Facebook Boost Post Experiment – Results Revealed

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

This is how many page likes I had before boosting my post.

This is how many page likes I had before boosting my post.

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.

The Post I Boosted

The Post I Boosted

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.


Page Like Trends Pre-Boost

Page Like Trends Pre-Boost

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.

Pre-Boost Reach and Interaction

Pre-Boost Reach and Interaction

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.

Default Campaign Options

Default Campaign Options

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.

Changing the Target Audience

Changing the Target Audience

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!

Reach for Various Price Levels

Reach for Various Price Levels

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.

Campaign Payment Options

Campaign Payment Options

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.

Campaign Created

Campaign Created

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.

Campaign Results


Campaign Results

Campaign Results

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…

Campaign Detailed Results

Campaign Detailed Results

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.

Number of Page Likes after the Campaign

Number of Page Likes after the Campaign

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.

Boosted Post Reach and Interaction

Boosted Post Reach and Interaction

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.

Closing Thoughts

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.

Shocking (or not so shocking) Facebook Boost Post Video – you absolutely must watch this…

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32 Responses to “Facebook Boost Post Experiment – Results Revealed”

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  1. Can you please tell me the minimum number of page like am suppose to have on my page before i will have “Boost Post” at the bottom of my posts.

    • I really don’t know. My guess is it’s the same number of page likes that is required to be able to see your statistics. I wish I knew for sure though.

    • martio says:

      There isn’t a minimum or maximum, FB just decide themselves which pages to allow Boost on and which pages not to. I have no idea how they work out their formula though they have one. So it actually has nothing whatsoever to do with how many Likes you have.

  2. Amit says:

    This was really useful, I was in two minds about boosting a standard post on my page, as I was never quite sure if the estimates were accurate. clearly they are not!

    Thanks for posting this!

  3. Hi Allan thanks for the post. I too thought I’d see what boosting a post did. My first attempt was turned down for having to much text. Wasn’t sure what that was about. The second attempt went well. I was even more conservative than you. I spent £3 ($5) to my friends. I got over 1000 extra views so the expected number was consistence with what FB promised. I got 2 new likes from the post, the post got 6 likes and one Share. Not staggering. What is more interesting that one of my other posts after the boost got more interaction and likes from people I don’t know. So more people interacted with my page, but they failed to Like my page. I think the Liking of FB isn’t as important anymore as people can dip in and out, also how many times do we look at the LIKED page on FB? Something I want to ask people. I like plenty of companies but very rarely look at that page. Anyway just like you I’m glad I did it. I think I would experiment once more with a different post and to a wider audience, but again keep my costs down because not sold on the benefits. For me Twitter is the best social media to focus on. LinkedIn more professional and get business leads from. But now Google+ is huge. But still learning that. So much to do. Good luck. Neil

    • Neil,

      Thanks a million for sharing your experience. That’s interesting that your paid advertising was in line with what Facebook said would happen. I really wish I knew why mine was so underwhelming. To your comment about page likes not being important, I somewhat agree. I, like you don’t really go looking at their pages all the time, but if I hadn’t liked their page, then their latests comments/posts wouldn’t show up in my feed (I don’t think they would anyways). It’s interesting – to me, I’m the worst at keeping up with social media simply because I’ve always felt like it was ego-centric, but then again, I know that’s a bad move on my part. I’ve been trying to do more with social media of late, and thinking about that right now, I’m failing with this site simply because I don’t think I have a social media presence for untethered income, but, back to the point – the ONE reason why I like Facebook over Twitter is it’s easier to have real conversations. YouTube limits to a small paragraph, Twitter is one liners and I need to get onto LinkedIn to find out what I could be doing there. There’s also Pinterest and seemingly an un-ending number of social sites out there today and keeping up with it is just insane!!!

      Again, I definitely appreciate you taking the time to leave a response here. I look forward to doing more of these experiments to see where the greatest payoff exists! Please stop back by from time to time!

  4. Damilare says:

    Hello Allen,

    Thanks for this post. I have also tried fb boost but I wasn’t approved. I got a mail from them that I was boosting a post that doesn’t agree with fb guidelines.

