Facebook Promoted Posts: The Solution to the Spam Problem [Part 2]

[This is a two-part series. The first part focused on the issue of spam impacting Promoted Posts. Part 2 focuses on the solution.]

Yesterday, I was a bit of a Facebook Promoted Posts buzz kill. While the reported results have been excellent, I’m seeing more and more spam. Not only that, but the budget I’m allocating towards Fans only is actually being spent mostly on non-Fans.

It’s a bleak picture. So, Promoted Posts are completely worthless, right?

Not really. It’s a loaded question with a loaded answer. But there’s also a very pleasant solution.

Before we get to that, I need to explain something…

A Promoted Post is Not an Ad Unit

There’s a misconception that Facebook Promoted Posts provide an opportunity to Facebook marketers that was previously not available. In reality, it’s only the packaging that’s new.

A Promoted Post is a Facebook campaign consisting of two (or three) ads: One (or two) Page Post Ads that appear in the News Feeds of Fans (and possibly friends of Fans) and a Sponsored Story.

What Facebook did was make it extremely easy for you to create that campaign. Previously, you would have had to go into Facebook Power Editor (which is clunky and difficult to use) to create this campaign because ads that show up only in News Feeds can’t be initiated from the Facebook Ads Manager.

Now, Facebook packages these three ads together and says, “Here. We’ll create these for you. Just click one button.”

The result is convenience. But not necessarily what you want.

Facebook doesn’t allow you to edit these campaigns. You get what you get. They throw in the Sponsored Story to reach more people and add perceived value.

It’s like spending $10 on a car wash and getting a free tire. You didn’t want that tire, but thanks.

In the case of a Promoted Post, the tire I didn’t want consists of the following:

  • Optimized CPM Bidding
  • Non-Fan Targeting
  • Fixed Geo Targeting

Promoted Posts are extremely efficient on the surface, but they’d be a heck of a lot better if I could eliminate the spam and focus entirely on Fans.

The truth is that you can.

You could create an ad entirely from scratch to do this. Like I said, it’s just like creating a Page Post Ad in Power Editor that only goes into News Feeds.

But we can actually leverage the Promoted Post that was created and work with it to make it awesome. There are several ways that you can do this:

  1. Delete the Sponsored Story
  2. Duplicate the Promoted Post and Change Bidding to CPM
  3. Duplicate the Promoted Post and Change Geo Targeting

1. Delete the Sponsored Story

This may be the only step you need to take to make your Promoted Post infinitely more effective.

As discussed yesterday, most Pages do not have enough fans to run up a bill of more than a few dollars when targeting their Fans only. If you reach 2,000 Fans with an ad that has a CPM of $1.00, you’ll spend $2.

This is why, presumably, Facebook tacks on the Sponsored Story. You tell Facebook you want to spend $30 to promoted your post. Facebook knows there’s no way that you can spend that much in three days by targeting only your Fans. So the budget is moved more and more towards non-Fans.

You’ll notice this is the case more as you spend more. Budget goes up, so does spam.

Instead, I encourage you to keep the budget low and focus entirely on Fans. You do that by deleting the Sponsored Story.

Immediately after creating your Promoted Post, go into your Facebook Ads Manager and find this new campaign.

Promoted Post Campaign

Click on it. You’ll then get a view of all of the ads that make up your campaign. If you chose the Promoted Post that targets only Fans, there will be two ads. Otherwise, there will be three…

Promoted Post Sponsored Story

The Sponsored Story is the ad that you do not want. It’s the ad that targets anyone who is the friend or subscriber of someone who interacts with your content. On the surface, that may sound great. But combined with Optimized CPM, this leads to bots and spam.

I covered this yesterday, but the reason is simple. When using Optimized CPM, Facebook targets your ads at people most likely to perform a desired action. That often ends up being bots. If your Page is relatively free of bots, targeting them won’t be a problem. But outside of your Page’s Fans is the Wild West.

So, we want to stop or remove that Sponsored Story so that we can do what we wanted to do in the first place: Promote our post to our Fans.

The problem, of course, is that Promoted Posts are extremely rigid. There is very little editing that you can do. You can’t even pause individual ads.

But what you can do, though, is delete an ad.

Promoted Post Sponsored Story Delete

Now the only ad that will be running is the ad promoting your post in the News Feeds of Fans.

2. Change Bidding to CPM

Just by completing step 1, you’ll make your promotion infinitely more effective and efficient. But maybe you actually want to keep the Sponsored Story. Or maybe you want to delete the Sponsored Story, but you want to curb the bot problem you have with your own Fans.

You can do this by changing the bidding from Optimized CPM to CPM.

As I’ve mentioned before, Optimized CPM is a major source of the problem with Facebook ads. While they seem great in theory, they inevitably target bots and undesirable accounts because those accounts perform actions more often than most humans.

The problem, though, is that Facebook doesn’t allow you to edit this within a Promoted Post. It’s automatically set up as Optimized CPM. And even if you attempt to edit it in Power Editor, you’ll be shot an error.

The solution: Duplicate the ad and recreate it, but with CPM.

Within Power Editor, filter to view only Active Campaigns. Find your campaign, click on it and click the Ads menu item.

Then find the ad that you want to edit, select it and click Duplicate.

Promoted Post Edit CPM

Now you’ll need to edit the name of this duplicated ad. If you don’t, Facebook will think it is another Promoted Post and you’ll be given an error when you try to upload it. Change it to something like “Fans Only CPM.” Just make sure it isn’t “Promoting…” or in a similar format as the original.

Now you have this duplicate ad. Click on it and then select Pricing & Status. Change it to CPM and set a bid.

Promoted Post Edit CPM

When you’re done, go ahead and upload it. Note that you will probably get an error. As long as it’s for only one ad, that error is for the original ad you clicked on. Just go into the Facebook Ad Manager to confirm the new ad is there, and your change was a success.

3. Change Geo Targeting

Bots appear to be concentrated in specific countries. That aside, maybe your business is only relevant in particular locations. You’ll want to limit the geographic targeting of these ads.

Do what you did in step 2, but this time click Audience instead of Pricing & Status. Your ad is targeted at every country that is represented by your current Fans.

Promoted Post Edit Geo Targeting

Simply “X” out the countries that you don’t want to target. When you’re done, click Upload.

Note: The more countries you eliminate, the smaller your potential audience and less likely that Facebook will run your ad. So for Pages with smaller audiences, you may need to bite the bullet on geo targeting.

The Drawback

There is one drawback of deleting ads generated by a Promoted Post: You’ll no longer get the Facebook Insights within the associated post. Those stats are still available within the Facebook Ad Manager of course, but you’ll lose that convenience.

If you delete the Sponsored Story and keep the other ad, you’ll get an error because Facebook will be confused by the missing Sponsored Story. But you should get the associated Facebook Insights within the post.

In Conclusion

The concept of Promoted Posts is a great one: Reach more of the people who care most about your content, and therefore click on and engage on that content at a higher rate. If you can actually target these people instead of being forced to pay for non-fans and bots, success can be awesome.

Still need help? Watch the video at the top!