Facebook Promoted Posts: A Proven Strategy to Target Fans and Non-Fans

A recent tweak to placement targeting has me completely rethinking my Facebook Promoted Posts strategy. As a result, I wanted to provide some background on how you can do something similar for as little as $1 per day in advertising.

What a Promoted Post Isn’t

When I talk about Promoted Posts, I am not referring to that horrible, awful Boost Post button.

Facebook Boost Post

Please, do not use that button! It creates a cookie-cutter campaign that doesn’t allow you to properly focus your audience (Fans only, for example) or determine things like bidding or placement.

What a Promoted Post Is

When I talk about Promoted Posts, I’m referring to the general idea of creating a campaign or ad out of an organic post you have published to your Fans.

You can technically do this within the self-serve ad tool, but I recommend Power Editor because of the significant advantages available when promoting with that tool.

The Goal of a Promoted Post

There are many reasons why you’d want to promote a post. You could, for example, promote a post that is announcing a new product and driving users to a landing page to complete a purchase. This is actually not the main focus of this blog post.

That type of post I’d consider an ongoing campaign. You can run that same campaign for days or weeks. You may want to show related ads to users multiple times in order to get a conversion.

But the problem I’m focusing on today is making sure your Fans, in particular, see your posts.

Yes, somewhere between 10-16% of your Fans will see a given post. You’ll need to pay to reach more of them.

We’re not going to dwell on why that is. My main goal is to reach as many of those Fans as I can with a post that, in most cases, drives users to a blog post I have written.

In this case, my goal is not to reach Fans multiple times. I just want to be sure I reach them once. So I want to keep frequency as close to 1.0 as possible.

Up until now, my focus of such promotion has been entirely on Fans. The reason for this was that I don’t like targeting non-Fans in the News Feed for this type of promotion. And there was not previously a way to target them only in the sidebar.

The Tweak

But Facebook recently changed that! I’m thrilled by this development.

Now when you create an ad in Power Editor, you can choose to target users in the sidebar only (we’ll get to that in a minute!).

Who Should Promote Posts

Anyone can promote posts, but you need to have an allotted budget for it. Your first ad priority should be to increase your number of relevant Fans. Your second should be increasing conversions. If you have budget left over, you should look to promote posts.

This isn’t for everyone, however. Publishers make the most sense because they benefit from any website traffic. This is why I promote posts. I earn direct revenue from traffic.

If you don’t host a blog or you rarely drive traffic to your own website, this strategy may not be for you.

Strategy: Target Fans Only in News Feeds

When I share a new blog post with my Fans, my main goal is to reach as many of them as I possibly can.

First, I’ll try to reach as many of them as I can organically. So this means looking through my Insights to determine the best days and times to post.

I’ll then allow a post to spread on its own organically for four to six hours. After that, it’s time to promote!

Within Power Editor, I create a campaign and name it [Blog Post Title] – Promoted Post. I then create an ad and name it [Blog Post Title] – Promoted Post – Fans Only – News Feed.

I select “Ad” as the type and then choose “For a Facebook Page using a Page post.”

Facebook Power Editor For a Page Post

For placement, I select “News Feed (Desktop and Mobile).”

Facebook News Feed Desktop Mobile

I then make sure to target countries that are most commonly represented by my Fan base. I tend to choose six countries here. I leave gender at “All” and select a relatively wide age target (24-55).

Facebook Promoted Post Fan Demographic Targeting

Then leave interests alone and enter the name of your Page under Connections (“Target users who are connected to”).

Facebook Power Editor Create Ad Connections

This makes sure that your ad reaches Fans only.

Within “Pricing & Status” make sure that your ad is optimized for the proper action.

Facebook Conversion Specs Overwrite Actions

For my blog posts, I want to be sure it’s optimized for link clicks since I want to drive traffic to my website.

Strategy: Target Non-Fans Only in the Sidebar

Now that you’ve created an ad that targets your Fans in the News Feed, it’s time to target non-Fans. As I mentioned, I prefer to only reach non-Fans in the sidebar.

Highlight the prior ad that you created and click “Duplicate.”

