Should you boost a post or create a Facebook Ad?
I got this question at a class I taught yesterday. It’s a very common question. I know it’s a common question because I googled it and found a lot of results. A lot of people have been asking, and answering, the question.
I’m also seeing a lot of YouTube videos that address the question. A lot of them say DON’T boost a post. That was a good answer a couple years ago but now the short answer is either one is OK.
The question is actually a little bit incorrect. Because a boosted post IS a Facebook ad. It’s the process of creating it that’s different. The correct way to ask the question, and this is probably what most people mean, is: Should you boost a post or create an ad in ads manager.
Boosting a post is simply the process of clicking the “Boost Post” button under an already existing post on your Page, then filling in the settings like audience, schedule, and budget. This transforms the post into an ad. A paid Facebook Ad. Also called a “Boosted Post”.
The alternative is to create and ad using the ads manager. Facebook walks you through this process step by step. You’ll have the option of using an existing post to create your ad from, or to create an ad from scratch (without using an existing post). So remember, Facebook ads do not have to be posts first. You can create ads directly and from scratch.
Boosted Post Options
Part of the reasons it’s fine to boost posts is that Facebook has added more options which gives you more control over your ad when boosting a post. Another option has been to boost the post, the use ads manager to edit the ad. The ads manager gives you more options so you could start with the boost post and then move to ads manager to make changes that weren’t available in the shorter boost post process.
You’ll see the blue boost post button on your posts on your page, like this…
Clicking the Boost Post button will bring up a window with options for you. Like this…
First you’ll have the option to change the objective. In the past this option wasn’t there. You’d be defaulted to the “Post Engagement” option. Sometimes the Post Engagement option is fine, but it depends on your scenario. If you want website clicks you have that option with the “Website Visits” objective. Your options include:
- Website visits: encourage people to visit your website
- Engagement: reactions, comments and shares
- Messages: engage and chat with potential customers
Remember that the objective will tell Facebook which people to show your ads to. For website visits, your ads will be shown to people who are more likely to click to go to your website. For engagement your ad will be shown to people more likely to engage. For messages your ad will be shown to people more likely to chat. How does Facebook determine who’s more likely to do these things? It knows based on their past behavior on Facebook. So it’s very powerful. But it still may not directly correspond to what you need. For example, maybe a lot of people in your audience who like to comment and share posts are not necessarily your potential customers. And maybe a lot of people in your audience who like to click posts are not necessarily your potential customers. So this is an educated guess as to what’s the best choice here. It’s good that you have the power to optimize how your advertising in this way, but it’s not so easy to know how to use that power.
POST BUTTON (Optional)
This option allows you to add a button to your post. For many businesses the “Learn More” button is a good choice. Sometimes a boosted post (ad) might do better without a button.
Choices of buttons include Shop Now, Book Now, Learn More, Sign Up, Get Directions, Send Message, and the option of no button. Like this photo shows…
Then you’ll see the audience options. Again, in the past there weren’t as many choices to choose from here in the audience section. But now you’ve got all the choices you need including custom audiences and lookalike audiences you may have set up.
Facebook keeps moving more options into the simpler editing processes like boosting posts. It’s actually moved all the power editor features into the ads manager and ditched the power editor. The power editor was a more advanced ads manager giving you more control and features. But now it’s gone and everything you need is in the ads manager.
The audience section in the boost post process is seen here in this photo…
Options NOT included in the Boosted Post process
There are a couple of sections that you cannot set during the boost post process. As mentioned earlier you can still go into ads manager after boosting the post and make these changes though.
The Placement settings allow you to control where your ads show in terms of device and location on the screen. Facebook recommends automatic placements. I recommend edit replacements because automatic can include the audience network which I never want to use. The audience network is outside of Facebook and more complex and difficult to use. Under edit placements you can un-select audience network if it’s checked. You can also select or un-select the Facebook news feed, right column, instant articles, in-stream videos, and suggested videos. You also have the choice of showing your ads on Instagram. The Messenger option allows your ads to show within the messaging area on Facebook but is not available for the Post Engagement objective.
Advanced options control more about where your ads will show. These include specific mobile devices and operating systems like android and iOS as well as only when connected to Wi-Fi. You can also exclude categories of websites and apps that your ad can appear on if you are using the audience network. I usually don’t use the audience network and at this time all of the opinions I’ve heard from other Facebook advertisers is that you should not use it. This may change and may depend on the scenario. Ad Set Block Lists allow you to block your ads from showing on preset locations on Facebook and Audience Network. I always leave this section as it is with nothing checked or changed. If you are using the Audience Network then you would likely want to exclude some of the categories.
Optimization & Delivery
Finally you have the Optimization & Delivery section. Here you can change the optimization which, like the objective, has a big effect on who your ads are shown to.
The default is Post Engagement which tells Facebook to show your ads to people who are the most likely to engage with your post. This means people who are most likely to like, share, and comment on your post. It doesn’t mean they’re good potential customers, but it could mean that your post will reach more people if a lot of people engage with it.
The second option is “Impressions”. This tells Facebook to show your ad to as many people as possible within your selected audience. It won’t show your ads more than 2 times per day to any one person, or 4 times per day to any one person if they are a Page fan. This applies to the ad showing in the newsfeed. If you’ve set your placement options to allow ads to show in the right column, it may show many more times to the same person there.
The third option is Daily Unique Reach. I think this is a good option because it tells Facebook to show your ad up to one time per day per person within your selected audience.
In the Optimization & Delivery section you also have Bid Amount. I always leave this at the default of Automatic. When you get charged is set at impressions. There’s more information about this on the Facebook website but it’s a little beyond the scope of this article.
Delivery Type allows you to use the standard option which will show your ads evenly throughout your schedule. The other option is accelerated which shows your ads as quickly as possible and as stated “can be useful for promoting time-sensitive events and quickly reaching a target audience. Manual bid pricing is required for accelerated delivery.”. Use standard unless the accelerated scenario applies to you.
The photo below is a screenshot of these options.
Is a Facebook Ad better than a Boosted Post?
Here again, to be picky about it, this is an incorrectly stated question because a boosted post IS a Facebook ad. The question should be: Is a Facebook Ad better if you create it by boosting a post or by creating an ad in ads manager?
The answer to the question is no. They are both the same.
Unless you set something wrong because of the process. For example if you boost a post and there’s a setting on that boosted post that you want to change later in the ads manager, and you forget to do it, then maybe for you creating an ad in the ads manager is better than using the boost post process.
For me, boosting a post is a quick and easy way to get an ad started. Then I can go into the ads manager and adjust settings if needed.
How do you do it? Let me know, write a comment below.