2/11/2014 – UPDATE!!! Make sure you either click this link or read to the bottom of the article to see a video that WILL (should) shock you.
In a previous article I mentioned that I wanted to try out the Boost Post on a Facebook Fan Page. Now the goods are in! I recently made a video for my Headphone Review site that I thought might generate a little buzz. With that, I was thinking this would be the perfect opportunity to see if the boost post feature could help drive my Facebook likes, comments and interaction to unreached previous levels.
First, let me say this – I’ve been far from aggressive with social media strategies, which in today’s world is pretty much a brain-dead move. I definitely under-utilize Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and every other social media outlet out there. That’s largely what is fueling my efforts to try out these various channels and make them start working for me. Below, I’m sharing the pre and post Facebook Boost campaign to show you exactly what happened with my efforts.
Now let’s get into the meat of this writeup – where I started.
Prior to the Boost Post Campaign
As you can see, I have a pretty small following on my Facebook fan page for my headphone review site. Compared to the 4,300 subscribers I have on YouTube, I really need to step up my game, which I was hoping to do here.
This was shortly after I added the post to Facebook. As you can see, at this point I had only 42 people who saw the post. Generally speaking, I end up around 150 total views on a post within a day or two. Being that this was just a couple hours after I posted the content on Facebook, I wasn’t surprised the number was this low.
I thought it might be interesting to see what my trend for page likes was prior to the post so that we could examine the trend afterwards to see if my campaign generated any noticeable differences.
Here you can see what my typical reach and interactions look like. What I can tell you is that I have a few followers that are my main source of interaction – if I post something, they pretty much click like every time and generally will leave a comment on a post. Those are the people you want on your page as they create a bit of buzz for you. One other thing to note here, anything where I included my own content and not someone else’s, my views and interaction were higher – notice the HiFiMan posting had the lowest views and interaction (other than the newest one – simply due to time being live).
Setting up the Campaign
Now it’s time to show you the steps I took to how I set up the campaign. Let’s explore some of the options that were available.
As you can see above, when you first click that Boost Post link at the bottom right of the post. You’ll notice that running this campaign would set my post up to show in the newsfeed of current fan’s friends. Being that this is a headphone post that I’m trying to promote, I thought that just doing friends of my fans would be too limiting – notice that the estimated reach is 6,200 = 12,000 of approximately 34,000 people.
Now take a look at the estimated numbers. By changing my target (rather than friends of fans), my estimated reach for the same $30 is now 540,000 – 1,000,000 people. Being that my target would be anyone and everyone who likes to listen to music this seems to be the best route to take!
Now that I set my target audience, I wanted to see how much I would get for my money. To my surprise, the numbers for $15 were the same as $30! If you can get the same for half the price, then why pay double?! Needless to say, I figured 540,000 reaches for $15 was a bit of a bargain so I went ahead and chose that option.
Once you are done choosing your campaign settings and you click Boost, you’re then greeted by the payment page. I actually appreciated the fact that they had PayPal as an option because I don’t like doling out my credit cards all over the internet. I chose this and proceeded.
NOTE: Even though you set up your payment at the time that you create the campaign, you’re not actually charged until your campaign has been finished for a few days. This is because Facebook pushes hard to get you to continue your campaign after your initial funds have been used up.
Once everything has been set up and your payment has been entered, you will now see the “Promoted for $xx” at the bottom right of your post. Clicking that will show you the details of what you’ve selected – here you’ll see that Facebook has to approve my promotion – my guess is that they want to make sure that nothing vulgar, derogatory or copyright infringing is taking place. One thing to note on this – BEFORE YOU BOOST YOUR POST, make sure you have everything stated EXACTLY as you want it to appear because once you’ve created a campaign, you can no longer edit your post.
