When you want more eyeballs or engagements on your Facebook or Instagram posts, all you need to do is “boost” them. When you boost a post, you use a small ad spend to either direct users to your website or to get more engagements (reactions, comments and shares). It’s a super simple process and takes only a minute or two to execute. But it’s not always clear when you should and shouldn’t do it.
To complicate the decision even more, there’s also the Facebook Ads Manager, where you can also put ad spend behind posts. As a social media marketing agency, we hear this question a lot: “How do I know when to boost a post and when to create an ad?” And, as always, we have an answer.
A boosted post is a post that you’ve already published that you simply want to show to more people. You can do this right from the Page or in Business Manager view. The post will show up in the targeted audience’s timeline. Technically, a boosted post is an ad because it’s a promotion with some spend behind it, but it’s different from an ad you create in Facebook Ads Manager.
An ad is a much more customizable promotion you create in Facebook Ads Manager, which requires some setup. An ad is intended from the start to be a promotion, whereas a boosted post can be promoted as an afterthought or a reaction to high engagement. Ads can do things a boosted post cannot, like promote app downloads, increase shop orders and conduct A/B testing. You can also target more segmented and niche audiences, like lookalike audiences or website visitors.
If ads are more customizable and give you more creative control, why boost a post in the first place? Good question! There are a number of reasons why we’d recommend a boost rather than an ad.
Before you put a bunch of money into something, it’s always a good idea to do some testing to see if the spend will be worth it. You can even go as low as $1 per day, so it won’t hurt to try. Plus, if your budget is tight, boosts are a good way to get you some experience with Facebook ads so you feel more comfortable using Ads Manager whenever you’re ready to put more money into it.
If all you want is for more people to see the post you’ve already published, then a boost is the way to go. The content is already there, and your goal is super simple, so don’t complicate it with Facebook Ads Manager.
You don’t need all the bells and whistles of Ads Manager’s audience targeting? Go with a boost. You can still target by gender, age, location and general interests, so you can still be sure you’re reaching the right people. You’d need to switch to an ad if you want to target things like overlapping segments, income or educational attainment.
Before you decide to boost your post on either Facebook or Instagram, you want to allow a little time for it to organically show up on your audience’s feed. This will help you determine whether or not the post is worth boosting. If the post is getting higher-than-usual engagement, then it might be worth putting some dollar spend to boost it.
If you’re going to boost a post, you want to be sure the content is worth boosting. You definitely don’t want to be one of those brands that is constantly boosting tons of useless information. Ask, “Does this post add clear value to my audience?” If it’s about important company updates or a giveaway campaign, then that answer is, “Yes!” and you should totally boost that post. Be sure, though, to target the right audience who would actually think the content is critical. In other words, if it’s a company update, only target those who already like your Page and care about you.
When the content in the post is important to your existing audience but only going to be relevant for a few days at the most, then feel free to boost it. There’s no need to complicate it with Facebook Ads Manager.
If you have a bigger budget or more complicated goals, it might be best to use Facebook Ads Manager. And if you don’t have a goal in mind or your content isn’t valuable to you or your audience, save that ad spend for another time.
We know it’s a lot to process, and the answer isn’t always clear. Fortunately for you, you’re in the right place! We’re an award-winning digital agency with more than a decade of experience in social media marketing. Let’s connect on a complimentary 30-minute call to talk through your paid social strategy and see if we’re the right fit for your brand!
Carly Steinberg, Public Relations Coordinator
Elevate My Brand