Most digital marketers agree that running proper ads on Facebook is more effective than just boosting posts. In fact, if you run a YouTube search for “boost post vs facebook ad” you’ll find several video titles SHOUTING at you to stop boosting posts.
I actually created a video of my own on the topic, but it didn’t delve any further into it than the average post. I summarized the differences between a boosted post and an ad, and I explained that while boosted posts aren’t “bad” they’re less versatile and powerful. My overall recommendation was that small businesses that were just getting started should boost posts until they have a big enough budget to run proper ads.
My case study changed my mind on that.
I knew that ads are more efficient than boosted posts, but I never imagined they would be effortlessly 4x more effective.
This post assumes you already know the difference between boosted posts and ads; it’s meant as a tool for demonstrating to my clients (and yours) just how much more effective ads are, even if you don’t really try.
Boost Post vs Facebook Ad – My $10 Case Study
I didn’t want to invest a massive amount of time or money into this case study, but I wanted it to at least be somewhat accurate. I decided it’s realistic for most small businesses to budget $5 per day or per week for digital advertising. In keeping with that, one week I ran a $5 boosted post, and the next week I ran a $5 engagement ad using the exact same post.
The results? The ad got more than 4x more engagement than the boosted post.
First, let’s take a look at the boosted post.
I didn’t pull any punches here – I used all of my knowledge of Facebook marketing to boost the post as effectively as possible. Basically I did the same thing as a lot of business owners I know.
I boosted the post with the following parameters:
- I chose to optimize for post engagements
- I used the most popular “Learn More” Call-To-Action button
- I boosted the post for one day with a budget of $5
- I targeted people in my province of all (adult) ages
- I targeted people who liked my page and their connections (popular tactic)
- I turned off automatic placements so my post would only display in the Facebook feed
The next week, I ran an engagement ad with the same parameters, except I used advanced targeting to show the same post to people who follow Gary Vaynerchuk (a famous marketer) but don’t like my page yet. The results were extremely noticeable:
Although neither post performed especially well (the creative and copy weren’t great – I wanted them to simulate an “average” boosted post), the ad got more than 4x the results of the boosted post. Because it was more popular, Facebook’s algorithm also allowed it to get significantly more reach and impressions for the same budget.
The Only Possible Conclusion
Facebook ads are just much more powerful than boosted posts, and if you’re spending more than $10/month on advertising it’s worth it to either learn the ad manager yourself or hire a professional. You can get high quality Facebook Ads courses on Udemy or Skillshare for under $20 when they’re on sale, and combining that with a little research on the side will teach you everything you need to know.
The only downside to running Facebook ads is that they can be time consuming and delicate, especially when you’re getting started. They can also be frustrating if you don’t immediately see the same kind of results as your course instructors achieve with their examples.
The best recommendation I can make is to realize that any time and money you put into Facebook ads is likely a wise enough investment. Facebook is massively popular and its advertising system gets more sophisticated every year. For many online businesses (and some offline ones) it is simply the best option for acquiring paid traffic.
However, that doesn’t mean that Facebook ads are a catch-all solution. There are many products and services that benefit more from search ads, and also many which Facebook frowns upon or prohibits entirely.
Despite their power, I don’t recommend becoming reliant on Facebook ads… however, if you want to grow on Facebook and you want more traffic from Facebook, proper advertisements are going to be your strongest tool.