Nothing rivals the ad options available in Facebook when promoting your business. The targeting options are undeniably precise, it’s super cost-effective compared to other platforms, and the creative options allow you to create an advert that inspires your audience.
No wonder millions of retail stores, restaurants, estate agents, financial services, marketing agencies and many, many more across the world are using Facebook to promote their business every single day.
And when you see that “Boost Post” button on the corner of your post, Facebook Ads seem so accessible too, even if you’ve never run ads before.
I get it – clicking that Facebook “Boost Post” button, in all its bright blue glory, is tempting. It promises attention from new audiences and those coveted Facebook likes, all in as little as 5 clicks. Let’s explore what a Facebook boosted post is, why you shouldn’t use it – and the rare time you should – and what you can do instead.
What is a Facebook Boost Post?
A Facebook Boost Post is a paid advertisement on the social network, which amplifies the reach of an existing post on your Page to an audience who don’t already follow your Page.
The official Facebook definition is: “Reach more people with easy-to-do promotions and boosted posts. If you want to reach an extended audience beyond people who like your Page, you can boost a post…”
It’s important to note that a Facebook Boost Post isn’t the only way you can run paid advertising on Facebook. Facebook Boost Posts differ from traditional Facebook ads, which are created in Facebook Ads Manager instead, and offer a much broader range of optimisation, targeting and creative options.
How does a Facebook Boost Post work?
A Facebook Boost Post works by taking an existing post and “boosting” it to reach a larger audience, typically an audience that is outside your organic page audience.
Simply click the “Boost Post” button and you’ll get “more people to see and engage with your post”.
How do you create a Facebook Boost Post?
You can set up a Facebook Boost Post in as little as 5 clicks:
- Choose the post you want to boost and click the “Boost Post” button
- Choose the audience you want to target from pre-set audiences or create your own by picking age, gender, location and interests
- Choose your duration and budget for the campaign
- Choose or supply your method of payment
- Click “Boost”
Don’t get me wrong, the ease of setting up a Facebook Boost Post is what makes it such a popular choice for time-starved advertisers or those trying out paid advertising for the first time.
But here’s the catch…
Why are Facebook Boost posts a bad idea?
Facebook Boost Posts are not the best form of Facebook advertising in most cases, because they are optimised for engagement, not website traffic.
What does that mean? Well, if you’re running a paid advertisement on Facebook, chances are the post you are boosting has a link to your website, because you’ll want to get people to check out your product or services.
However, with Facebook Boost Posts, Facebook isn’t trying to get those paid-for audiences to visit your website. They are trying to get “more people to see and engage with your post”.
And “engage with” means:
- A “like” or “reaction” on your post
- A page like
- A comment on the post
- Your post being shared
- Any part of the post being clicked on, not only the link to your website
Here’s a scenario for you. A local company is sharing results of their latest project online, with a link to their website to encourage new followers to visit and enquire. Through Facebook Boost Posts, they put £10 behind their latest post, and target locals in the area for 5 days. The results are as follows:
So, for £10, this advert had 197 post engagements. That sounds amazing, averaging at 5p per engagement! You’ll probably be thinking, I’ll use Facebook Boost Posts again with costs as low as 5p.
But, look again, and you’ll see that out of those 197 engagements, only 5 were clicks to your website – now averaging at £2 per click. That’s not terrible, and depending on the industry of your business, could sound rather reasonable. However, wouldn’t it be better if more people actually visited your website as part of this campaign? Of course!
Why doesn’t Facebook encourage more link clicks when you “boost” your post?
It’s simple: they want to keep as much traffic as they can on their website, not yours. With the Facebook Boost Post system designed for speed and ease, they hope that users of it will be wowed by the “vanity” metrics of likes and engagements and not notice that they don’t really drive valuable traffic to your website.
How do you promote content NOT using Facebook Boost Posts?
Rather than boosting your Facebook posts, I recommend that you create promoted posts using Facebook’s Ad Manager instead. Granted, they are more complex and time-consuming to set up, but Ad Manager gives you countless options when targeting to make your ad budget work harder.
What is Facebook Ads Manager?
Facebook Ads Manager is the platform for advertisers to create their advertising campaigns for Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and across Facebook’s Audience Network.
What are the advantages of Facebook Ads Manager over Facebook Boost Posts?
Facebook Ads Manager offers so much more innovation and targeting options than Facebook Boost Posts, allowing advertisers to make the most of their budget by producing a range of effective ad posts that can be seen by better audiences.
By better audiences, I mean those who have previously interacted with your website (if you have the Facebook Pixel, of course) or Facebook and Instagram profiles, your customer lists (GDPR-friendly!) and you can even find those with similar attributes to these so-called “custom audiences” – which Facebook calls “Lookalikes”.
Then, instead of having the ads optimised for engagement, which isn’t the best objective for many businesses, you can choose to optimise your ads for the following objectives through Facebook Ads Manager:
- Brand Awareness
- App Installs
- Video Views
- Lead Generation
- Catalogue Sales
- Store Traffic
An overview of Facebook Boost Posts vs Facebook Ads Manager:
|Feature||Boost Post||Ads Manager|
|Targeting||Only target by age, gender, location, and interests||Target by age, gender, location, and interests – and exclude audiences too|
|Custom or Lookalike Audiences||No custom audiences or lookalike audiences||You can also target custom audiences, including those who have visited your website (with Facebook Pixel), your mailing list and those with similar attributes, called “Lookalikes”|
|Ad Objectives||Engagement||You can run ads with the goals of website traffic, post reach, awareness, engagement, conversions, leads, video views and much more|
|Scheduling Ads||Basic||Choose when you ad will be run by certain days and certain times during the campaign|
|Ad Creative||Choose an existing post||You can choose to promote an existing post, or create a new post – using images, carousels, videos and more|
|Ad Variations||No variations||Test multiple ads within your campaign for the best return on your budget|
|Bid Type||No options||You can accelerate your budget spend if you want, and choose the type of bid based on result (e.g. cost per impressions, or cost. per click)|
|Frequency||No options||You can place a cap on your post frequency so your target audience doesn’t see the same ad too many times – wasting your budget|
I appreciate that using Facebook Ads Manager tasks more time and effort than simply boosting your posts, but it provides better results, and at a more cost-effective rate.
So, is there ever a good time to use Facebook Boost Posts?
I personally don’t use the Facebook Boost Posts option ever – based on the results I shared above alone! But, I understand that there could be a good use for them, which is the reason they exist alongside the Facebook Ads Manager platform.
Facebook Boost Posts, in my opinion, are designed for that quick-and-dirty approach. You have 5 minutes, you have a spare £5, you’re on your phone, and you just want to get more eyes on your latest post. Do it – I won’t judge.
But for real results, don’t use Facebook Boost Posts.
I’ve seen many local businesses dabble in Facebook Boost Posts, convinced that the low, low price of 5p per engagement means they are working. Don’t be duped by the £££’s. Take the time to assess what the results really mean for your business and whether you can afford to run ads with no valuable return.
If you take a look at Facebook Ads Manager and feel you need help running your Facebook ads, then please get in touch with me. I’ve been using the platform for years to run cost-effective ads and generate real leads for travel companies, estate agents, law firms and many more.