Facebook Boost Post…I Hate To Say It, But It WORKS

I’ve been running a few Facebook experiments using the Facebook “Boost Post” advertising feature. The short answer is, it does what it says it will do. Alas, it cost me nothing less than my very soul to discover this information.

Invisible Man

When I post articles/images/whatever to Facebook, it’s rarely seen. Admittedly, I’m not a person with a ton of friends/fans over on my Facebook page, and if you don’t have that it can be difficult to be seen.

Actually, as it turns out: Even if you do have a ton of friends/fans, Facebook is actively limiting the reach of your posts, meaning fewer of your followers will see the posts you make.

I had about 340 fans at the time I became aware of Boost Post, and an average post I made there would be seen by about 30 people at most. That’s not to say I always reached that many, usually it would be around 20 on average, and sometimes I’d see that only 11 people have viewed the post.

As you can imagine, this sent me into a shame spiral, from which there was no escape…or was there?

Ancient Spirits of Evil…aka Facebook Boost Post

Evil Facebook Boost Post

I think many of us have seen then “Boost Post” link underneath every status update you make. Sometimes it says “Promote Post”, and I’ve heard it even appears as “Sponsor Post” other times.

Wondering just what the heck this was sent me down the Google rabbit hole, where I found plenty of posts either praising, or decrying the “feature”.

I put “feature” in quotes, because some consider it to be an evil, money-grubbing ploy by Facebook.

Essentially, detractors say that Facebook purposefully suppresses your posts so that they don’t appear in the timelines of your friends and fans, then they introduce the Boost Post pay-to-play option as a way to get your items seen in those timelines, and even more.

What “Boost Post” actually does is then force (or perhaps allow) your post to appear in the timelines of your fans, and more importantly, the friends of your fans. I figured I had nothing to lose (except a little money), so I decided to go for it.

The official Facebook Promoted Posts page has the company line on the basics of the Boost Posts options, but you’ll likely need to try it out for yourself to see if it works.

I decided to give it a go shortly after I discovered the option.

Stupid Clowns and Guinea Pigs

A few years back, I wrote and drew an e-book called How to Deal with Stupid Clowns who don’t know what the Hell they’re talking about!. Since I’m terrible at marketing, it didn’t sell, but I recently revamped the book site and decided to promote it more, essentially by drawing more free comics and pushing those out every week or so.

It was the perfect chance to use these clowns as my guinea pigs!

The very first post I decided to boost was a short 4 panel comic featuring the characters from the e-book (click to view larger):

Stupid Clowns and the Facebook Boost Post

I was so charged up to do it that I forgot to put the link to the site in the actual post (I told you I was bad at marketing). Aargh. So while a lot of folks “saw” the post, there was nothing really “actionable” to measure…or so I thought.

The Like Factor

I noticed an interesting effect from the first boost experiment. I didn’t get a ton of Likes on the post, or even any comments, but I did get 3 new Likes to my page that day.

Yes, to many people with 10,000 – 40,000 people, adding 3 is not a big deal, but usually I might get 1 new person per month. To get 3 in a day was huge.

Something was working.

I tried it again with the next comic (click to view larger):

Stupid Clowns and the Facebook Boost Post

And this time I put the link to the stupid Stupid Clowns site in there (for the luvva Pete!), and off we went. Here’s a screenshot of the Facebook Insights on how this one went (click to view larger):

Stupid Clowns and the Facebook Boost Post Insights

I ended up getting a few comments and Likes on the actual post, as well as a couple of shares (hey, they can’t share it if it never shows up in the feed). Of the 2,803 people who saw the post, 108 people clicked on the image itself to view the photo. Plus 3 people clicked the link to check out the site. Sweet!

Of course, we can also see that some humorless person who doesn’t appreciate epic artistry chose to hide my awesome post. Now, who the heck doesn’t want to read about some clown and a guy with glasses blabbing about blogging? It is a mystery…

But, you know what they say…mo’ money, mo’ problems, right?

Oh yeah, speaking of money…

How Much Would You Spend?

To answer my own question, every time I’ve used Boost Post, I only spent $10 (you can pay via PayPal or by entering your credit card info). Usually this will guarantee you about 1,800-3,000 or so views (approximately).

I say “usually” because, as I learned in this Facebook Promoting Posts article, the costs can fluctuate wildly depending on time of day and also how many other promotions are running at the same time.

