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Why Boosting Posts is a Waste of Money — and How You Should Spend Instead

You’ve built a great organic post. Maybe it’s promoting your news content, maybe it’s promoting a sponsor that’s paying you to post about their business — either way, there’s that tempting little button that you think will take your post to the next level, outsmart the algorithm and bring you all the eyeballs you’re after — “Boost Post.” Just add a few bucks and your post will be perfect, right? Wrong.

Taking Off the Training Wheels

While spending money on boosting Facebook posts can indeed increase the exposure you get for a post, you’ll get a lot less bang for your buck compared to other forms of paid social advertising. In fact, we often tell newsrooms to think of “Boost Post” as the training wheels of paid social. It’s simple and easy for beginners. But can’t keep up once you’re ready for real results.

Here are just a few ways Boosted Posts fall short:

  1. You’re limited to only the post types that exist for organic posts
  2. You can’t effectively target a particular audience based on an action you want to take
  3. You can’t add square photos, change customize the headline or description
  4. You can’t A/B test the post creative
  5. You can’t run the ad on both Facebook and Instagram

Ok, so how then can you use your paid social budget to maximize results? Try News Feed Ads instead. Sometimes called “Dark Posting”, these posts don’t show up on your Page’s Timeline. Instead, you define your audience and a budget and let Facebook surface the post to the people you’re targeting — regardless if they’re “Fans” of your Page or not.

Building an effective News Feed Ad can give you more flexibility with your creative, more granular targeting that reaches the people you really want to see your content, and can get better results for the same amount of money than you would have spent boosting a post.

Which would you rather click on?

Step 1: Define your objective

First, decide what you want people to do when they see your post. Are you looking to increase your website clicks? Push people toward more newsletter subscriptions? Increase your Messenger Contacts? Drive higher ratings on a particular newscast?

Boosting posts only gives a limited set of objectives: website traffic, engagement, and connecting on Messenger. And only one of these is really going to benefit you anywhere beyond Facebook.

On the other hand, placing an ad on Facebook can give you a much wider array of options for your objective.

You’ll notice Traffic, Engagement and Messages are still options here — but you can be much more particular with what you want your ad to accomplish. Want people to download your weather app? There’s an ad for that.

Step 2: Determine your target audience

With a boosted post, your ad will show up in one place — Facebook’s News Feed. And while that’s fine for people who happen to be scrolling through Facebook, there are a ton of other ways Facebook Ads can get in front of the audience you want.

Let’s say you want to get that weather app off the ground, like we mentioned before. With a boosted post, you’d probably create a link to a page on your website that houses a link to both the Android and iOS versions of your app. And you’d be optimizing for people who will click through to your website, not your app. And there’s a good chance people could see that link on a desktop device, rather than the mobile device they’d use to download the app. Plus, your boosted post will only show up for people who happen to be using Facebook’s News Feed at the time.

Instead of boosting a post, you can set up an App Installs Ad to reach people who are more likely to download an app, and take them directly to the app download page for their device. You can target people who are using their mobile device at the moment they are seeing your ad, so it’s literally just a couple of taps to install on the device that’s already in their hand.

You’ll also have the option to reach people on Instagram, in Messenger, and even on other placements like Facebook and Instagram Stories. Your potential audience just got a whole lot bigger, which means you can ask Facebook to be much more choosy with the type of people it shows your ad to. That means you waste less money showing your Boosted Post to people who aren’t your target audience.

Step 3: Drive results for your sponsors

If you’re working with an advertiser, you want them to keep buying ads from you over and over again — and that means you want to deliver the highest-quality results possible. The first thing to decide is whether you want to re-sell ads to your clients, or partner with them on paid Branded Content posts.

With a traditional social ad (left, above), the focus is completely on your sponsor. This means you can be more direct in your call to action and your objective will likely focus on driving store visits, app downloads or traffic to their website. You may even work with your advertiser to craft a campaign that focuses on getting the word out about their brand or a new product they’re offering.

For a Branded Content post (right, above), the sponsor pays for the benefit of being affiliated with your newsroom. In fact, there’s a 25-55% increase in post-performance when a brand is promoted WITH a publisher on social media, according to Nielsen. And when you publish Branded Content as a News Feed Ad (instead of a Boosted Post) your advertiser knows exactly what they’re going to get, and exactly who will see the post — you can even target down to only those customers living within a few miles of the advertiser’s store.

Branded content can be an effective way to partner with an advertiser.

Step 4: Make ad creation just as easy as boosting a post

That’s where we come in. At Social News Desk, we know the main benefit of boosting a post is that it’s super easy — just a couple of clicks. Whereas placing a “Dark Post” or News Feed Ad via Facebook’s Ads Manager can be time-consuming and clunky. That’s why we created SND Campaigns Manager. This leading-edge technology allows you to create a powerful social ad that runs across multiple platforms – and it’s just as easy as boosting a post. Maybe even easier!

Step 5: Check out the results

With SND Campaigns Manager, reporting is just a couple of clicks away. Most sales and promotions teams will tell you: pulling together the results of a paid ads campaign can be the most time-consuming task of all. That’s why SND Campaigns Manager offers customized, automated reports that literally build themselves. Use the Campaign Report to send to your client and the Paid Result to analyze internal results. These real-time reports ensure you’re always aware of how well your money is working for you.

How can I get started?

Ready to stop wasting those boost dollars and start spending effectively? Get in touch with us at — we’ll show you how it works, and get you on the road to selling smarter.

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Sarah Loyd

Senior Client Success Manager
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