Does the Facebook Boost Button work? 47


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image by arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos

image by arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos

Ever wondered if that little “Boost Post” button on Facebook is worth it? 

 

 

While I don’t claim to be an expert on the matter, I have used the boost button on a number of occasions, to varying degrees of success.

 

 

At the end of the day, the jury is still out on whether it all actually worth it or not. Sure, my posts have been seen by a LOT of people, but I’ve never actually reached any of the targets I’ve set, so I can’t really say it worked.

 

 

I’m not even 100% sure I agree with the need for the Boost Button in the first place. In the good old days, you wrote a post on your page, and it was seen by everyone who liked your page. Simple. Now, your post is only ever seen by a small margin of the people who like the page.

 

 

Facebook uses some complicated formula to determine who gets to see it and who doesn’t. The more likes you get, the more that formula lets people see your post. (No idea how that formula is worked out. If anyone knows, I’d love to find out).

 

 

If you want to increase the odds and the reach of your post, you have to pay for the privilege. It’s Facebook advertising on a micro-scale, for a much smaller outlay.

 

 

FBBoost1You choose a budget, starting at about $5 per post and going up to several hundred. You can choose to target friends of friends, or you can target based on age, location and even sex. The targeted options obviously cost more money.

 

 

My first time boosting, my $6 budget seemingly lasted forever and resulted in over 3000 views for 112 new likes to my Facebook page. I was promoting a new competition on my blog and had set a target to reach 3000 likes within a month. A big ask, sure, but I was offering a $200 prize if we reached it. My return on investment (ROI) was about 5c per like.

 

 

Since then, I’ve tried a couple of other smaller boosts with mixed results, leaving me to believe it is the actual post subject that matters most.

 

 

FBBoostIn the first one, I was offering people the chance to win money for very little personal investment. All they had to do was press like on my Riley Banks’ Facebook page.

 

 

My second boost was more mundane – a 5 star review on my book, Vampire Origins to a mostly female, young adult audience in the hopes it might organically boost sales. It didn’t.

 

 

I then hit upon my most successful Facebook boost. For about $12, I boosted a competition offering the chance to become a character in book 2 of Vampire Origins. Targeting it again to the female young adult audience, I reached more than 12,800 people. However, in terms of actual click throughs, there was only 58 people who went through to the competition. Not the highest ROI, but still, it was 58 people I may not have reached without it. And they did only cost me 20c per click through.

 

 

My last time boosting, I again went the whole targeting route, setting a $25 budget, which was sucked dry in a single evening. Most disappointing of all, it only reached 3000 people for 25 interactions. My ROI was $1 per interaction – much higher than any of the previous attempts.

 

 

So why did the last attempt have such a bad return? I was again offering prize money – $200 to sign up for my newsletter. Perhaps it was the fact that they had to navigate away from Facebook and fill in a subscription form. Then again, they had to do the same for the Character Competition, and that had a much better ROI.

 

 

So does it work?

 

 

Well, in a word, yes. But you really do need to boost the right post. And that in itself is a science – finding the type of post that Facebook users will naturally respond to. The true measure of success is a post that goes viral, with people sharing and spreading the word themselves.

 

 

I haven’t got there yet. But if I had the right post, I’d probably try again.

 

 

One of the unexpected benefits I saw was a flow on effect to my other posts on the page. All of them have had a reasonably significant increase in reach.

 

 

How about you? You’ve obviously come to this page because you’re searching for information about the Boost Button. In fact, this blog post is the most searched for and highest ranked post on our website. That tells me there are plenty of people interested in finding out more about it.

 

 

Join the conversation and share your experiences.

 

 

Have you used it?

 

 

What kinds of posts have you tried?

 

 

Having read my experience, would you bother trying it for yourself?

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Rebecca Byfield

About Rebecca Byfield

Rebecca Byfield is Editor-in-Chief of The Writers' Shack and its associated blogs. She has more than 15 years' experience in journalism and communications. She writes fiction under her alter ego, Riley Banks. Rebecca is available for freelance assignments. For more information, go to http://www.rileybanks.net/newsite/freelance-writer/ Also, check out our Pens for Hire page for a list of freelance writers, editors, translators and more - http://www.rileybanks.net/newsite/pens-for-hire/


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47 thoughts on “Does the Facebook Boost Button work?