Facebook Power Editor Duplicate Ad

This will create another ad that looks exactly like the first one as a starting point.

Change the name of this ad to [Blog Post Title] – Promoted Post – Non-Fans – Sidebar. You could add other details here as well if you are doing any specific interest targeting.

This time, you’ll want to make sure placement is set to “Right-Hand Column (Desktop Only).”

Right Hand Column Only Facebook Placement

Of course, this depends on your comfort level targeting non-Fans in the News Feed. But it’s the approach that I take.

Then set up your demographic and interest targeting. Personally, I’ve created a Saved Audience specifically for non-Fans. This way I can easily set up my targeting with one click, pulling in things like country, age, gender, Precise Interests, Custom Audiences and more.

Use Existing Targeting Group Facebook Power Editor

The thought here is to target people as similar to your current Fans as possible.

Now make sure to enter your Page name within Connections under “Target users who are not already connected to” so that you reach non-Fans only.

You could also duplicate this ad to create one more variation that targets friends of Fans only. The only change you would make is within Connections. Here, make sure to also enter your Page name in the “Target users whose friends are connected to” field.

Strategy: Budget and Frequency

So, how much should you spend? It depends. My main goal is to have a frequency of right around 1.0. In a perfect world, it’s no more than that. I only want to reach each user once.

Make sure to run test campaigns and monitor this within your Ads Manager or the new ad reports. There is a metric there for Frequency.

Facebook Ads Manager Frequency

So the proper budget should be whatever it will cost to keep a frequency at about 1.0 — particularly for Fans. I can tell you that I am currently spending about $1 per day to get that frequency. So if your audience is much smaller than mine, you will either likely have a frequency greater than 1.0 or you should look to expand your non-Fan audience.

The main point here is that it’s easy to make an impact with a very low budget. You don’t need to spend a fortune, which is what Facebook seems to want you to do by using the ineffective Boost Post product.

Need Help with Power Editor?

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  • Thanasut Vudthivichai

    Great article. Just what I needed it right now. (I’m just about to do my promoted post.) Thanks Jon.

  • http://bloggingbistro.com/ Laura Christianson

    Jon – What a timely article! I am preparing to do a promoted post campaign for one of my clients, and will follow your instructions to the letter and use the Power Editor. Thanks so much.

  • matt

    Why do you prefer to target nonfans thru sidebar rather than newsfeed?? CTR for me is 10x better on newsfeed. Maybe I’m missing something?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Far too much negative response. Facebook users are territorial about their News Feed. I know plenty of marketers have no issue braving the News Feed of non-Fans, but I choose not to take that route unless it’s a Page Like Sponsored Story.

      • Matt

        Jon, very interesting perspective…not something I have experienced in the hyper-local social media marketing space. in fact, news feed ads to non-fans have been very very successful for the local brands I work with. I can see it being an annoyance at the national/global space where ads come through for the samsungs, frito-lays, etc. But maybe people are more open to local brands showing up on their newsfeed uninvited.

        • Vincent Vizachero

          Matt, my experience with very local brands mirror yours: much better ROI with non-fan news feed posts than sidebar ads.

      • Ori Lapidot

        mine too. i think most of the people dont notice the ‘sponsored’ that written at the bottom of the post.

        its very hard to build a new audience without poeting in the newsfeed to non fans/

  • http://www.wisemetrics.com/ Stephane Allard

    Great article (again!) Jon. What’s your advice concerning Frequency capping. How do you manage to get a Frequency of 1? By playing with the bidding price only ?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Actually, as I’ve messed with this more I’ve found that if I use Lifetime instead of a Daily budget (in Campaign settings), Facebook will focus on reaching your budget with a frequency of 1.0 first. I’ve used a budget up to $5 focusing on Fans in the News Feed and have yet to go over 1.0.

      • http://www.wisemetrics.com/ Stephane Allard

        Thanks a lot for the answer Jon!

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    Great article, Jon. I still need to build my fan base and find new ways to monetize my page and my website, but this is something that may be very helpful on the near future.

