In 2019, it’s become common knowledge that Facebook and other social media platforms restrict how many of a business’s posts will be seen by the world—unless money has been put behind them. The problem is, most people don’t realise if they’re only boosting posts, and not investing in Facebook ads, they could be wasting a lot of money, despite how many people are being exposed to their business.
But what’s the difference between sponsored ads and boosted posts? Is it Facebook ads versus boosted posts or is there a time and place for each? How much do they cost? Buckle up, because we’re about to answer all your questions.
About Facebook Ads
What are Facebook ads?
When you create and run a page through Facebook Business Manager, you’ll have access to the platform’s Ads Manager. This is where you can create and monitor ads, similar to how you would for Google Ads, with a set budget per day (or over a period of time). A bidding system will decide on how many people will see your ad based on your budget, target audience and ad type.
While Facebook commands how many people see your ad, you can tell them who to show your ad to by setting your audience. You can select your audience based on age, gender, location, marital status, interests, if they’ve visited your website, how they’ve engaged with your Facebook page and more. Being able to target your audience so specifically is one of the biggest benefits of using Facebook ads over other forms of social media marketing.
Note: A Facebook ad is not the same as an organic or boosted post. You may see Facebook ads referred to as sponsored posts, but these are still specifically created ads managed through the Ads Manager. See more about boosted posts below.
Pros of Facebook ads:
There are more accurate metrics to measure your ad’s results.
The analytics of today’s ads are the success of tomorrow’s campaigns.
Unlike boosting a post, the Facebook Ads Manager gives you the number of people who saw your ad, their demographic, where they saw the ad, how much you spent, how many clicked links on the ad, etc. Even your return on investment is tallied up for you by showing you cost per click and impressions (views).
By clearly being able to see which ads have done well, which have done not so well and the audience viewing each of these, you can see where you get a better return on investment. Then, you can do more of the ads people interact with and less of what doesn’t receive much attention.
Your audience can be targeted more specifically for better results.
Social media marketing is similar to how you would run ads on television. You want to pick the right time slots for your audience who would be most likely to use your products or services. For example, a health insurance provider wouldn’t choose the 6:30am to 8:30am kids cartoon schedule to run an ad, but a toy maker would.
With billions of active users on social media, simply picking a time slot isn’t enough for most businesses. You want to plug in as much information as you know about your target audience, and Facebook ads let you do this. It may seem counterintuitive to shrink your group of ad viewers, but if it’s too broad, you’re wasting marketing dollars on people who won’t ever become a customer.
You can schedule ads in advance.
This one is pretty self explanatory. If you’re only boosting posts, you won’t be able to schedule boosts in advance without using 3rd party software. But that’s not the case with Facebook ads.
Your ad schedule can be based around your promos, product releases, quiet times and more, all ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about a thing. Remember, always check the results of your campaigns so you can tweak the settings on future ads.
Facebook isn’t the only place your ads can appear.
Facebook also owns Messenger and Instagram. To broaden the number of people who see your ad while still being very specific with your targeting, Facebook lets you advertise on all three platforms through the Ads Manager.
This means if people in your target audience prefer to spend time on one platform over another, you’ll still be able to catch them. There are also multiple ad placement positions, so there are different ways for them to see you, your products and services.
Cons of Facebook ads:
The Facebook Ads Manager can be difficult to use.
Even without the endless amount of ad variations you can create, the Facebook Ads Manager is tricky to use. Once you learn how to use the platform efficiently, there’s also learning how to navigate the bidding system and getting your ad through Facebook guidelines. Did you know Facebook only allows a certain amount of text in the image of an ad and some images aren’t allowed for specific industries? Yeah, there’s a lot to learn.
However, utilising a social media marketing specialist won’t just save you time and stress, it’ll help you target the right audience for the least amount of investment. Not only will you be able to get your ads out there, they’ll be able to optimise them for your purpose and make the most of your budget. Scroll to the end of this article for more information about Localsearch’s social media marketing services in Australia.
It’s recommended your ads run for a minimum of 7 days on a minimum budget.
There are two reasons your ads should be running for at least 7 days:
- The Facebook ads algorithm requires time to go through its learning phase about the ad and audience so it can optimise who they target.
- Your audience may not be on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger every day, probably not at the same time, so a week gives you time to catch the most people to utilise your budget effectively.
While investing more into your campaign can shorten this time, it doesn’t always work and you need to ensure you know what you’re doing so you’re not wasting money.
It does cost more than boosting to be effective (but the return is worth it).
Facebook ads costs more as you can do more to reach the people you want, which if done correctly, is more beneficial for your business. While the upfront investment may concern you, focus your attention on what you receive in return by targeting a more specific audience through ads.
About Boosted Posts on Facebook
By boosting a post on Facebook, you’re paying for the platform to put one of your already existing organic posts in more people’s feeds. Facebook lets you choose if you’d like people of a certain age group to see your post, as well as if they follow your page, are the friend of someone who likes your page or don’t have any connection to you at all, but are local to you.