  • The Guy

    I’ve never heard of this post boost feature. I am unable to find it on my facebook page, where can I find it?

    I often see facebook trying to make me buy an advert with them yet I am very hesitant to pay for advertising.

    Your post is very interesting and I’d love to find out more. Your results are very impressive.

  • Riley Banks

    It’s not on your normal profile page but on any business page you have set up. I have mine on my author page (https://www.facebook.com/authorrileybanks I am also hesitant to pay for advertising, but tried this because it only cost me $6 and it did really boost the overall coverage of my post. I certainly wouldn’t do it on every post, but on something you are looking to promote, it was definitely a cheap way to do it.

  • Pamela Paxman

    Check out my page. I have 100,000 likes all done through facebook CPC ads. Lots cheaper than boosting. CHeck out my page pamela-paxman Give me a shout if you want help reaching your goal. I can do it in two days, targeting your audience.
    Pamela

  • Dave Kearney

    Riley, I’ve found the boost post very effective in pushing our page likes (still very modest, but with some explosive percentage growth). My concern is that my new fans are coming from locations, ages, and interests that I think unlikely will be productive in the end, and potentially even could be counterproductive I suppose to my desired end audience by swamping them out. Do you know if we can place the same targeting on the boosts as with the ads, and, if so, how? Thanks! Dave (Of course, I’ll be really happy if I’m wrong about the new fans and they actually turn out to be contributors too — too early to tell for sure.)

  • Karen

    Dave Kearny, did you ever get a response to your concerns about being able to narrow down locations and target audience when using the boost feature? Thanks

  • Charlie Gunningham

    I’ve used FB ads on and off in 3 different organisations over the past 5 years, and found them to be good to pageviews, awareness, and also likes. I’ve only just this month started using boost posts as well ($10/post) and combined with a FB ad promoting the page ($15/day) we’ve gone from a reach of 2,000 to 35,000 in about 3 weeks. And likes have trebled from 300 to 900.

    One thing I’m not sure about is who are we boosting the page to? Any random person who happens to open their news feed, people around the world? Friends of mine (well, I am but one administrator of page and another administrator is doing the boosting).

    • Errol

      Charlie I have the same query exactly actually. Who is being actually reached in reality?

      My band’s reach has significantly improved with boosting certain selected posts as Rebecca rightly so indicated. One must be careful to choose the right posts that get the ROI to some extent. The laws to choosing this are non-existent though and results do tend to get very irregular.

      Another mystery in our case was that we paid a simple 75 Euro boost to a music video of our pre-album single “Hymns Of June” which reached 20k extra likes in 2 weeks going from 30k to 53k views only having youtube pull it down for unfair marketing. They said that we actually boosted the video by views from bots!!!!! bots?!?!!? This had to come from the actual facebook boosted post, but bots??? So what is actually being boosted here? I would seriously love to know…

      Thanks Rebecca for a very cool article in my opinion and keep up the good work.

      Errol
      Airport Impressions

  • Riley Banks

    First off, let me apologise for the tardy reply. For some reason, it wasn’t emailing new comments to me, and I hadn’t manually checked. That’s all changed now.

    Second, thanks for taking the time to respond. I really do appreciate it.

    Third, in answer to your questions about the Boost Button, I’m no expert but my understanding is that we can target our audience.

    When you do the Boost, you choose one of two options. To boost to people who like your page and their friends (at the moment, only a percentage of them will see it). To boost to an audience based on targeting. You can then add targeting based on location, age, gender and language.

    Not sure why FB changed their original system, where everyone who liked your page could view the posts made on that page.

    Let me know if you have any other questions – and hopefully now that my comments notification is updated, I will see them. :)

  • James Greenall

    “Not sure why FB changed their original system, where everyone who liked your page could view the posts made on that page. ”

    So that they could charge for Boosting the Post by any chance? Or am I just a cynic?

