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Facebook’s Boost feature is easy-to-use, highly-customizable and one of the best ways for multi-location businesses to get in front of more consumers. As with all forms of advertising, however, marketers are still trying to figure out how to measure the ROI of Boost.

Before we explain how you can measure the success of a Boost campaign, let’s identify what you can do with Boost. Facebook’s Boost feature allows you to pay to increase the reach of a post; the more money you put behind the post, the more people it will be shown to. You can also Boost for engagement; meaning you will be charged based on how many likes, shares and comments the post receives. Boost is a way to show your content to more people — but it’s only effective if you can show the right content to the right people.

Below, we’ll explain why Boost is preferable to traditional advertising methods, how to measure the ROI of Boost, and what you can do to improve your Boost campaigns.

Facebook Boost vs. Traditional Advertising Methods

As Gary Vernerchuck mentions in his recent blog, there are notable cases of modern, successful brands achieving success by taking advantage of underpriced advertising technology such as search ads and social media. Examples include Amazon, Wish and MVMT Watches. Gary V also points out the flip side of this equation – some Fortune 500 companies are losing market share while spending their advertising budget on traditional advertising methods, like TV and magazine ads.

Social media advertising can get your content in front of your most engaged audience, and at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising methods. Consider the difference in cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) between social media advertising and traditional methods. In Q1 2018, the CPM for Facebook advertising was just $11.20. Compare that to the $57 CPM for direct mail, $28 CPM for broadcast TV and $16 CPM for magazine advertisements.

Another reason to invest in social media ads is the fact that the advertisements are both clickable and trackable. It’s difficult to track the ROI on a print ad or a TV commercial; it’s easy to see exactly how many people see your ads and engage with your content on Facebook.

The low CPM of Boost is comparable to the early days of search advertising, an advertising method that was underpriced initially because marketers didn’t know how to take advantage of the newest form of advertising. Those savvy marketers achieved results with search advertising, and early adopters of Boost can do the same. According to one company’s example — Case Study #3 — spending just $5 in Boost can result in more than 750 new people reached. While marketers might not be used to paying for reach or charged for engagement on social media, the reality is that social platforms are evolving and marketing strategies should follow suit.

Boost is more cost-effective than traditional advertising methods, but it’s also more visible. Boosted posts appear right on user’s news feeds; displayed to consumers in a familiar environment instead of in the back of a magazine or in between songs on the radio.

Businesses see the most ROI from Boost when they treat it as a campaign to generate soft leads; potential customers who have shown a propensity to engage with your content. Of course, getting your brand in front of consumers who are likely to click requires that you leverage Boost’s powerful tools; audience targeting and free content testing.

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Audience Targeting: The Key to Realizing ROI

Boost is easy to use, but not limited by simplicity; Boost allows for audience targeting based on location, gender, age and interests such as pages people have liked, ads they’ve clicked and apps they’ve used.

The default audience targeting for Boosted posts is, “family and friends of people who like your Page.” This audience is fine if you’re posting newsworthy content about your company, but your sales-focused posts should be targeted towards a specific audience such as, “men age 18-24 in San Francisco who are interested in [your industry or product].”  

Facebook also offers “engagement retargeting,” which means you can target Boosted posts to people who have liked, shared or commented on your previous posts or advertisements, thus ensuring that you’re advertising to the people who are most interested in seeing your brand. You can Boost the post to an audience of, “everyone who engaged with my page” or narrow the audience based on the type of engagement. Lastly, be sure to save these audience targeting parameters so you can A/B test them.

Boost’s audience targeting feature is especially important for determining the ROI of your paid efforts. You can save money by identifying the audience that’s most likely to be receptive to your content. Instead of paying more to Boost your post to a massive audience, you can pay less to Boost it to a specified audience.  

This type of hyper-specific targeting — to a warm audience, nonetheless — sets Boost apart from traditional advertising methods. You can test these different audiences in much the same way that you test different messages and imagery.

The Advantage of Free Content Testing

Boosting gives you the ability to test different types of messaging and imagery to see what earns engagement — before you actually pay to Boost the post. Most Boosted posts begin as organic posts on Facebook, which cost nothing. Organic posts are only shown to people who like your brand’s page, and have interacted with your content, but Boosting an organic post will display the content to a much wider audience – that you choose, no less.

The best approach for boosting content is to determine which content is earning the most engagement, and then make edits to that content to optimize it for Boost. Common edits include adding a CTA, creating trackable links or changing the language to better connect with the specific audience that you’re targeting.

When selecting which posts to Boost, you should also consider your marketing objectives. One company saw success Boosting posts about new product launches, generating $2,400 in sales after spending just $20 on Boosted posts. That $20 earned the brand page more likes, hundreds of engagements, an even improved the organic traffic on the brand website.

If your goal is website views, make sure there’s a link to your site in the post. If you want to promote a specific product, make sure that Boosted post has a link to that page, or build that product info into the post itself. Determining the ROI of your Boosted post depends entirely on your objectives.

Measuring the ROI of a Boost Campaign

As with any marketing method, Boost only shows ROI when there is a clear strategy and measurable objectives. One part of your strategy should be setting parameters regarding which posts to Boost. At SOCi, it is our recommended best practice to Boost only the top 10 percent of your posts based on audience engagement.  Facebook Insights — or other social media reporting technology solutions — can show you which posts meet this criterion. Boosting the top 10 percent of the most engaging organic posts will ensure that your best content is reaching the largest percentage of your targeted audience.

Engagement metrics can be used to determine which posts to Boost, but they should not be used to judge the success of your paid Boost campaigns. Facebook measures likes, comments, shares and page views, but as a marketer or business owner, you have to use those measurables to determine the success of your social media marketing. As a business owner, you’re probably more concerned with website visits, cost-per-impression and number of leads created.

To ensure you’re able to track the success of your campaigns, be sure to create unique URLs for each Boosted post so that you can trace the ROI of each post to see which posts are achieving your goal of increased website traffic or landing page visits.  

Marketers are seeing ROI with Boost because of how affordable it is, especially when you compare it to traditional advertising methods. With a minimum spend of $1 per day, Boost is as cost-efficient as it is effective. The two most notable features of Boost — audience targeting parameters and free content testing — make it a valuable tool in any marketing arsenal.

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