    I am a newbie iMer, what I did was, I copied the sales letter on my website and use it as post on my fb admin panel page then try to boost it, maybe that’s whay I wasn’t approved.

    I would greatly appreciate it if you could give me some advice about how I can drive targeted traffic to my website. My website only serve people in my country.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Hi Damilare,

      I’m not really sure why it wouldn’t have been approved. I’d have to see the copy to know exactly what was in it. My guess is Facebook is wanting you to promote people coming to your page. I’m not sure if sales-copy is something they approve of – I’ll have to look into it a bit further.

  5. Andrew says:

    It’s page authority. If you have a Facebook page with little interaction the numbers will be off and not reach many people. It’s all in FB algorithm they have now. So, the more interactions, comments, shares, likes and relative information will all be a factor in how the people receive the I information and how effective the campaign will be.

    Once you get your likes up even further around 1,000 and relative content, many comments, etc run another campaign and I think you will be surprised at the results:-)


    • Thanks Andrew for the information. It’s definitely something I’ll try again. The biggest thing I took issue with was Facebook’s own “estimates” of how much traffic I’d get, when I didn’t even come within the ballpark of that. But again, thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  6. Stehanie says:

    Really great insight , and exactly the info I was looking for
    Thanks for your detailed and clear explaintion.

  7. J says:

    I released a new magazine/blog a few weeks ago, and have been posting daily on its FB page. Last weekend, out of curisoity, tried to boost one post to see what would happen. Found the results to be abysmal.

    First of all, there is no way to see Exactly what your post will look like and say in others’ timelines. I suspect FB is truncating some of the text. I didn’t spend much money: only $15. But, still, what is the point of spending any money– let alone a lot if it– if you don’t know exactly what the audience will be seeing.

    Second, I made the audience parameters pretty specific. But the one person who “Liked” the FB page from the campaign was basically a gangster in East Brooklyn, and the one person that “liked” the post seemed like a new emigrant from South America who did not speak much English. On one hand, this is fine– of course the blog is for anyone, and any apprciation is nice. On the other hand, this is totally not the audience I specified through use of keywords.

    Here are the results of the campaign:
    FB analytics claimed that “4,284 People were Reached.”

    Of this number, 10 people clicked on the post.
    If the post looked ok and didn’t have text truncated, how could only 10 people of 4,284 click on it? One could post virtually anything in front of 4,300 people– even a photo of some random object– and surely more than 10 people would click on it.

    Of the 10 people who clicked on it, 3 people supposedly actually clicked through to the magazine website (which was the point of the whole thing). 1 person “Liked” the page on FB. And 1 person “Liked” the post. (And, as I mentioned, none at all from the audience I was going for.)

    These are absolutely abysmal results. There is definitely something very ‘off’ here.

    Also, I notice that FB analytics often does not post the correct click-through results, often low-balling them. I can tell this because after posting to FB, I will go onto the corresponding post page on the website itself, and see that, for instance, 7 people clicked “Like” on it (they only could have gotten there through FB). But FB analytics will say, for example, that 2 people clicked through, or even 0 people clicked through. I’ve noticed that this happens all the time

    Finally– maybe someone can answer this– what is the purpose of putting Facebook’s “Like” button beneath posts on one’s website? When people click the “Like” button, it only shows up on the website post, but does not appear on the FB post. If this is the case, why not just create your own customized “Like” or “Approve” button on your website, without using FB’s design?

    • Glad to see I wasn’t the only person frustrated by the results and more importantly, you experienced the same inconsistencies I saw as well. To answer your question about why put a like button – my understanding is that if you’re logged into Facebook and you click one of those like buttons on a website (assuming it’s linked up properly), then that page should show up in your Facebook activity feed. Thanks for sharing your results. Definitely doesn’t seem that the return on investment is quite there, at least not with the way their current system is set up.

  8. Brett Goosen says:

    Ok. I don’t think basing it on one attempt is going to give you a good idea on the effectiveness of boosting. You must also be very aware of what action your content is calling for. If it’s just an opinion piece you are going to far less engagement than a “Like this page to win…” promotional post. In my experience, a 10K reach for $15 is pretty much in the ball park. We are also able to convert around 10% of the reach to actual page likes using a fangate application in conjunction with a promo.