  • Joel Savage

    Thanks Rebecca for knowing you through LinkedIn over the post of this subject. Normally I appreciate the ‘likes’ on Facebook and follows on Twitter ‘. My question is do ‘likes and follows’ enhance or boost the sales of a author’s book? What’s the significance of the 3000 ‘Like’s target? I would glad to if you can share your experience with me.

  • Nick

    I am unsure what a ‘like’ really means. For professional social media advisors I suppose it helps them validate their invoice to the client, but what benefits do likes really bring? I can’t help feeling it’s all rather vague.

  • Andrea Marie Norwood

    Hello,
    I must say that sounds good, but I have not seen the boost post on facebook either and if I knew what or where it was I’d go to it and hit it and hopefully it will do for me what it does for your books, etc

  • Rebecca Byfield
    Rebecca Byfield

    @Andrea – if you click on the photos above, it shows where the boost button is. I don’t know if it shows up on everyone’s page, or only after you reach a certain amount of likes.

    @Joel – I don’t know what affect it has on sales of your book, though I would suggest if you had 3000 likes and at least half of those people were regularly seeing your posts, it might bring in more sales. That being said, I personally have more success with sales when I don’t pump my book at all, but rather push my blog posts and other things that bring people to my website. It all comes down to interesting content, whether that is on your website or your FB page – people want a reason to visit your site regularly.

  • Kevin Rutter

    I have just done this boost post feature today, its reached over 2000 people so far and we have gained 1 new like? not sure what I was expecting but if you dont try you dont know. I will update if there is a significant change.

  • Andy

    Very interesting Riley, I have never paid for Facebook ads either. I am trying to go the natural route, but it can be slow at times. Good to know. I will look into it. Appreciate the share!

  • Carole Poole

    Hi, I found your post in a google search because I am interested in knowing more about the ‘boost’ on Facebook. I too, decided to try it. But after watching it work for a day, I am now wondering…what was I thinking!!!!!! All Facebook has to do is continually “make the numbers rise” in the view column and keep sucking the money out of my “limit”! What proof do I have of how many views there actually were? Have you tried it again? And did you get your 3,000 likes? So curious! Thanks

  • Rebecca Byfield
    Rebecca Byfield

    Hi Carole,

    I didn’t make the 3,000 but I knew that was actually a very hard to reach goal. That’s why I offered $200 if we got there. But it did boost my likes by about 100.

    Personally, I think for it to work, you have to have an interesting post people want to read anyway. Or a photo that has the potential to go viral.

    People say FB is the best place to market and connect with audiences, but I just haven’t found it yet. Even with the Boost Button.

  • Neil

    I’ve been boosting a couple of post on our gaming site and it does bring new subscribers… A $5 boost can bring you more than 400 visits and 100+ likes on that post. A $10 brand page boost may gain you between 70 to 100 new subscribers. The key is to make sure that you set the correct target demographics and choose the best thumbnail for the post.

    • Rebecca Byfield
      Rebecca Byfield

      Oh, they’ve definitely found another way to milk us. The only benefit is they can milk smaller amounts from us at a time, which probably means we’re more likely to do it than the traditional FB advertising that cost several hundred dollars.

  • Shelley Gillespie

    Hi Rebecca,

    I sat in on a webinar recently that indicated that probably only around 16% of FB posts get seen by your network by the algorithm. So, the boosting at least gets you out to more people. I haven’t tried it yet.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Shelley

    • Rebecca Byfield
      Rebecca Byfield

      Hi Shelley,

      Thanks for your comments. Did they give any indication of how that algorithm works? That’s what baffles me. Because if we understood the algorithm, we might be able to find some way to organically bypass it. Hmm, maybe that’s why they’re keeping it such a trade secret.

  • Femme Fitale Fit Club

    I have used it on multiple occasions targeting friends of friends and special demographic audiences. It was effective when I boosted my monthly fitness challenges. Received huge sign ups and participation which continues to this day because it is a challenge you have to check in on my FB page daily. Others I have seen go wood and in the end I think I will ditch the boost button. I tried to use it on my Women Who Ride series on my blog which showcased women who ride bikes at all levels. It did not drive the traffic to my blog like I would have hoped or increase the # of subscriptions so I think I will continue with the old fashioned way.