When it was time to do my third comic post, I went as usual to the Boost Post button, but this time I was surprised to see that $10 would only buy me about 380 views. It would cost me about $75 to get my previous reach of about 2,800 views. Holy Hannah!

After some quick research, I dug up the article I just mentioned. The author suggests that when you see this happen, simply wait until later and try again. Once some of the other promotions stop running, the cost will fall back down to the numbers I was used to.

Every promoted post I ran, I started it at around noon (they usually run for about 24 hours). Except for this surprise one, which I wasn’t able to start until 8pm that night because it was too expensive for me.

Depending on the kind of results you’re expecting, even $10 for 2,800 views can be too expensive, especially if you’ve got 2,800 fans and you expect them all to be able to see your posts by default.

Quick Math…

I noticed that after I put the link up to the book site for the second post, I got 6 sales in one day on Amazon. No sales on any of the other venues (iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, and Lulu.com). I also started getting 1-2 sales on Amazon for the following day of the post, but after that, it would dry back up to absolute zero (yes, I’m horrible at marketing).

That seems pretty bad, but consider that the book was making zero sales before I started doing this. 6 sales in a day was pretty major for me. Boost Post did something.

The price of the book is $1.99 and I get about 35% royalty on each sale which should be about $.70, now multiply that by 6 and…FOUR dollars?!?

Well, that doesn’t even come close to recouping my (multiple) investment(s) of $10. At least not financially…not yet.

Great Expectations

Again, depending on what kind of results you’re looking to get, this may or may not be a good move for you. If you have a product for “x” amount of dollars and each click needs to equal a sale, then it could quickly get more expensive than your budget allows.

For me, the consistent thing is that each time I do this, I pick up more Fans to my page. That’s more people who expressed interest in what I do, and could potentially be willing to buy. Although I’ll have to keep using Boost Post to make sure they all see it. Sigh…

Obviously, this isn’t for everyone.

Link Dump

I came across plenty of links while looking into the Boost post feature. Many are negative, but some are actually for it. I’ll list them all here for convenience (and I’ll include the links already included above):



The Wrap Up

So, is this a good thing, or a bad thing? Is it evil?

Using Boost Post does help me, it does reach the viewers it says it will, and it does bring new people to Like my page. Even so, I’ll admit I do feel like a bit of a failure when I click that button. Like my soul steps out of my body and watches me click with a disapproving, disgusted gaze.

Shouldn’t I be able to reach these people by myself? Without having to pay for it? It’s like the immortal line from George Costanza on the TV show Seinfeld when he didn’t want to pay for parking:

“It’s like going to a prostitute. Why should I pay when, if I apply myself, maybe I can get it for free?”


Yes, I would if I could, but right now I can’t. I simply don’t have the platform to reach that many people yet.

I’ll just keep on keepin’ on, interacting with people and making connections to build my audience.

But in the meantime, to get that same reach I suppose my only option is to pony up the cash…and get tested regularly.

So does anybody else out there use Facebook Boost Post? If so, let me know about your experience in the comments -I’d love to hear about it. If you haven’t tried it, would you use it, knowing what you now know about it?

Ok, then – I’m outta here, for now. See you guys next time!

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31 thoughts on “Facebook Boost Post…I Hate To Say It, But It WORKS

    1. Robert, thanks much for reading and commenting! I was trying to keep this one informative and fun, so I’m glad that came through :)

  1. Was really pleased to read this one, as I’ve often wondered about the “boost post” feature myself. And I’ve had the same existential questions, wondering if I’m selling my soul if I decide to go that route. This was a great take on a situation most bloggers find themselves in at one point. I like in particular that you were neither overly enthusiastic {thereby encouraging readers to throw dollars into the wind} nor particularly negative {thereby encouraging readers to avoid it like the plague}. Very fair, very well thought-out, and very worth consideration. Thanks for this objective, informative, and extremely creative post!

    1. Hey Andi! Very good to see you :)

      Yes we all want people to see what we write or create, but how far are we willing to go to get it?

      Although I didn’t come close to breaking even on the money spent. I felt good about it because people did “Like” my page, and it seemed that they wanted to see more.

      I hope other bloggers will at least be aware that the option is there. A little more information never hurts!

