As Facebook continues to incorporate a “Pay to Play” model for Facebook Business Pages to receive reach and engagement, many businesses are weighing the options between a Facebook Boosted Post Vs Ad for reaching their target audience. Organic reach is no longer viable on the platform as a post may receive as little as 1 percent of views from a Page’s followers, but most business owners are confused when it comes to the differences between setting up a Facebook Campaign and simply boosting their posts, which I’ll be exploring in this post.
Boosting a post on Facebook is essentially a watered-down version of setting up a Facebook Campaign. The boost post option allows you to choose a post that’s already on your business page and promote it.
Using this feature allows you to choose your target audience, a total budget and the duration to run your post. In a recent update you can also encourage readers to visit your website if the post includes a link.
The biggest difference between a boosted post and a Facebook Campaign is in the limited functionality that a boosted post offers in customization. It focuses primarily on visibility and engagement, which can be great for brand awareness, but it doesn’t allow you to choose through other conversion options like store visits, actual conversions, lead generation, or where the post is displayed.
Here are a few key takeaways before we dive further in the differences between boosted posts and Ad Campaigns:
The interface for boosting a post is much simpler and doesn’t offer the variety of customization options that are available when you run a Facebook Campaign. Like I mentioned, you have the option to choose a marketing objective such as traffic, conversions, product catalog sales, lead generation or app installs, allowing for a better fit depending on what your social media marketing goals are.
Facebook Campaigns also let you choose from different placement options, whether you want your ad to display in the sidebar, the Facebook news feed, Instagram feeds and stories, instant articles or messenger ads, whereas a Boosted Post only lets you check or uncheck whether you want it to display on Instagram.
You can display your campaign to desktop or mobile users only, which can be significant depending on who your target demographic is.
By using a full ads system, you have control over who your custom audience is alongside detailed targeting based on target interests and behaviors, which isn’t available on boosted posts.
Manual bidding is also available for impressions or link clicks alongside more creative control in making carousel ads, adding headlines and descriptions, choosing the right CTA button based on your preferences, which you can’t do through boosted posts.
While you should be using Facebook Campaigns most of the time, simply boosting a post has its own benefits depending on what you’re trying to promote.
As an example of using a Facebook Campaign, a dealership could create a video awareness campaign promoting in-store specials for the month. That dealership could then retarget the audience that watched a certain percentage of the video and incorporate a lead ad that automatically fills out most of their information.
After that audience converts, the dealership could then retarget the users who visited their website and show those users high-converting carousel ads based on the vehicles they researched on the website.
This is one option that social media marketers have in their arsenal when using Facebook Ads that can produce incredible results with a relatively low CPC or CPA.
On the other hand, you can boost a post when the target goal is to boost brand awareness or increase engagement such as getting users to like your page. Whether it’s announcing an event such as a grand opening, the release of a new product or service, or sharing user-generated content to build customer loyalty, boosting a post has its own value depending on the overall goal for the boost.
With the rising popularity of the Stories format, it only makes sense for Facebook to offer marketers a new way to reach their audience as a “pay to play” platform for business efforts. Interestingly enough Facebook cites one-third of the most viewed Instagram stories to be from businesses that are achieving results with that type of ad format:
“For example, Tropicana ran video ads in Instagram Stories for its summertime product promotion campaign, achieving an 18-point lift in ad recall and 15-point lift in purchase intent among males. OpenTable used ads in Instagram Stories to drive online restaurant reservations, resulting in a 33% lower cost per reservation compared to other ad formats. And Overstock ran video ads in Instagram Stories to acquire new customers and increase sales, and generated an 18% higher return on ad spend and a 20% decrease in cost per acquisition.”
It’s standard to see lower CPMs for any new ad placement format as advertisers are competing for less space for their ad placements. However, marketers are viewing the new ad placement opportunity on Facebook as opportunistic rather than strategic, especially as the platform appeals to an older demographic in comparison to Instagram. Be sure to check out my full post for my details on best practices for Facebook Story Ads.
To wrap things up, here are the main differences with Boosted Posts and running an Ad Campaign:
Both have their inherent uses, but I find Facebook Campaigns to be the more robust option that will allow the most bang for your buck in driving sales conversions, whether through e-commerce or in the physical storefront.
The ultimate goal for any business is to drive more sales as effectively as possible while beating the competition. Digital offers such a wide variety of targeting options at relatively low CPC or CPA to a massive audience, making it imperative for social media marketers to take advantage of all the tools that are available to them on the platforms they’re advertising on.
Boosting posts is great for social media, where the focus is to spread brand awareness, cultivate new followers and customer loyalty, but that’s only a small part of the overall scope for most digital marketing initiatives.