That seems to be the conclusion from recent research I carried out.
A couple of weeks ago, I published a survey among my networks to try and benchmark how Page administrators are utilising post boosting with the intention of defining some guidelines for best practice.
Prompted by consultancy work I’ve been doing recently with different communications agencies, the topic of post boosting is one that I had an instinct that very few, if any, yet have a fully defined strategy for.
Most (all?) seem to work on gut feel and their own beliefs, and I had a hunch that this has led to two distinct approaches: posting frequently to social channels with minimal paid media spend behind any individual piece of content, or posting infrequently with a heavy spend behind each piece of content.
In turns out, if the results of this research are to be believed, that I was right. And that I was wrong. Let me explain.
Spend on Facebook Post Boosting
The first questions I asked the 87 people who responded were how much they spend per month on Facebook post boosting, and how many times they post per month on average.
The vast majority of Page administrators spend less than £250/$380 per month in total. However, nearly one in five spends between £500/$760 and £1000/$1520 per month. This points, in part at least, to the divergent approaches I have previously talked about, with some using small levels of paid media and others large.
I then asked what percentage of those posts people boosted every month, and there is a very clear split between those who boost less than one in four posts and those who boost virtually all of their posts.
This is more evidence of the differing mindsets that have emerged when it comes to Page management. Some are relying heavily on organic reach generated through engagement, while others are boosting heavily to gain reach.
If I stop here, my theory stands up. A little more analysis of the results tells a different story.
When I worked out how much individuals are spending per post on average, the variance is huge and there is no identifiable correlation between average post spend and how often an individual posts, which was the crux of my hunch.
Nearly two in three people typically spend less than £15/$24 on any given post boost, with many closer to £5/$8. Indeed, only 14% of people typically spend more than £50/$80 on any given boost.
What is revealing is that how much an individual typically spends on a single post boost bears no relation whatsoever to how many times a Page posts or what percentage of those posts are boosted.
And it’s that which blows my ‘post frequently with minimal boost or post infrequently but boost heavily’ hunch out of the water.
There is no discernible pattern in how Page admins are using post boosting. It definitely seems to be the case that there are two camps of people, one which uses post boosting more heavily in terms of volume.
But your guess is as good as mine when it comes to best practice in how much to spend per post. There is little, if any correlation between how many times a Page posts and boosts, and how much they are spending per boost.
The Value of Facebook Post Boosting
The final questions I asked were who people are boosting to, whether they feel their spend is likely to increase or decrease, and whether they feel post boosting is good value.
When it comes to audiences, 92% of Page administrators use the option to use custom targeting, pointing to a strategic use of demographics and interests. Interesting, only 4% boost to current fans only, suggesting that most see this option as ineffective in gaining engagement or community growth.
In the next 12 months, nearly two in three Page administrators expect their spending on post boosting to increase, with only 12% expecting it to decrease. Those 12% are all among the top spenders, however, so this would seem a reasonable conclusion for them to have come to.
So do Page administrators see post boosting on Facebook as good value?
The answer is a definite ‘yes’, but with a number of reservations.
“If your content is great, it can be great value”, says Viki Coppin, my former protege and now Digital Account Director at Cirkle. “But I’m a little concerned with how competitive the market will become with so many brands getting the need to boost content now; great for ensuring we’re all producing high quality content but I can see the budgets creeping up year on year.”
Danny Brown is concerned not so much by the value, but by the way Facebook goes about business, and (as usual) doesn’t hold back: “Post boosting is good value, but only for audience/page growth. Facebook as a business tool sucks. They’re happy to take your money for ads, but then won’t let you organically reach the audience you’ve paid for. I can’t think of another business model that’s so shitty.”
Others, however, disagree.
“Facebook gives you a targeted response that is far superior to Google AdWords”, says Rich Hikins from IRepairTech. “My conversion is far better on Facebook. And not only that but I can get rated by the customer. They share, I share and I get more business.”
And, in a blog post that stemmed from my initial query and a resulting conversation, Gini Dietrich says that she’s “a big believer in organic anything – media, content, search engine optimisation – but there also comes a time when throwing a few dollars at your efforts amplifies it in ways you just can’t get with elbow grease alone.”