To boost or not to boost? Should I be boosting my posts on social media?

by | Feb 9, 2020 | Facebook Ads: Getting Started | 0 comments

Some of the most common questions I get asked as a Facebook advertiser are about Boosted Facebook posts (or Promoted Instagram posts). Are they worth doing? When should you create an ad in Ads Manager vs Boosting? What is the difference?

In this blog post, I unravel the what, how and when of Boosted posts!


WHAT are Boosted posts and how do they differ from ads created in ads manager?

Boosted posts (known as Promoted posts on Instagram) are ads that you create from posts already posted to your Facebook/Instagram Page.

You can create these ads directly from your Facebook/Instagram Page by hitting the ‘Boost’ / ‘Promote’ button. Boosting/Promoting a post creates a single ad, directed at one audience, with one objective.

Essentially, it streamlines the process for beginners, allowing them to begin to harness the power of paid ads, without the need for setting foot inside Ads Manager.

There is nothing wrong with Boosting posts, but it does have its limitations.


HOW do you create a Boosted Facebook post or Promoted Instagram post?

To create a Boosted Facebook post:

  1. Find the post you want to Boost on your Facebook Page
  2. Select ‘Boost Post’ in the bottom right-hand corner of your post (note Boosting isn’t available for all posts). 
  3. Facebook will use the images and text from your post, but you will be able to customise the following details:
    • Objective: Essentially this tells Facebook what action you want people to take when they see your ad. Choose whether you want to reach people that are most likely to visit your website, purchase your product(s), engage with your post or send you a Messenger message.
    • Post button: Add a call to action button to your post – such as Learn More or Shop Now.
    • Audience: Choose the types of people you want to reach with your ad.
    • Placement: Choose whether you want your ad placed on Instagram and Messenger in addition to Facebook.
    • Duration and Budget: Select how much you want to spend on your ad and how long you want it to run for.
  4. When you’ve finished, select Boost. 

To create a Promoted Instagram post:

  1. Find the post you want to Promote on your Instagram grid,
  2. Select ‘Promote’ in the bottom right-hand corner of your post (note promoting isn’t available for all posts).
  3. Instagram will use the images and text from your post, but you will be able to customise the following details:
    • Destination: Select whether you want to send people to your profile, your website or your Direct Messages.
    • Audience: Choose the types of people you want to reach with your ad. You can either target people similar to your followers or create your own audience based on demographic/interest information.
    • Duration and Budget: Select how much you want to spend on your ad and how long you want it to run for
  4. When you’ve finished, select ‘Create Promotion’. 

Note that your promoted post will automatically appear in people’s Instagram Feed and Stories. It won’t appear on Facebook.

You can also promote Stories directly from the Instagram app. To do this, go into the Story you want to promote > hit ‘… More’ in the bottom right and then ‘Promote’.


 WHEN might you want to Boost/Promote a post?

Boosting posts can be a great option when you are just getting started with ads. They used to have very restricted capability but these days you do have more options for your objective and audiences (although there are a lot more limitations than creating an ad via Ads Manager – we’ll get onto those in a bit!).

If you have a very limited budget, no time to get to grips with Ads Manager and you are not yet in a position to hire someone to help you, then Boosting/Promoting posts is a great starting point to allow you to start to reach a bigger audience than you can organically.

But, if you are going to Boost/Promote posts, you do still need to be strategic about the ones you choose to put money behind. If you think you will want to Boost/Promote the post you are about to add to your feed, ensure it is written with it being an ad in mind – i.e. it should make sense to an audience that doesn’t know your brand and it will need a clear call to action to get them to do what you want them to.

Only boost posts that already have great engagement among your organic audience and have inspired them to take action (if your warm audiences don’t engage/act in the way you want them to, then a cold audience is unlikely to either). So, leave your post on your feed for a little while and allow it to gain some traction organically before Boosting/Promoting.

One great example of the type of post that can do well through Boosting/Promoting with a very limited budget is a competition post. These organically get great engagement and putting some spend behind them will help you reach a new audience and grow your following, providing you are strategic about the audience you target and the mechanism for your competition entry. Posts announcing a store sale can also do well through Boosting/Promoting.


What are the limitations of Boosting/Promoting a post?

Although Boosting/Promoting posts can be a great way to get started with ads, most of the time I advocate using Ads Manager instead.

This is because, when you Boost a post on Facebook (or Promote on Instagram) instead of creating it through Ads Manager, there are limitations in terms of the customisations you can make.

These include:

  • Limited choice of objectives
  • Fewer audience choices and no ability to create custom (warm) audiences from your website visitors, email list or page engagers
  • No option for retargeting or dynamic ads using your product catalogue
  • Limited choice of placements
  • No ability to change the ad creative and copy, or customise this for the different placements
  • No advanced options such as bidding and delivery optimisation

As Boosting/Promoting an existing post only creates one ad, shown to one audience it also prevents you from testing different audiences, creative and copy. It also limits your ability to create funnels that take people from not knowing your brand through to purchase – especially important if you are after sales.

It is also important to note that when Boosting or Promoting a post, that post needs to have been posted to your Page or Grid first. When creating an ad in Ads Manager, the ad does not appear on your Page or Grid, allowing you to separate the messages you send your cold vs warm audiences.


So, to Boost or not to Boost?

In conclusion, using Ads Manager will always be the best option if you want to include Facebook/Instagram advertising into your social media strategy – especially if your objective is sales. But if you are just starting out, have a low budget and are looking to increase some awareness, engagement or followers – Boosting/Promoting posts can be a great place to start.

If you have any questions about Facebook/Instagram advertising or want to discuss how I can help you go beyond the Boost and increase your sales with the power of paid, drop me an email and let’s chat over a virtual cuppa!

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