Paid advertising through Facebook has been a thing for over a decade, but few businesses manage to use it well. It’s not much of a surprise, since even veteran social media managers don’t understand it or have given up on it. Many reputable marketers have even come to the faulty conclusion that Facebook ads are useless.
They aren’t. Small business Facebook marketing can in fact be one of the most cost-effective tools smaller enterprises have for leveling the playing field, but you need to understand how the tools work, what your business needs to do with them, and how your market or audience sees you. Without an understanding of those three things, no ad platform on the planet will ever work effectively.
If you’re just getting started with your Facebook ads campaign, things can get incredibly confusing. Don’t worry — this is the case even when you’ve been using Facebook for marketing for years. This is also why Facebook introduced the “boost” option. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst tools they’ve made available.
Why are Facebook boosts a bad idea?
Facebook has two ways they present to promote an ad:
- Creating an ad through the ads manager.
The reality is, when you do either, you’re pretty much doing the same thing. Except doing a ‘Boost’ gives you a far simpler, somewhat dumbed-down interface to do it. With two clicks, you’ve created an ad.
This is great for Facebook’s revenue, but not so great for yours. This option automatically sets your ad’s objectives for you, often resulting in a very poor conversion rate. What this can mean is that instead of spending say, $0.50 or less per converted customer, you might end up spending $5. The difference is that big.
Spending a few minutes creating a targeted Facebook ad is always better. To open Facebook’s Ads Manager, click on “Promote”on your Business Facebook Page and click on “Go to Ads Manager.”
You should be able to bring up this screen. Be sure to disable any pop-up and ad blockers for Facebook’s domain so you can get it running properly.
Why is a targeted Facebook Ad almost always better?
When you promote your page through the Ad Manager, Facebook offers a list of goals so it can figure out who gets to see your post or page.
Right now Facebook offers the following goals in three categories:
Awareness -Increase people’s awareness of your brand or business
- Boost your posts
- Promote your page
- Reach people near your business
Consideration – Find potential customers for your business
- Send people to your website
- Get installs of your app
- Raise attendance at your event
- Get video views
- Collect leads for your business
Conversion- Drive conversions or sales for your business
- Increase conversions on your website (for the purposes of this post, let’s call conversions: any customer that does what you need them to.)
- Increase engagements on your app
- Get people to claim your offer
Casual Facebook users who manage pages may not internalize the idea that there is so much more you can do with a Facebook Ad or a boost other than collecting more ‘likes’ on your page. The “Boost” function is for them. If you’re serious about marketing, a targeted ad is better nearly every single time.
Targeted Facebook ads make it possible to get your Facebook page to do more than just grow your fan base or increase interactions, which are really the only things boosts can do.
When would a boost make more sense than an ad?
It would make more sense in instances that you only want to reach out to the followers of your own page. For a small business, Facebook boosts can be used to quickly get past the critical barrier of “too few likes” that often gets legitimate pages ignored. Promotions intended to favor your Facebook followers can also be safely “boosted.” But even then, you’re still better off really targeting just the people most likely to want your offers.
Another way boosted ads make more sense is if you just want more interactions from your own fans. Another time it may make some sense is if a post had already been working out organically. A boost will usually do the job fine for increasing interactions and likes in this case.
Are these ads worth it?
It’s a mixed bag. If your goal is simply to grow your page and time really isn’t a factor, you might not even need to spend anything on Facebook ads or boosts. In fact, doing these ads the wrong way might result in a net negative for your branding and overall quality of your followers e.g. your followers might not be actual fans and therefore, much harder to convert. In these cases, you may be better off growing your page organically and your money might be better spent on more traditional alternatives to Facebook boosts and ads such as flyers or business cards.
On the other hand, businesses with cases that fit those mentioned above can benefit from using Facebook’s Ad Manager or boost feature to help them grow quickly. Look at more than just the surface of using Facebook ads and you’ll figure out the best type of marketing for your small business.
Additional reading and sources
- Is it best to boost a Facebook post, promote or create a separate ad that’s not in newsfeed? – The Digirati
- 12 Facebook Advertising Myths Debunked – Adespresso
- Boosting your posts – Facebook.com
- Boost Posts or Promoted Posts on Facebook: Which Is Better? – The Social Media Examiner