How is a boosted post different to an ad? The key difference is that Facebook ads allow you to target your audience more specifically, while boosted ads take a stab in the dark that someone will be interested. Remember the example of running a health insurance ad during cartoon time? Boosting a post is just like that.
So, why do people even bother boosting posts?
Pros of boosting posts:
Boosting posts is extremely easy to do.
You can boost a post in a couple of clicks. Under most organic posts (some posts cannot be boosted), you’ll see a ‘Boost’ button. By clicking on this, you’ll have everything you need to boost a post on one screen, including your minimal targeting options. It’s that simple and can be done in a couple of minutes.
The typical spend on a boosted post is very low.
You can boost a post for as little as a $1 a day. Facebook will give you an estimate of how many people will see your post for your investment, so if you’d like a larger audience to see your post, you either spend more or widen your targeting options.
However, you’ll need to remember with such a broad group of people, you’ll be wasting money on people who won’t be interested in your products and services.
You receive seemingly great exposure (although this is a double-edged sword—see below).
Boosting a Facebook post can put your business in front of a lot of people very quickly, although a lot of people doesn’t mean the right people. Imagine pitching a billboard for snow gear in the middle of Darwin. Sure, there are 130,000+ people living in Darwin seeing your products, but how many people in Darwin are going to be going skiing regularly? You’re basically aiming at a target a kilometre away with a blindfold on.
A post can be boosted for as little as 24 hours and still receive good exposure.
Because of how little people tend to spend on boosted posts and the little functions you can employ, there isn’t much to the algorithm. Facebook takes into account if you’ve set an age group or location, how much you’d like to spend and matches an amount of people within those specifications to your budget.
Whereas with Facebook ads, the platform takes your set target audience and then does their own optimisation. Over the first few days of your ad running, they take into account who of your target demographic are interacting most with your ad, and then gives more of your budget to similar people.
So, while Facebook ads take time to do their thing, they do a better job at getting in front of the right people. It comes down to if you care about spending money on people who won’t ever use your business seeing your post.
Cons of boosting posts:
The ‘great’ results aren’t actually what they seem.
Boosted posts produce what are known as vanity metrics. This is a fancy marketing term for results that look incredible but haven’t actually brought you any value in return. Facebook will get you excited by showing you the thousands (even hundreds of thousands) of people who saw your boosted post, but they won’t show you how few of those people actually interacted with your business as a result.
It all comes down to putting your business in front of the most targeted, quality audience for better results.
Viewers of the ad aren’t as targeted.
As explained above, one of the biggest problems with boosting Facebook posts is the quality of the audience who sees your ads. When boosting your post, you can set who you’d like to see your posts down to a location and age group, even if they like your page or not, but you cannot do much more than that.
Again, not being able to target your audience by their preferences, gender and other specifics puts your ad out to a wide group of people—people who may not be interested in your business. The more targeted your results, the better the outcome.
There is no tracking of results or conversions.
While your post is boosted and after you stop pumping money into it, you’ll be able to see two types of metrics; people reached and engagements. The people reached statistic is a single number showing how many people saw the post, but not who these people are. Then, the engagements show you how many people liked, commented, shared, hid and reported your post—again, no specifics of who these people are.
Receiving accurate and in-depth results will help you know what demographics do and don’t enjoy your posts. Without this feedback, you’re taking a stab in the dark and could be wasting money.
Boosted posts only show on Facebook.
- The point of boosting a post is to show the original published content to more people. Due to this, a boosted post will only show in Facebook feeds, not on Instagram or Messenger, or in different places on the platform. However, people tend to forget their options have been limited due to how many people their post is put in front of, but don’t forget it’s all smoke and mirrors if you actually want results from your money.
Why is boosting posts on Facebook a waste of money in 2019?
The only time you’ll ever want to boost a post on Facebook is when you have a last-minute event or sale you only need to attract more attention to for a day or two. In all other scenarios, using the Ads Manager is the clear winner of the Facebook ads versus boosted posts debate.
In summary, you should be using Facebook ads if you want to:
- Receive legitimate return on investment, not just vanity metrics.
- Get more bang for your buck by being able to target your audience very specifically.
- Optimise your ads with more buttons and options.
- See the exact results from your ad including who saw it.
- Advertise on three platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Messenger) at once.
About Localsearch Social Media Marketing Services
So many businesses owners think to make Facebook ads work in their busy schedule, they need to fork out for a full-time social media manager—but it’s simply not the case. Our Localsearch social media marketing packages will get you onto all three platforms, with optimised ads AND for around 7 times less than hiring a full-time employee.
Why Localsearch? For more than 25 years, we’ve been helping Aussie businesses get in front of the right people. Our Robina head office and local consultants mean whenever you need help, we’re on the same timezone as you—no overseas call centres.
To find out more visit business.localsearch.com.au/social-media-marketing/.
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