If you advertise on Facebook, be on the lookout for an email from the company with the subject line “Help us understand your marketing and advertising needs.” It’s a survey unlike any other you might have gotten from the company before. It begins with:
Please read the following description of a new advertising/marketing option for small businesses:
FACEBOOK BOOSTED PAGE POSTS
Facebook is introducing a simple way for businesses to use page posts to reach more people and drive more comments and likes. For any post that you want to make on your page, you will be able to pay a small fee to have the post poosted so your post reaches more people, or get optimized to receive more engagement (comments, likes, etc.).
Boosting your post increases the likelihood that people read your message, become aware of your business or respond to an offer. To boost a post, you simply select what you want more of (reach more people, get more engagement, etc.) based on the price you are willing to spend and click “OK” right from your page. Facebook will use their advertising platform to optimize for your objective, and will keep you updated on how things are going.
On the surface, this sounds an awful lot like page post ads. In fact, Facebook curiously uses a screen grab of a page post ad in action to show how a boosted page post would work. Confusing.
But when you dig a bit deeper, the differences start becoming clearer. It’s not just that you’re creating an ad out of a current page post, as with a page post ad.
With a page post ad (or any Facebook ad unit, for that matter), it’s all very general. You may have a goal for what you want to accomplish. You’ll set up your ad to target appropriately.
But you don’t tell Facebook, “I want to reach more people” or “I want to get better engagement.” And you don’t do it right from your page.
So it seems that Facebook is doing a couple of things here:
- Streamlining ad creation so that you can create an ad in one easy step or click from your page; and
- Providing more control and clarity over the specific outcomes you want to accomplish.
Facebook ads are great. But they are confusing for new users. So if page managers can now easily determine an objective and click from their pages to accomplish that objective (assuming it’s that easy), this sounds good for everyone involved.
The Boosted Page Post Facebook Survey
This was a long survey, but it seemed that each new step was more revealing.
The survey presented seven different scenarios when a person may want to boost their page post:
- Reach people who are friends of your fans;
- Increase the number of people engaged with your posts, such as likes, comments and shares;
- Increase the number of fans claiming an offer, such as discount, coupon or promotion;
- Increase the number of fans for your page;
- Increase the number of non-fans claiming an offer, such as discount, coupon or promotion;
- Reach new potential customers in your surrounding local area; and
- Reach more of your fans.
In each case, we were given the objectives above, the current situation and details of the boost campaign. For each, I was instructed to rate between one (not at all interested) and nine (extremely interested) regarding whether and to what extent I want to boost posts to accomplish a particular objective, “assuming they were priced at a good value for the money.”
After that, I was taken through each objective again. But this time, Facebook presented a specific price to gauge my interest level. I was given three separate prices (on three separate slides) that I needed to rate for each scenario.
So it at least sounds like Facebook is looking to make boosted page posts very turnkey. Not only will it be one step from your page, but a set cost every time you choose to boost a post. Or so it seems, at least.
I found the pricing options enlightening since it gives a pretty clear idea of how Facebook plans to charge for these ad units. While the price options varied widely, the structure (pay per fan, per conversion, and so on) was clear.
It’s not clear whether there is an imminent plan for launch of this ad unit or whether Facebook is simply getting feedback on whether we’d find value in them. But given the amount of detail behind this survey, it sounds to me like it’s going to happen. They just want to figure out how to charge for them.
While the more engaging content will be seen by more fans naturally, it seems that our page content is never being seen by as many people as we’d like. Facebook is creating value in boosted page posts through that weakness.
So while the business model becomes evident, it could also create a divide between the large and small brands. Until now, small brands have been able to succeed on a very limited budget.
But will it now become imperative that you purchase these boosts to be successful? How much will it cost and how often will these boosts be necessary? Will it become cost prohibitive to small brands? Isn’t this akin to offering a free and premium product, granting the customer with the deep pockets all of the bells and whistles? We’ll see.
Did you receive this survey? Do you think boosted posts would be a good move for Facebook and a good opportunity for brands, both large and small?
Guest writer Jon Loomer owns the eponymous Jon Loomer Digital.