Classic Facebook Ads vs. Post Boosting: Get a $0.09 Cost Per Engagement

Facebook tends to work drastically different for each niche, so there’s no secret method of doing it right. You’ll see varying levels of ad success based upon which category your business falls under.

So, when you don’t know what to do: testing is the best answer.

When we started working with one of our clients, the story he shared with us (from working with a previous agency) were so dismal that he didn’t even want to try it again. Our client’s thought was “Facebook is just not for me.”

We can’t really blame him. Look at the numbers from his previous Facebook ad campaigns:

Audience Landing Page Placement Engagement Cost Per Engagement Relevance Score Cost Conversion
Lookalike product page on site Desktop, mobile, audience network 2 $0.28 3-5 $1,190 2

As we sat down to analyze his previous results, we saw that out of the $1190 he spent, only 28 of the 4,295 total clicks came from desktop. And the only 2 conversions from his entire campaign came from those 28 desktop clicks.

Essentially, he was spending thousands on mobile clicks, which never converted. The $54 he spent on desktop clicks DID convert! He spent $1,136 on mobile clicks, but these were simply cheap & easy clicks with no conversion. It made the campaign “seem” successful...looking like a lot of people were interested in the ad...but in reality it wasn’t worth his money at all.

Previous Facebook Ad Results

The reasons it wasn’t converting were:
- the client’s web app (used to monetize leads) was not mobile optimized - so all the ad money spent on mobile views was just a waste.
- “audience network” views are ads that appear within mobile apps and mobile website. Usually they are pop-ups (which first of all, annoy everyone!) and users can click on them accidentally. These audience network ads spent 73% of the budget. This made the real cost per engagement look small, and showed a huge CTR (click-through rate) with no real results.

What did we do to fix it?

So we started with excluding any mobile traffic, focusing on desktop (Facebook newsfeed only).

We wanted to test results between some classic ads and boosting a blog post, so we set up an A/B test.

The results were:

Audience Landing Page Placement Engagement Cost Per Engagement Relevance Score Cost Conversion
Segmented by Age & Interest Landing page Desktop 25 $1.30 1-4 $360 1
Lookalike Blog post Desktop 500 $0.35 7-9 $895 8

That’s when we understood that people do not react to classic Facebook ads anymore. We think users have developed an allergy to them. Our research showed that a higher relevance score means a lower price. Relevance score is an estimate of how many people click on your ad (CTR), how many people interact with your ad (post likes, comments, shares) and their landing page experience;

Also, we found this info regarding posts:
- Using the same targeting, posts perform better than ads;
- They have a better relevance score - instantly;
- People engage more with a post than with an ad. It gives them more value than an ad;
- People share it a lot - than means more people seeing it for free (people don’t share ads);
- Posts with the right question increase organic traffic. People seeing “How much does xxxxx cost” post search it again on Google, and they find the client because of previous search marketing. This builds trust and some additional organic traffic.

Knowing this info we stopped making classic ads. We tested different articles, carefully watching how people react to each. The targeting used were mostly retargeting and lookalike campaigns.

The results were amazing. For February 2017:

Audience Landing Page Placement Engagement Cost Per Engagement Relevance Score Cost Conversion
Lookalike Blog post Desktop 2,815 $0.13 9 $317 30
Remarketing Blog post Desktop 3,874 $0.09 9 $316 32
Boosting Facebook Post Results

Choosing the right content for sharing

You want content that engages readers, and ultimately, bring conversions.

For people to engage with content, it must have an intrinsic value. It has to inform, educate, solve problems or entertain.

It can be a post, an image or a video. The main idea is that it should not look like an ad (never like you want to sell them something) and instead you should ask an opinion, talk to the audience, and answer their questions. Tell them how you can help them and what makes you different from the others.

An example of content:
- It can ask for an opinion (so the customer feels that he is important). Like: “If you would do X, how would you do it?” or “What stops who from doing X?” or “What scares you about X?” or “How do you think that X can change your life” or “If you’ll have only 5 things to take with you for X, what it will be?”
- It can answer the questions (you have a value for them). Like: “How to save money for X” or ”How to do X with $1,000”.
- Your product can be an answer for other questions. Like “10 Vacation Alternatives You Should Consider“ or “19 Things You Could Buy Instead Of A College Education”. If your product is expensive or oriented for the luxury market, treat it like an alternative for something that is also expensive. If it’s an app that’s being sold for $1.99, treat it like an alternative for something inexpensive, like a candy bar or a coffee.

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