  2. Hi, I’ve used the boost post feature once a month for the past three months, got zilch out of the first two tries. This time I’ve quite a few new likers from it and an order for a variation on the picture boosted. The only main difference is that I boosted a post that was getting attention anyway and suggested by Facebook. Will try again with a suggested post next month and see if the results repeat. Feel free to pop over to my facebook page or website for a nosey, would love to see you. :)

  3. Hi Anna,

    I had Facebook suggest a couple of posts that were not something I really wanted to boost. Like one time I took a picture of a bologna sandwich and for whatever reason it was really popular. Lol, but the stuff I want to take off usually doesn’t. Oh, well…such is life! :)

    By the way I already Liked the Facebook page. Looks like good stuff there. I see you’re on Folksy.com…did you ever try Etsy?

    Oh yeah, thanks for commenting and nice to meet you!

    1. Hi John,

      Sandwiches? really? lol…

      Thanks for the like and the compliment… :) I’ve not looked at Etsy yet but have had a few people recommend them as well. I do ship internationally anyway but will probably give them a bash as it’s a different market, right? Can’t hurt…


  4. Nice write up, John! I gave up on FB a long time ago. I still post to my page, but any thought of pursuing a marketing strategy on that site fills me with the dread of a 1,000 inebriated clowns marching down the subway tracks, pissing left and right…err I meant PASSING left and right. (No I didn’t…which word makes more sense)

    So glad you’re getting sales of that excellent ebook!



    1. Hey Mitch!

      I had about given up on Facebook, too. It just seems like I get more traffic coming from Twitter and Google Plus these days. Certainly more followers and “Circles” than Facebook Likes.

      That’s why I went ahead and tried this. I figured I’d take one more shot before I gave up completely lol.

      And 1,000 inebriated clowns?? That’s more terrifying than a…than a…Sharknado! :)

  5. Hi there! I’ve never tried that thing before and with a business I’m starting I will need a FB business page.
    I trust you, man! And I will try it as soon as everything is done.
    Take care!

    1. Hey Ted, it took me a long time to try it out, too. That Boost Post button has been there for along while – it just took all this time for me to work up the nerve to do it and see what happened!

      Once you get going on your page you should at least give it a shot. The price is right, so a quick $10 will let you test it out and see if it works for you. If not, you haven’t lost your shirt on it.

      Good luck and thanks for dropping in!

  6. First time I’m here and I love your blogging style.

    I can see I need to study the promoted posts deeper. I’ve never had success with this or regular Facebook adds. Do you have any experience with the Facebook Editor?

    1. Hey Martin!

      I used regular old Facebook Ads waaaaaay back in the day. I had absolutely zero success with them, despite buying a whole gang of books on the subject.

      I guess I don’t have a head for “real” advertising, but boosting a post or two I can deal with, lol.

      You should make sure to read through the info in the links I put in the article. Even the negative ones have some good info in there.

      Best of luck, and thanks for dropping in!

  7. Well, you know what they say: “First hit’s free.”

    A few months ago, I had received a $50 coupon from Facebook and used it to try their Promote Page feature. In four weeks, I used $40 of that coupon, received 100 new Likes, had about 25 shares on a few posts, and visibility of my posts went from, like, 10 people to in the hundreds. Not too shabby for a dinky little fan page that was pretty much doing nothing but getting likes from other indie authors in the same FB writing groups I’m in.

    So this was progress.

    I recently used one of the Boost Post features, ponied up another $5 of that remaining coupon, and got over 200 views of that one post. It got me a few more likes. Nothing spectacular, but there’s been a bit more activity on my fan page ever since. And from people that I’m not even related to! Always a plus.

    But yes. A little part of me died every time I took Facebook’s money to expose me.

    Er, I mean, be exposed more.


    Um, yeah.

    1. Hey Delena!

      Sounds like you had a pretty good experience with page promotion! I tried their Facebook ads many years back and got zip out of it, so I was skeptical of Boost Post, but it sure did work.