    So yes, there are pros and cons to Facebook boosts. It all depends on your strategy and goals. Structure your content to garner maximum engagement. Ask interesting questions. Make people curious. Then you will see some benefits to it.

    Boosting just for the sake of it will rarely give you any results.

    • Hi Brett,
      Thanks for sharing. To be fair, most of my complaints were based around Facebook’s own estimated numbers versus what actually happened. Considering it’s their own application that is in control of what the reach is, I think their numbers should have been WAY more accurate than the were. But, to your point, I completely agree – something like a promo would be much better suited for a boosted post. Mine was just an experiment to see what MIGHT happen with just trying to get the post in front of more people. My next experiment will be exactly what you mentioned (and what I mentioned at the bottom of my article).

  9. Leon White says:

    Allen, I appreciate your article. I am contemplating running my first ad soon on Boost Post or Page Post Engagement.

    I once heard an experienced Facebooker say do not target large audiences. The ad would be spread too thin.

    The reason given was that an ad usually has to be seen about seven times before it stimulates interest. Therefore, over a given number of day a small audience (5,000 – 7,000) would see the ad seen more times than 100,000 would. Thus, the probability for more likes would be greater.

    Again, I am inexperienced. It’s just that your article reminded me of what I heard. Be well!


    PS: If you haven’t already, take a look at https://www.facebook.com/Get10000Fans. I think I am going to buy it when my budget allows.

    • Thanks for sharing Leon. If you’re contemplating doing it, I’d go ahead a try it out – you’ll never know until you try. I do appreciate the feedback – the targeted makes a lot of sense. The one question I have regarding that is whether targeting a smaller audience means that the same “post” will be showed to them more than once. Interesting…

  10. chris says:

    Hello, nice post. I got question, I ordered one boost post for 5 dollars. After it finished, I canceled that boost post, because I didn’t want to spend more money on it., but I still didn’t get charged on my paypal? Should I just wait or? Thanks

  11. Elise says:

    I think it’s important to share my experience so far and let you know that Facebook advertising is a waste of your money and a scam. We’re hosting a giveaway and had 521 Organic views on the giveaway post for the last two weeks. In an effort to get more volume to our page and more people entering the contest, I decided to boost the post by paying $15. As of right now $1.12 of that $15 is gone and I still have the 521 post views, but now it’s saying 293 of those are organic and the remaining 228 are from the paid boost. So ultimately they just changed my Insights so that it looked as if almost half of the people that viewed that post were from the boost. If I hadn’t waited 2 weeks to boost the post I probably wouldn’t have known. I’m going to be posting this comment onto multiple blogs to get the word out – do not waste your hard earned money (no matter how little $15 may seem) on these scam artists and thieves. I’m certainly going to keep the Facebook Page up, but they will never get another dime from me.

    • Wow, that’s worse than I thought. Definitely frustrating, and more than a little dishonest. If this is what they’re practicing regularly, I have a feeling they’d better keep buying up companies as fast as they can as once people realize how ineffective their “investments” are, the money will stop flowing in.

  12. Recker says:

    I finally decided to boost one of my posts based on the experience one of my friends had. The first post I boosted on $40 budget claimed it would reach around 60,000 (if I remember correctly). According to Facebook it has reached almost 130K. Not bad. OK. I had a few page likes, etc. Worth it, in my opinion. Following that, I boosted another one of my posts for the same $40 using approx the same parameters but that post only reached 70K people. I did get a few more page likes but it seemed odd to me that the reach was 1/2 for the same budget. All total, I spent $95 (I had one other boost for $15) and had a total of 8 page adds/likes. Which, quite frankly, is more than I have seen form other methods I have tried. So I went to boost another post with the same parameters with the same budget ($40) and it claims the reach is now only 13K. Why is the number suddenly so low for the same budget and constraints. Another complaint: The first post took a few days to use the whole $40 budget. The second boost took less than that. It seemed to deplete the budget much more rapidly. Not sure why that would be. In the end, I did get some page likes. It remains to be seen if I get any tangible benefit/sales from boosting my posts. But, the inconsistency of the numbers seems suspect to me and I am unlikely to use the boost feature again.