    • Rebecca Byfield
      Rebecca Byfield

      I think that’s the secret to its success – finding the right post to boost. It seems to work best when you’re boosting something on Facebook, rather than when you’re boosting something that requires people to navigate away from Facebook.

  • Jarrod V.

    A lot of the likes from Facebook boosts come from fake accounts. Those fake accounts are bots developed by third-party Facebook developers. Those bots are designed to “like” certain things.

    Of the billion+ so-called Facebook accounts out there, about one-third to one-fourth are fake. Not all of them are bots, but a significant portion of them are.

    Only boost if you have an ego issue and can’t take your posts only being liked by a few people. If you want to look more important than you actually are and can handle those fake likes, then go for it.

  • hydrosupralicked

    Any promotion I run on any of my pages will have THOUSANDS of views and ONE reply and ONE like, for $10 USD. Then a post with no boost will get 700 views and 24 likes and 7 comments. I believe that the content of the update is far more important than if it was boosting.

  • chevimp

    I’ve been boosting posts on Facebook for a while now and with much the same result as yourself. Over the years, the price has increased while the target audience has decreased. What brought me here? After my most recent boosted post, Facebook told me it reached over 4000 people yet the post itself shows a poultry 82 seen! This doesn’t add up to me! It would seem that Facebook may be fabricating the results? I think I’m done with boosting posts.Facebook ain’t what it used to be.
    Thanks for the blog post, Rebecca, great work.
    Cheers.
    Greg

    • Judy

      How does FB know if your post was “seen”? I boosted a post today with a $5.00 cap and so far it was seen by 75 people and only $.25 was spent. I don’t understand the particulars of when FB actually charges and how they know when it is seen. Any insights?

      • Rebecca Byfield
        Rebecca Byfield

        Judy – I don’t think anyone really knows that particulars for how Facebook works out that algorithm. That’s something they are keeping very close to their chest. As you can see from my own experiments with it, the results can vary widely. A couple of times I had excellent results, but the last few times they have been really disappointing. Perhaps they changed the algorithm to make it more expensive to get the same results.

  • kuriousarts

    Thanks for the notes on your experiment. I’ve tried boost to reach more like minded folks for our Kilimanjaro climb and fundraiser at http://www.Climbkiliforkids.org.

    I seriously suspect the likes I get from Boost : The accounts are from the middle of nowhere and each one has 2-4 THOUSAND likes on topics that have nothing to do with each other. IMO, the Facebook “LIKE” is starting to look like a ponzi scheme.

    I’d much rather focus on good content and personal relationships than paying these guys.

    • Rebecca Byfield
      Rebecca Byfield

      Thanks for the response. I tend to think it may have started out a good option, but like most things, greed took over and Facebook decided to start charging the earth for it (and perhaps fudging the figures as well – though no proof of that).

      Good luck with your Kilimanjaro Climb. Sounds fascinating. Perhaps you want to write something about it for our Gypsy Girl travel section.

  • EMPOWRME

    Great post! I’m trying to figure out whether or not the Facebook boost posts and advertising in general will work well as an effective marketing strategy or if I’ll be putting money down the drain :) Looks like I will need to effectively target the audience to hopefully see results. Thanks!

    • Judy

      How does FB know if your post was “seen”? I boosted a post today with a $5.00 cap and so far it was seen by 75 people and only $.25 was spent. I don’t understand the particulars of when FB actually charges and how they know when it is seen. Any insights?

  • George Pappas

    I have used the BOOST service twice in order to promote significant posts. Both times with a nominal budget of $5. What I have discovered is that Facebook are not honouring their word. The service you pay for is to promote a particular post to either 1) all ppl who have Liked your page & their friends, or 2) you choose the filtering meaning you can choose gender/countries.age etc regardless of whether that demographic has Liked your page or not.

