Advertising on Facebook and Instagram is one of the cheapest forms of paid advertising with some of the best returns for your investment. Unlike more traditional methods such as adverts in your local paper where you can only broadcast your message to everyone, Facebook allows you to target your ideal customer to encourage them to take the action you want them to.
But what are the different options, and which is best for your business?
Facebook loves to entice business owners to ‘Boost’ a post promising to reach X amount of people for a few pounds. But is this really the best use of your ad budget?
Boosting posts can be part of an effective ad strategy if they are used correctly. However, often you may be paying to boost a post that has little or no engagement.
Why is that a bad thing if I want more people to see my post?
If your post hasn’t done well organically, and by that I mean captured your audience’s attention enough for them to like, comment or share the post, then putting some money behind it isn’t going to remedy that fact.
I hear a lot of business owners talk about the algorithm stopping them from reaching their customers.
The main thing to remember with the algorithm is that it will always favour posts that engage with people and initiate conversations.
There are usually several reasons why a post may not have performed as you wanted it to…
Is your content really scroll stopping? Is it going to grab people’s attention?
Social media is a busy and crowded space. People scroll…wait for it… over 300 metres EVERY DAY!! That is a LOT of posts to whizz past. If your post doesn’t grab a user’s attention, then chances are they’ll scroll on by.
If you do stop someone scrolling, then what are they going to see or read?
Are you inviting engagement or are you broadcasting your own message i.e. being salesy?
Remember people use social media to be entertained, to catch up with friends and family and to seek out information. If you’re just broadcasting your own sales message then unless someone is specifically looking for that, they’re not really going to engage with you.
This is why the algorithm may not be working for you. If your posts are not engaging your audience then Facebook won’t prioritise showing it to them.
And this is why boosting an existing post that hasn’t engaged people isn’t the best way to go about advertising on Facebook. You will simply be giving Facebook money to show your ad to an audience that isn’t really interested.
So when should you boost a post?
Before you hit the boost button, ask yourself what is it you are trying to achieve by paying to boost a post: Do you want more engagement or likes on that particular post? Or are you trying to increase awareness of your brand or your page?
Look at the post objectively
Has it performed well organically?
Is it informative?
Does it have a good call to action?
Does it link to your website?
Does it do exactly what you need it to do?
If you answer yes to all these then maybe that boost button might be an option.
But what if your main objective is to generate more sales or leads?
This is where you should be creating a bespoke and targeted ad using Facebook’s Ads Manager.
Facebook collects a vast amount of data about all of us. It knows which of us is most likely to click on an ad, who is most likely to purchase something they’ve seen on an ad and who’s willing to sign up for something with their email address.
Creating a bespoke Ad using Facebook Ads Manager will make your budget work smarter for you.
You’ll have a bigger choice of ad objectives
You can choose to optimise your ads to drive traffic to your website, get people to watch your video, to install your app, to send you a message or engage with you, to sign up to your newsletter and of course find people most likely to convert to buy your product or services.
You’ll also have more options to target your ideal customers…
You can use your ideal customer personas/avatars to build detailed audiences based on their interests, habits and key demographics such as age, location and job titles.
You can target people who are most like your existing customers by creating look-a-like audiences using your email subscriber list (providing you are GDPR Compliant).
You can also exclude certain people if you know they’re not right for you, so you don’t waste your budget showing your ads to them.
You can test different versions of your ads to different audiences to see what combination will give you the greatest return on investment.
You can re-target people who’ve visited your website, who’ve purchased from you previously or who initiated a purchase but didn’t complete it… this is why those shoes you looked at once appear to follow you round the internet!
You will also be able to customise your ads for both Facebook and Instagram
To ensure they have the best chance of engaging with your customers you can create and optimise your ads for the different placement options including:
News feeds on mobile or desktop
Facebook & Instagram stories
In video stream ads
In article Ads
Most importantly, you can track and monitor your ads performance
Ads Manager gives you access to a lot of data to see how well your ad campaign is performing including your return on ad spend (ROAS). Keeping a close eye on your results will allow you to develop an effective and profitable pay per click Facebook and Instagram ads strategy.
In summary you will have much greater control over your ads and your budget when creating bespoke ads using Facebook Ads Manager compared to boosting a post.
About the Author
Hello there! I’m Louise and I’m a certified Facebook & Instagram Ads Specialist, Social Media Manager and Social Media Trainer.
I am passionate about helping businesses reach their potential with their paid ads and social media marketing. After spending 15 years driving and implementing global marketing strategies, I decided to go freelance and utilise my experience, knowledge, and training to help businesses grow their online marketing.
I provide a range of services from Power Hours where you can get bespoke advice about your Ads or social media to Ads Management, Coaching and consultancy.