  • Guest

    Jon I’m loving this. Thank you for your insights. A question – the link that took me to your site today, and specifically this article, was underlined (specifically the title of your article). How do you ensure an this underline appears? I don’t seem to be able to do this.

    Also, I’m loving your content overall. I’m not sure your e-course is right for me, but I would be happy to pay a membership per month for great content. Is this something you’ve looked into?

  • http://www.theq411.com Jennifer Quinn

    Am I the only one whose ad page looks nothing like the examples you show? :-) I wonder if you have a roll-out that I haven’t gotten yet?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      That’s Power Editor. You should be using it!

  • http://rjsinternetmarketing.com/ Rita Cartwright

    I just created my first campaign using Power Editor. This is an awesome tool because of the targeting features. Jon, once I figured out how to use Power Editor, your instructions were very easy to follow. Great article. I was guilty of using the boost post feature. Power Editor is MUCH better. Now if I can only convert my fans :-)

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Glad you’re getting a hang of it, Rita!

  • Kevin

    Hi Jon, do you only promote one post at any one time or do you have several running? I am finding I have several good posts to promote but unsure whether I need to wait until I have reached all my target audience with one post before moving onto another

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Good question, Kevin! I try to avoid overlap — and usually am successful — but there are times when it’s unavoidable.

      • Kevin

        Thanks for the reply Jon. Much appreciated.

  • Chris Johnson

    can someone tell me how does this promoted post works, is it one time fee like for example do I pay $5 one time and that’s it or is $5 per like for the post? please let me know if possible.

  • Johannes

    Great! Thanks! I also have a question: Can fans see if post has been promoted or not? Thank you for your answer :)

  • Kelly Kopa

    This is extremely helpful Jon! Just in time for my promoted post campaign. Thanks so much ;)

  • Jack

    Hi Jon, Probably a dumb question but can you use Promoted Posts to target Pages which you don’t own?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      You can target people who mention other pages on their profile, yes, with precise interests. Facebook isn’t clear about what this means. Any many cases, it would mean pages they like, yes.

  • Carlos

    Great Article. I Just did this for a post I had and wanted all fans to see it. It started running for about 4 hours. Then I got a message that it got disapproved because There was more then 20% text.

    So this method only works for certain types of post that would get approved if it were an Ad only?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      This strategy has nothing to do with the 20% rule, Carlos. Abiding by that rule is always required, no matter what the ad in News Feeds.

  • Miki

    Thanks! This article is not clear where it should be most (in the beginning).
    I did not understand how to start with initial steps and boost a concrete post?

  • Lazaros

    Hey, John! This is great but I cant find the button Create Campaign? This is everything I see: http://goo.gl/TFyYN3

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      You’re in the Manage Pages view. You need to go to your advertising account.

      • Lazaros

        Can you help me (or provide an url) how to find my advertising account? Thanks in advance!

  • Jo Wen Ng

    Hi Jon, i don’t seem to be able to access the power editor page at all. Every time i click power editor on my ads manager it goes to a blank page with no further action. Help please?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Are you in Chrome?

  • saritlotem

    Here’s my latest experimant. I have a webinar coming up so I created two ads; One promoted post to fans and one website conversion ad to none friends and followers. The fan’s promoted post was less expensive and received a lot of post likes but not even one click to the webinar registration webpage. The second add, which cost much more generated actual registrations to my webinar on my webpage. Interesting, right…

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Why not use conversion tracking for the fans?

      • saritlotem

        It’s my next step

  • puravidabracelets

    How can you create an “audience” that is only for “Fans of your page” so you can just promote the post from the fan page and select that same audience every time? That is what I want to do.

  • dtonshel

    I have two experiences with Facebook targeted posts. In both cases they promised many more thousand views than what actually happened. In both cases I chose specific cities and in each all of the views were in only one of those cities. Facebook has a real opportunity to make this work, but it seems like they’re not doing it right now. I will NOT be wasting my money on these targeted ads in the future.

  • Farrukh

    I make comedy videos uploaded directly to fb. Do you think it would be better to keep interests blank or to have a list of interests? I feel like adding a combination of interests would limit the audience I would be reaching as oppose to keeping it open by not putting any interests at all, thoughts?