Fair warning: This is one of those “pet peeve” topics of mine. One of the most common questions I see is people asking what the difference is between boosting posts and running Facebook Ads. Or, so often I see gurus talking about “Boosts” and “Ads” as distinctly different things on the Facebook platform…
Let's get something straight… If you are paying for visibility on Facebook, you are running a Facebook Ad. If you are boosting posts, you are running Ads.
So… what is it that people THINK a “boost” is…
Typically when someone talks about a “boosted post” in comparison to a “Facebook Ad” what they are really referring to is the tool used to create the Ad.
You see – Facebook is a business that makes money off of selling Ad space. Because they want it to be easy for businesses to spend money on Facebook, they have created 2 separate interfaces for creating Ads. One, Ads Manager, is pretty user friendly albeit robust and powerful. But, they simplified it even farther and created an Ad creation tool that is so easy, even a Senator could use it! (If you saw Mark Zuckerberg testify before the Senate, you'll get this reference!)
When you are on your Facebook Business Page, you may see alerts informing you that “this post performed better than 85% of your other posts…” and Facebook encourages you to put a small amount of money behind it to reach more people. You'll also see blue buttons scattered throughout your page encouraging you to run Ads. If you click on those button, it will trigger the lightest interface of the Ad Create Tool.
From Facebook's perspective, it's a strategic move. Like the candy bars in the checkout lane. They are positioning themselves in a place where you are guaranteed to see them – plus, making them easy and affordable. But, just like those candy bars… they're not REALLY good for you!
What a “Boost” really IS…
When you “bite” on one of those Page-level Facebook Ads, what you are running is a specific type of Ad, also called a “Page Post Engagement (PPE)” Ad.
When you go into Ads Manager to create an Ad you will see that Facebook offers a variety of Ad Objectives. What you select here is important because it tells Facebook what actions are most important to you.
With a Page Post Engagement “Boosted Post” Ad, you have told Facebook that the most important thing to you is that the specific post gets more Engagement.
What the heck is “Engagement?”
This is another space where people get confused. When you think of engagement on a post, you likely think of 3 things: likes/reactions, comments, and shares. Yes, those things ARE all “engagement” but other things are ALSO considered engagement, such as: video views on a video, or clicking an image to enlarge it. Engagement is any interaction with the post – not just the actions you specifically want to see.
Why “Boosting posts doesn't work”
Most of the time, when people say that Boosting does not work, it's because they have selected the wrong objective. They don't understand how Facebook Ads work, and they are running the wrong ad.
Boosting a post will get you the MOST engagement at the LOWEST cost.
Boosting a post will NOT get you the most LEADS at the lowest cost (if you want that, run a Lead Ad), or the most website TRAFFIC at the lowest cost (if you want that, run a Traffic Ad).
The facts are that Facebook Ads DO work… but they only work if the advertiser knows how to leverage the interface.
The BIG Take Away
ALL Facebook Boosted Posts (“Boosts”) are ADS… but not all Ads are Boosted Posts. If you are boosting posts, you are running Ads, they just happen to be Ads that are optimizing for engagement on a specific post.
What REALLY matters, is the interface on which you are creating the Ad. The Ad Create Tool accessible directly from your Page is limited. It does not give you the same in depth targeting options or customization tools as the Ads Manager offers. And for THAT reason, I always recommend that marketers build ALL Ads form within Ads Manager. NEVER “boost” a post from your Page — if you want to “boost” a post, this can be done much more effectively from within Ads Manager… and even more importantly, from Ads Manager you can ensure that you are running the BEST type of Ad based on your specific business goals!
What objectives does Ads Manager allow you to run Ads for? That's on the agenda for next week's discussions!
Meg Brunson has been marketing to moms for over 7 years. She is the founder and CEO of EIEIO Marketing, a digital marketing agency focused on Facebook Marketing for family-focused businesses.
Meg is also a former Facebook employee with a passion for helping bootstrapped businesses figure out Facebook so that they can promote like the pros! She left the 9-5 in 2017, so that she could be the mom she wanted to be to her 4 young daughters.
After helping her daughter launch her first business, Storytime With Kiki, at the age of 10, Meg began hosting the FamilyPreneur Podcast: an interview-style podcast for parent entrepreneurs, raising entrepreneurial children.