  13. Chastity says:

    Thank you ! this is really a good review very descriptive , I don’t think you will need to pay the 15$ to get more likes on this one 😉 . Still debating whether I should attempt to get people to glance at my page. lol

  14. Thank you for your experiment. I appreciate how well written and thorough your process was.

  15. Abe says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with everyone. I’ll share mine too:

    last week I decided to give the post boost feature on Facebook a go.

    On my fan page, I created a post (video content) and made the boost settings such that I would reach people not connected to my page but who will be interested in the content. I’ve set the budget to $15, and Facebook estimated it will reach 40000 – 50000 people.
    At the end of the campaign, the post reached 30000 people, which was not within the estimated range but close enough. I also got 19500 engagements.

    Today, I decided I wanted to do it again, with a new video post. I used the exact same settings as the last time, but with a budget of $10. So far, $2.67 have been spent just to reach 660 people!
    This means a reach rate of 247 / $1 compared to 2000 / $1 for the previous campaign! This is almost 8 times less reach!

    Also this reach rate is totally inconsistent with the estimate given by facebook for $10 budget, which was between 20000 – 40000.

    PS: by default, Facebook optimizes the boost for engagement, and I’ve kept it this way, although you can choose to optimize it for impressions or for clicks.

  16. Suri says:

    Great article! Thank you very much for your diligence. I didn’t just find your experiment useful to my own FB ad inquiries, it was cool to read as well. And I also liked the addition of the video at the end, which I watched in full. I’m so glad to have seen this before investing my time/money in FB advertising for a fledgling business.

  17. B B says:

    let me share my story…

    I had a fan page that basically had nothing: https://www.facebook.com/Nomi.Nivag.Official

    Its a page to promote my ebooks. I was wondering how to generate more traffic to it and help improve my ebook sales.
    So i set up an ad for countries around the world since i want my books to get known worldwide. Here is what happened.

    I got more likes from India and those regions than anywhere else in the world. I have gained them by the thousands in just over a week which i found amazing. I knew a bit about the click farm but did not go into this with that mindset.

    results so far.: over 3000 likes in a week on less than 40$ i actually post some comments on my page and i see people liking the comments and my post reach is getting bigger as i get more fans.

    I am not sure at this point if people are just clicking thru click farms or simply that they are real fans of my page and really like what i post. So far “It appears” to me that these are legit fans. But i am barely gaining any fans outside those countries which is kind of discouraging because you are only building a fan base in one general area.

    Those people seem engaged but i have seen no difference in ebooks sales even if i actually offered all of these people to get my ebooks for free as an incentive to be my fans.

    so in the end.

    I have many fans and its growing rapidly everyday and it seems i have engagement on my page but no difference in the way it is affecting the business i am trying to get up and running. I tend to believe that these might be legit fans but they have no money to spend on the type of product i have for sale which makes my likes worthless at this time.

    My only hope at this time is that the page gets big enough so that somehow it get plugged by someone with a big internet push and then i can pick up fans form the rest of the world and then really get my business off the ground.

    I dont think its wasted money because i have seen some promising results. But it feels like you are trying to sell a fridge to an eskimo at times. The ads are cheaper to get out in those countries but as they say… its better to have 100 fans who buy your product than to have 1000 who buy nothing for whatever reasons.


  18. Nenad says:

    First of all, thank you for this educational material you shared!
    Just like on university, you gave us a lesson followed by case studies (comments) :-)
    My experience- it took me $16 to realize that the whole thing is a big scam.
    Thank you everybody for sharing your experiences and helping each other!!

  19. annabelt says:

    Thanks for breaking this down so well! I just experimented with my first boosted post for $5. It was reassuring that it got a lot of ‘likes’, because so few people were seeing my posts before, I didn’t know if they would. But it only got one page like, and I stopped it after about $3 because I couldn’t edit it to try and get more. I’ll probably try a few more with different calls to action since they aren’t that expensive.


  1. […] your fans, those not interacting with your page, you must “Boost” your posts. I thought this article was very informative and eye opening about what it means to “Boost Post”. I like his […]

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