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The Marketing Edge - Beyond the boost: Maximizing your Facebook ad spend

January 30, 2019
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Ah, Facebook. Love it or hate it, as the largest social media platform around its likely part of your marketing mix in one way or another.

By now you’ve probably heard that with the new algorithm changes that hit in early 2018, organic (unpaid) reach for branded Facebook pages is low, about two percent on average, meaning only a tiny portion of your followers actually see your content.

As a result, we’re seeing more and more of our clients accept the inevitable – to market on Facebook you have to pay to play. However, not all Facebook promotions are created equal.

For many businesses, creating a post on their page and boosting it with paid promotion seems like a natural solution to getting content out to the world. This quick and easy option is definitely a step above posting organically, but it comes with many limitations.

While these “boosted posts” are technically considered ads by Facebook, they do not give you the same level of creative control, targeting options, or in-depth reporting as ads executed through Facebook Ads Manager, Facebook’s free-to-use ad management platform.

Boosted posts allow you to control only three elements of your campaign in a limited capacity:

  •      Select a target audience
  •      Choose your campaign budget
  •      Decide how long you want your ad to run

Not bad, but Ads Manager comes with far more bells and whistles to get the job done more effectively. Let’s compare …

Go in with a goal

With Ads Manager you begin creating your ad by choosing your objective, aka your desired outcome.

Are you trying to spread the word about your brand or event and just want to get it in front of as many eyes as possible? Awareness is your objective.

Or, perhaps you don’t care how many people see your ad as long as you get 10 purchases in the next week? You are better off choosing a Conversion campaign structure.

The type of campaign you run alters Facebook’s ad algorithm to bring you better results, not something that is an option with boosted posts.

Be specific about who you’re talking to

Robust targeting in Ads Manager lets you market to those who currently engage with your business, as well as find new customers through custom audiences based around demographics, interests, and behaviors.

You can also create look-a-like audiences that have similar characteristics as your top engagers, plus remarket to current customers such as users who visited a select page on your website or those subscribed to your email list.

Boosting posts only allows you to target based on geography, interests, age, and gender.

Reach your audience where you choose

When your ad is built with Facebook Ads Manager, you can select from various “placements,” or where your ad appears to users.

Options include the Facebook feed and stories, feed side ads, Messenger ads, Instagram feed and stories, instant articles, and the Audience Network, which includes mobile apps and sites off the Facebook platform. Mix and match as you please.

Boosting a post only gives you the option to place your ad on Instagram in addition to Facebook mobile and desktop News Feed.

Control your creative

You may have seen ads on Facebook that feature a carousel with multiple products, ads with a collection of photos, static video or image ads, and even a combination of the two.

All these choices are found on Ads Manager and give you the ability to control what your audience sees when it comes to imagery. You’ll also find more robust text and URL editing features, as well as options for your call to action button.

Boosting offers far less creative and formatting choices with just static images and video.

Test the waters

Not sure what the best creative or audience might be? Ads Manager lets you easily run A/B testing so you can identify which ads are performing better and getting you the best results.

You guessed it, this option is not available with boosted posts.

“You get what you pay for” does not apply here

The same $100 spent on a campaign built with clear objectives and optimized targeting, placements, and creative through Ads Manager will work much harder for you than the $100 spent boosting your post.

With Ads Manager offered as a free tool, there’s no reason your business shouldn’t be utilizing it to improve your Facebook ROI.

Not sure how to get started? We can help!

(Kate Bielinski is senior account manager at Sutherland Weston.)

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