So let’s take a look at the results here. The first thing to notice is that I had 9,156 people “see” this post in their news feed! At first glance, that’s pretty exciting stuff. Any time you see that number rise, my excitement tends to follow suite. What’s NOT so exciting though is that my $15 was spent and 9,156 is a FAR CRY from the 540,000 the Boost Options led me to believe I’d be getting. Also, having 9,000 views doesn’t tell the whole story. What exactly does that mean? Let’s dig a little deeper…
Now we can see the real details of what actually transpired. Notice that of my 9k views, I had a very small amount of real interaction. Let’s break this down to percentages:
Video Plays: 0.14% of people who had this show in their news feed actually watched the video (you read that right, less than 1%)
Link Clicks: 0.11% of people who had this show in their news feed clicked the link in the post
Post Likes: 0.06% of people who had this show in their news feed liked the post
Those are pretty bad results. Granted, I didn’t spend a fortune here, but I was less than impressed with the results of the money spent. Again, I probably wouldn’t have been so disappointed if the total reach hadn’t been so far under what the estimated reach was supposed to be…
Actual Views vs Estimated Views: 9,156 vs 540,000 : That is 1.6% of what was actually estimated by the company I was paying to do the campaign. It’s not like it was a 3rd party giving me an estimate of how many people would see the post – no, it was FaceBook itself who was giving me the estimate. That’s the primary reason I was irritated by the drastic difference in the actual versus estimated reach – they weren’t even in the ballpark.
Let’s put it this way, if you buy a car based on fuel economy and the car promises it gets you 35 miles per gallon. You take that car out and drive it like a normal person would and you only end up getting 0.56 miles per gallon (that’s right, half a mile to the gallon), would you be very happy?! Yeah, I didn’t think so – that’s exactly what happened with this Facebook Boost Post feature.
Bottom line on that – if you are the company providing a service and you’re the company providing the estimate, it should at least be in the ballpark of reality. 1.6% is misleading and bad business practice in my books.
Another thing to notice above – you see that they now entered in a number of $285 to continue my campaign and that it would reach and additional 64,000 – 120,000 people. Why would I believe that now?! Obviously the previous estimate was way off, and now you want me to spend 19x the amount to reach only 64,000 people?! Again, follow my math here. $15 * 19 = $285. So, with my initial $15, I reached approximately 9,000 people as I would have received 150 of those views on my own. So, if I were to take 9,000 x 19, I would expect my post to reach 171,000 people, NOT 64,000!!! These numbers just don’t add up for me. So they want me to pay 19 times more than what I originally paid to reach only 7 times the people. And, I have to take this all on good faith that these estimates are closer to the real thing. Obviously this is a very frustrating scenario.
So what about the Page Likes? Did I see much from the campaign….well, I can’t attribute whether the TWO extra likes were from the campaign of if they just trickled in from my other efforts on YouTube, Twitter or HeadphoneReviewHQ. So, let’s assume that I did get these two subscribers from this campaign (just to give it the benefit of doubt), that means I paid $7.50 for each like. Not great results there.
So what about the reach and interaction? We’ve already determined that the reach was over 9k. Just to show the real difference between the interaction of the paid vs my normal posts, jut take a look above. The large orange block is the one I paid for. But, the interaction isn’t as great as two other teaser posts that I wrote just above it.
Am I glad I did this?
If I hadn’t tried I’d never know what would have happened. $15 is a pretty low barrier to entry for this experiment.
Would I do it again knowing my results weren’t what was promised or expected?
Yes, but, I have some thoughts on that. First, I would obviously ignore what the “estimated reach” would be as it was nowhere within the realm of what actually occurred. HOWEVER, the one thing I would change is that if I were going to boost a post again, it would be on a giveaway or some major promotion. My main thinking is that people love free stuff, especially popular free stuff. For instance, I might run some sort of promotion where I’d give away a set of Beats headphones or something along those lines. Are Beats my favorite headphones? No…but they are probably the most well known headphone on the planet right now. Would I promote just a regular post ever again? Nah. Being optimistic, maybe those handful of video likes got me 2 or 3 additional subscribers on YouTube. The cost per acquisition is just too high. However, if I ran a promotion and told people they had to share and like the page on Facebook to be entered into the drawing to win 1 of 3 prizes or something along those lines, I think the results could be impressive.