    Now, it makes more sense I think to target ppl who already have Liked your page, you are far more likely to get engagement from them as they already know you. BUT, what I have discovered is that even though I chose to have my posts Boosted to all ppl (& their friends) who have Liked my page, across the world, on both occasions looking at the statistics later, my country engagement shows only 100% Mexico. And judging from the small real response I got on the posts, yes, it was response from Mexico.

    So, I can only deduct from this that Facebook is deceiving us when they claim they will Boost a post to ALL ppl who Like our page. I am further assuming they may reserve this ‘privilege’ to customersl who have far larger budgets. What the budget cut off point may be I don’t know.

    The final paid Reach achieved may show a large impressive number, but in my opinion, and from what I have experienced twice now, I think this service is a scam as FB do NOT deliver on their advertised promise. If you wish to try it with a small amount, I’d be interested to hear your own experience.

    • Rebecca Byfield
      Rebecca Byfield

      Thanks for your comments George. I too have tried boosting to all people who have liked my page, but it never seems to reach the desired audience. Judging from the comments here, and the fact that this post is still the most searched post on my blog site, there are a lot of people who are either unhappy or at least suspicious of the results.

      • George Pappas

        Thanks for the response Rebecca. In the past I have also advertised on Facebook via their standard pay/click service and it took me a little while to ‘click’ (mind the pun) that I was always getting a response from a specific world demographic, I figured it to be Central America, even though I had chosen a wider selection of countries. Now after trying the new Boost service, once again I am getting similar results; the target of only Mexico.

        Being a musician, I have Page Likes from all over the world so if I have an important post, I wish that post to be seen by EVERYONE who is a fan of the Page. Not unreasonable. There is no incentive for me to target just those in Mexico (& I guess friends of). This is of little value to me or anyone in my position.

        I do suspect that superior paid reach is reserved for customers who have significant budgets; hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars. The majority of FB Boosters though, like myself, are more than likely not in that league. So, in my opinion FB is being dishonest to us!

        • Errol

          George

          Thanks for sharing the info mate, being a musician such as you in an even smaller country like Malta I can totally understand where we at least want to reach whoever liked our page!! I think that facebook is taking a turn every single day towards a paid environment where they have realised the marketing tool that facebook has now become (to some extent) and are trying to milk even more.

          That being said, it IS a better environment for us and we would be very interested in continuing to use it at a FAIR go. This means that YES, we are prepared to pay but show us the results in a clear, understandable manner.

          Keep up the posts, everyone has stuff to learn and this is one of the important topics, since the world is always getting gripped by a social media future.

          Thanks again Rebecca for the opportunity to voice our opinions with others.

          Errol
          Airport Impressions

  • eharczos

    I think it’s important to share my experience so far and let you know that Facebook advertising is a waste of your money and a scam. We’re hosting a giveaway and had 521 Organic views on the giveaway post for the last two weeks. In an effort to get more volume to our page and more people entering the contest, I decided to boost the post by paying $15. As of right now $1.12 of that $15 is gone and I still have the 521 post views, but now it’s saying 293 of those are organic and the remaining 228 are from the paid boost. So ultimately they just changed my Insights so that it looked as if almost half of the people that viewed that post were from the boost. If I hadn’t waited 2 weeks to boost the post I probably wouldn’t have known. I’m going to be posting this comment onto multiple blogs to get the word out – do not waste your hard earned money (no matter how little $15 may seem) on these scam artists and thieves. I’m certainly going to keep the Facebook Page up, but they will never get another dime from me.

  • Rebecca Byfield
    Rebecca Byfield

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, guys. I am so glad this post is generating lots of discussion on the merits of helping Facebook become even richer. There is definitely a reason this post is the single most visited post on my site, and the number one in terms of Google searches.

    People definitely want to know more.

    Like Errol points out, I think many of us would be happy to pay IF we could see that there really was some benefit to boosting our posts. Perhaps in the beginning, there was some benefit to it, but now, it just seems to be yet another way for the Facebook conglomerate to increase their profits.

    I was really tempted to boost another post the other day, just to see if things had changed, but decided there have to be better ways to promote things.