socially engage with that post. Facebook’s own definition is below;

“Boosting a post may help you get more people to like, share and comment on the posts you create.”

(Read more here)

While the options are now starting to be expanded as you can see below if you have been boosting using the default goal you may not have been finding the best people to take the action you need.

Boost Post ObjectiveFor example, if you were looking to send people to your website to take an action would you rather Facebook showed that post to users (who based on their behaviour on the platform) are likely to see your post and give it a good old fashioned Like or users who are likely to see your post and then click the link to your website? The latter? I thought so.

The benefit of a boosted post is the simplicity and speed in which you can create a promotion, I get it. When it comes to targeting though, simple and quick isn’t necessarily (if ever) the best option. After all, if the promotion isn’t being shown to the right people it’s not going to be effective.

So what’s the solution to all of these issues? Use Facebook Business Manager.Facebook Business Manager

Business Manager is a free tool which allows you to;

  • Create highly targeted advertising campaigns based on a range of goals;
  • Track conversions;
  • Enable advanced targeting options to create defined audiences;
  • Utilise tracking features such as URL parameters (ad campaigns have a built-in URL builder).

What if you do just want to create engagement?

If you do just want to make sure your audience actually sees a post you’ve written due to declining organic Reach, select the engagement objective when you create a new campaign – you can easily select a post to use an advert at the ad stage of campaign creation.

Create Ad FacebookWhat does this all mean?

Although it may seem like hitting that boost button is a quick way to achieve your goals, realistically, it probably isn’t achieving a lot more than giving your post social engagement.

If you do want the extra engagement to increase your Reach, creating a campaign with the engagement goal as mentioned above will ensure you get exactly that, but with the added benefit of being able to use some of the more advanced targeting options and other features available to Facebook advertisers.

Creating ad campaigns is a relatively easy thing to do, there is even a guided creation feature which will help you get started.

Being able to achieve more results and most importantly be able to accurately report on the results you do achieve is definitely worth the extra initial investment of time.

Best of all, Business Manager is free to use so there’s every reason to ditch the boost and try an ad campaign. If you need help, check out our blog post on getting set up with Facebook Business Manager.

Need help with Facebook Ads and social media management – then give us a shout – that’s what we do!

See you in my remarketing audience soon 🙂

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