Facebook Ads versus Boosting Posts: The Difference and Why ECPs Should Care

If you’ve been actively using your business Facebook page to engage with your patients and community, you’ve definitely been tempted.  That little friendly pop up at the bottom of your posts is so enticing, telling you how well your post has been doing, and how spending a little money will get you seen by even more people.  It’s just a few dollars, right? But before you hit click, do you know what are paying for?

Boosting Posts and Facebook Ads are Not the Same

At the bottom of every post, you’ll see a little icon to the far right asking you if you want to boost that post for an additional monetary investment (usually $0.50-$1.50 per like or post interaction).  When you boost a post, this post is served to people that you’ve specified as your target audience in your Facebook settings.  If you haven’t set any target audience, it’s just served to everyone at random. Make sure you have targeted an audience before you ever consider boosting a post (see our August 2017 article on Getting Hyperlocal to learn more!). While a boosted post will definitely get likes, it may be from people that live nowhere near you and will never intend to actually visit your website or schedule an appointment.  Paying $0.50 -$1.50 for each like your post gets gives you no real value – you want to pay only if they are doing something that actively builds your business, like clicking off your Facebook page and going to your website or scheduling an appointment directly.

That’s were Facebook Ads come in.  Instead of boosting a post to get more likes, a Facebook Ad Campaign allows you to specify your specific goals and structure the campaign accordingly. For example, if you want to drive people to your website, all aspects of your Facebook Ad campaign will be designed to achieve the specific target.

To start a Facebook Ad, click to the Facebook Ads Manager tool from your homepage, or through the direct link at https://www.facebook.com/advertising.  There you can choose from 1 of 15 campaign objectives, including our favorites of “Send people to a destination off Facebook” and to your own website to book an appointment and “Increase conversions on your website” to get appointments scheduled. You could alternatively pick a campaign to grow your brand awareness (which basically targets growing your Facebook followers).

After you’ve chosen your objective, you’ll then select a target audience, which is where you’ll use geotargeting to specify the age, gender, location, language, and behaviors of the people you want to reach.  The more specific you set your target, the more likely you are to see specific results, so select with a purpose.

From there you will need to set your budget.  You can choose either a daily budget (with a limit on how much you will spend per day) or a lifetime budget (your ad will run until the budget has been fully spent). There are pros and cons to each option, and next month we’ll be exploring this topic in full, so stay tuned!

For each campaign, you can schedule one or multiple posts as part of that specific ad set. There are a ton of choices here!  You can utilize posts you’ve already done that were high performers, or create all new posts.  For best engagement, studies recommend utilizing both images and video in your ad set to maximize your returns.

Determining Your ROI

Make sure you look at Facebook’s campaign statistics to track your return on investment, and help guide you on changes to improve your ad strategy effectiveness. Go to “Manage Ads” on the Facebook Ad Manager page to access these statistics, and be sure to sort the data generated by what you actually care about.  For example, change the drop down menu from “Cost per Click” to “Cost per Website Click” to see just how much you really paid for Facebook users you converted into visitors to your website. Utilizing Facebook’s statistics in full will give you a complete picture of your ROI and allow you to maximize what the platform can do for you!  Next time you think about just clicking that enticing little “Boost Post” button, hit the brakes and create a campaign that is trackable and performs to give you the results you really want.