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Facebook Ad or Boosted Post? What’s The Best Option?


Paid Media / July 09, 2020

Facebook and Instagram are both popular social media platforms where brands can form deeper connections with their customers and get discovered by other users. A ton of companies use Facebook and Instagram as an organic channel and a paid channel to increase brand awareness and sales. 

As a digital marketing agency specializing in paid media, we’ve managed thousands of Facebook Ad Campaign and Boosted Posts to help our clients achieve their business goals. That being said, we also see a lot of brands boosting posts in order to get more likes, more shares, or more followers. But, what’s the real goal behind this action? Increase brand awareness? Get more sales? If so, this is not the right strategy for you and that’s what we’ll be talking about today.

Before we get there, let me explain the difference between a Boosted Post and an Ad on Facebook.

What’s the difference Between A Facebook Ad and A Boosted Post?

There are three ways to reach a target audience on Facebook and Instagram:

  1. Organic content
  2. Boosted Post
  3. Ads

It’s no secret that Facebook has been reducing the reach of organic posts on its platform. Facebook mentioned that there are 2 major reasons why organic reach is declining. First, there is more and more content being created on the platform, therefore there is more competition to appear on a user’s news feed. Second, with the massive amount of content available on the social platform, the Facebook algorithm only picks a few posts that seem to be the most relevant to the user. That way, Facebook continues to improve its user experience. 

To overcome the loss in organic reach, many businesses turned to Boosted Posts or Facebook Ads. Many businesses owners or marketers think that both advertising options are the same thing, but no. There are a few key differentiating factors that’ll impact your results if not taken into consideration.

A Facebook Boosted Post is an ad that reaches a specific audience when you promote an organic post on your timeline. 

A Facebook Ad is made through the Facebook Ad Manager and comes with a multitude of customization options (placements, audiences, formats, etc.). 

Note that your audience won’t be able to tell the difference between a Boosted Post and a Facebook Ad in their news feed.

Keep This In Mind When Boosting a Facebook Post

Facebook Boosted Posts are easy to launch, that’s why so many people use them, from freelancers to SMBs to big organizations. The only thing you need to do is set general targeting and add a budget, all in one single page. That’s it! 

Although Boosted Posts sound amazing on paper, there are a few things you should know about them to decide whether or not it’s the right tactic for you :

1. Engagement doesn’t equal success

Every boosted post on Facebook is optimized for Post Engagement (share, likes, comments) and research shows that post engagement rarely leads to a sale. According to Facebook, the followers you might get from a boosted post won’t continue to engage with your company in the long run and there is a very small chance that they’ll turn into a loyal customer. One of our agency’s clients had over 500K users engaged with their posts, but only 2% ended up buying online. 

Therefore, if you want to get more reach on your organic post, and bypass Facebook’s algorithm, boosting it might be a good option. But, if you are boosting your post in order to get more followers or more engagement, you are throwing your marketing money out the window and you probably won’t see a great return on your investment.

Also, keep in mind that Facebook recently mentioned that its community does not like posts (organic or paid) that use content that urges people to inauthentically interact with likes, reactions, shares, or comments to increase engagement. For example, brands that use promotional content like contests that encourage artificial engagement will see their reach on these posts decrease. 

2. Less customization options

Additionally, your targeting options and bidding options are incredibly limited on a Facebook Boosted Post compared to Facebook Ad Manager. For example, Boosted Posts do not let brands use lookalike audiences or custom audiences which makes it harder to create a long-term strategy that drives results.

In addition, with the Facebook Ad Manager, you have the ability to easily duplicate an ad and test different variants and see which one performs best. 

Should I Boost a Post or Create a Facebook Ad?

If you are using Boosted Posts to get new followers or increase engagement on your posts, you might be throwing hundreds, even thousands of marketing dollars away. If you are looking to increase brand awareness or increase revenues with ads on Facebook, we’d suggest using the Facebook ad Manager and optimize your ads for those specific goals.

So, if you are looking to manage spend efficiently, optimize your campaigns and A/B test (which you should!) Facebook Boosted Post, isn’t the option for you. Facebook Ads allow businesses to reach a broader audience more predictably and with greater accuracy than organic content or boosted posts. 

How To Create A Successful Facebook Advertising Campaign?

A Facebook Ad takes more time and knowledge to launch than a Facebook Boosted Post, but you’ll really get the most of your advertising budget. If you don’t know how, there are a ton of tutorials online, or you can ask a digital ad agency to help you. Here are a few steps to follow in order to launch a successful Facebook advertising campaign:

1. Pick the right KPIs

Engagement shouldn’t be an indicator of what will drive sales or brand impact. Make sure your KPIs are aligned with your overall objectives. 

2. Choose your Facebook Ad objectives

Make sure your campaign objective is aligned with your business objectives. Reach, conversion, app downloads, in-store traffic are various campaign objectives that’ll help generate meaningful results. 

3. Identify the right audiences

Choosing the right audiences will have a major impact on your campaign success. Try to reach a new audience likely to be interested in your product, rather than showing your posts to your followers. Lookalike audiences, custom audiences and interest-based audiences might be worth looking into. 

4. Ensure you are tracking metrics accurately 

Tracking accurately conversions, newsletter signups or form completions is essential to know how efficient your campaign really is. Accurate tracking also makes it easier to identify opportunities and optimize your campaigns. Make sure you’ve installed the Facebook Pixel on your website and that you are tracking the right events. To learn more about website tracking, check out this article.

5. Create eye-catching creatives

Facebook and Instagram offer a ton of ad placements (stories, news feed, right column, etc.) and different ad formats (carousel, images, square images, videos, gifs, etc.). If you have the resources to do so, consider trying out different formats to see what works best for you. Your creative assets should be designed based on these best practices: 

  • Capture attention quickly and deliver your message early. For example, videos should be less than 15 seconds long.
  • Design videos for sound off but delight with sound on
  • Reduce text on image
  • Avoid sensationalist messages
  • Share your brand story and be authentic

6. Write an effective copy (paid vs organic)

An organic post and an ad do not serve the same purpose therefore, their copy should be different. An organic post is usually made to engage with your followers, users who already know your brand. An ad can be served to various audiences, some will know your brand and some won’t. Your message should be different depending on whether the user is familiar with your brand or not. 

And, you want to keep your ad copy short (no one likes to click and “read more”) and in line with your creative. Also, try adding a call to action or an incentive offer to increase the chances of user converting.

7. Launch your ad

It’s go time! After reviewing your campaign one last time, set it live. Don’t worry, you can make changes and optimizations anytime you want. 

8. Test and optimize frequently

We’d suggest testing 2 or 3 versions of your ad on Facebook and Instagram. Keep a close eye on your performance and do not hesitate to pause underperforming ads and shift budget to what works best. 

Feel free to contact our digital agency, if you have more questions on social media advertising!

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Jeff Johnson

Director of Paid Media @ Bloom


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