      I’m glad you got your writing page going! It can be tough when the only people on it are family members who are just doing you a solid, lol. Trust me, I know :)

      Well hopefully we can get out of Boost Post purgatory and have our pages really come to life without having to use it. I’m looking forward to that day…

  8. Nice work. Not sure how I was getting traffic from your page but I decided to visit by back links and check out your page and see what your website was about. Marketing has always been a mystery to me as well. I do think you need to have a multi spread attack and walk away. A watched pot never seems to boil. Sometimes I do barely nothing but post a update and get 100’s of hits. Other times I put my spread the link cap on and get little in return go figure. I try never to pay but it seems ether you have to spend mad time promoting or pay someone else to do it. Ether way you will pay. I’ll pay if it works it’s better then knocking my head against the wall and going loco. If you do end up paying you better come up with a way to get paid return eventually.

    1. Hey Antione!

      I agree completely, sometimes you put in a ton of work to get your titles, phrasing and action terms and get nothing, then you get a bunch of shares on a fluke.

      It coms down to if you want to spend your time or money. As you say…either way you will pay.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  9. Great test and I’m glad you did it so I didn’t have to. I had a feeling that with more exposure this type of thing would work. Still, not recouping the money via the sales… that would have irked me to no end. Still, my question would be why you went through Amazon instead of your own sales page and gotten full payment.

    1. Hey Mitch!

      You’re right, I should have my own sales page. Really the only issue is hosting the file, and assuming there were so many downloads it caused a problem, hopefully by that point the money made would offset the hosting costs.

      I’d still keep Amazon, iBooks and all that though for die-hards who don’t trust someone’s webpage.

      1. Yeah, I’m sure you’d be crushing the servers with all the sales you’d be making. lol Just create a quick sales page, go to Paypal and create the payment option, upload the book as a PDF but alter the link name so not just anyone can find it unless they purchase it from you. It’s how I’ve done my books.

        1. I guess I don’t see it as that laughable.

          Everyone should plan for success, and at the very least, know the pros and cons of each method. Depending on your host and how much bandwidth they allow it might not take much to go over your limit. It’s a very real concern.

          These days all it takes is one influential person to pass your link on and suddenly you’re maxed out. If you’re with a good host, you get kicked up to the next tier and they’ll bill you for it. If you’re with a bad host, you’re shut down.

          And yes, it’s very simple to do with PayPal. I’m coming out with a couple of non-comics works very soon. I’ll likely sell on my own site and also all the other “usual” ebook venues (except Smashwords)…

          1. You plan for success but one also has to be realistic. Not that you might not end up with lots of sales but if it happens you’ll have the money to afford to upgrade and all will be right with the world. Too many folks think of stuff that hasn’t happened yet instead of just venturing out and taking their shot; you think Gates did that?

            1. I agree, and that’s exactly what I said in my first response -if you end up with a lot of sales you’ll likely be able to cover the costs.

              One can’t be realistic until you know all the options. That’s why it behooves anyone embarking on a venture to check out all available options and decided based on that what’s the best one for them.

              I think Gates was a savvy planner who saw opportunity where others didn’t. I bet it was the result of him checking the options and picking the correct way forward for him.

              Being prepared or being careful doesn’t have to mean being a fool or hesitating/taking no action.

  10. Will this strategy work if your facebook account has less than 20 likes or followers? What tips do you have for facebook owners to help them get up to 300 real likes and followers?

    1. Hi Sophorn,

      yes, it would still work because the posts are then shown not only to your fans *friends*, but also to the *friends of their friends*.

      Of course, if you start with more fans then that’s all the more people to see it.

      I’ve seen many folks say they initially grew their page following by running Facebook Ads. I tried it once and got absolutely zero out of it, but I keep seeing others say it worked for them – and they have more fans than me so maybe it’s worth a try.

      For me, the only thing that worked is to keep posting semi-related stuff to my own on my page. My own posts don’t get shared that much on Facebook, but when I post other interesting things I find and put my own spin on it, then it might get shared around, then I sometimes see a new following or two.

      I wish I had the definitive guide, but hopefully some of this helps!

  11. I couldn’t agree more. We often use Facebook Promoted Posts to promote our or client’s content and it works very well. Especially if the content/post we’re promoting is entertaining.

    1. Hi Tom,

      yeah, there’s no arguing with effectiveness. I’m glad it’s working for you, and you’re right it’s better if the post is entertaining. If you post about having corned beef for dinner it might not yield the greatest results lol…

  12. While I must agree with you that it is very hard to get real facebook fans, I think facebook deliberately turned off the broadcast feature which in turn limits the reach of a post. It is a play that makes me use Google+ Page as it has very few restrictions and above all free.

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