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Increase Engagement With Facebook Promoted Posts

Increase Engagement With Facebook Promoted Posts

by kobura02
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1 – Start Here

About the Author

mollyHi all, I’m the Traffic Manager here at Digital Marketer and Krisiti Hines and I will be your guide throughout this Execution Plan.

I started from scratch, just like you. I began at Digital Marketer as an intern with hardly any knowledge of online marketing. Over the past year and a half I’ve gained invaluable experience that I can’t wait to share with all of you inside this Execution Plan.

I craft, test, and implement numerous social media campaigns daily so that we can share with you what works and what doesn’t. This saves you time and money.

In this Execution Plan, I’ll share everything I know about Facebook Promoted Posts.

If you’re just starting out on Facebook, this execution plan is for you. We will walk through the process up setting up a successful promoted post that will reach more people and click more clicks from Facebook.

If you’re a more advanced social media marketer, you will still find value in this execution plan – it is applicable to anyone who has a brand page on social media and wants to drive more traffic, engagement, and conversions.

It will be up to you to “execute” on this Execution Plan.

But if you do the hard work, the sky is the limit.

Molly Pittman
Traffic Manager
Digital Marketer

Understand CVO

This is the most critical step in this Execution Plan.

Understanding the greater strategy or context in which Facebook advertising fits is the difference between being frustrated and distracted by Facebook and using it to successfully make money.

The greater strategy is called Customer Value Optimization or CVO.

Your first step is to understand how Facebook ads fit into the CVO strategy.

I urge you to begin by reading the article entitled, Customer Value Optimization: How to Build an Unstoppable Business  Read it multiple times.  Commit it to memory.

Print the CVO Process graphic that is available as a resource in the article.  Pin the CVO Process document to the wall next to your workstation.

Every time you lose your way with Facebook ads (or any other marketing tactic) look at the CVO Flowchart document.  It will remind you of the greater strategy and put you back on track.

Please, if you do nothing else with this Execution Plan, read this article now.


Facebook, given its standing as the world’s largest social network, is prime for businesses large and small to find their target audience and market their products and services. In order to expand your reach, you must go beyond the “if you post it, they will come” methodology, and dive into Facebook advertising.

Facebook advertising allows your business to put your message in front of your ideal customers so they can’t miss it.

There are several Facebook advertising options available to you. In this Execution Plan, we’ll look at how you can take advantage of Promoted Posts, the easiest (yet still very effective) Facebook advertising option.

2 – Prepare Post to Promote

What Promoted Posts Are

Promoted posts are a form of Facebook advertising that allow you to pay for additional exposure of the posts you create on your Facebook page’s wall. Another term for this is “Boosting your post”. We’ll use boosting your post and promoted posts interchangeably throughout this execution plan.

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Promoted posts can be displayed in Facebook’s right sidebar and within the newsfeed itself for other desktop and mobile users.

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Have you noticed posts in your newsfeed that say “Sponsored”? See the example above. This was a promoted post.  Although all posts in your newsfeed with “Sponsored” aren’t promoted posts, this gives you an idea as to how your ad will look to others.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 6.20.20 AM

The above image shows how Facebook will display your results during and after the promoted post. You can see how many people you paid to reach, the clicks on your link (to your blog or landing page), residual page likes, post likes, age/gender, country, and amount spent.

If you’re confused about the difference between organic and paid reach, read the definitions below:

  • Organic reach: The number of unique people who saw your post in News Feed or on your Page. This is the number of people that you DIDN’T pay to reach. They’re people who like your page or their friends.
  • Paid reach: The number of unique people who saw your post through an ad. They can still be people who like your page and their friends, but they’re people who wouldn’t have seen your post if you didn’t promote it.

While the average Facebook wall post will only reach a small percentage of your fans, a promoted post has the ability to reach more of your fans, their friends, and people that you specify in your ad settings (based on demographics and interest).

In short, it’s the best way to ensure your most important messages reach your target audience.


Why You Need to Promote Your Post

In 2012, Facebook revealed that most posts on a business’s Facebook page wall only reach 16% of the page’s fans(Source: Facebook). Since August 2013, pages have reported reaching MUCH less than 16% of their fans due to an algorithm change by Facebook. Considering the time and investment you’ve made into building fans for your page, you certainly want more than 16% of them to see your updates.

So, what is the difference in reach between a standard wall post and a promoted post? In some cases, it can be huge.


In the above example, a standard wall post reached 523 people, whereas the promoted post with a budget of $15 reached 88,000+ people. The result goes to show that a small budget can lead to a large reach, depending on the viral potential of the content.

More important than “Reach” promoted posts help to drive more traffic to your website or landing page. This is the name of the game, right?

You want to drive people to read your content, to a landing page to capture their email address, or to a sales page to purchase. If you aren’t reaching enough people, then you aren’t going to drive the traffic you’re looking for.

For example,

Below is a post that, when you click anywhere on the photo or the grey box below it, it sends you to the link provided. This is called a link post:

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 6.37.06 AM

When we posted this to our page and didn’t promote it, there were only 73 clicks(organic clicks) to our website. As you can see below (we are using Bitly, a free service that shortens your links and counts the number of clicks):

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 6.39.10 AM

Now, let’s look at a similar post that we did promote:


The green portion of the bar above is the amount of people we reached via the promoted post. Overall, we reached 11,172 people. We went from 653 people seeing the post to 11,172 for $5.  That’s a 1,610% increase.

In terms of clicks,

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 6.45.09 AM

We went from 73 to 451, a 517% increase. That’s a significant increase in clicks to your website or landing page.

Even after the latest updates to the Facebook newsfeed algorithm, the fact of the matter is posts from business pages will not reach all of their intended audience and give you the clicks you need, regardless of whether they are fans of the page. Hence, promoted posts should be an essential part of your Facebook marketing plan.

Benefits of Promoted Post vs. Traditional Facebook Ad

Visibility – this is far and away the biggest benefit of using promoted post advertising on Facebook vs. traditional ads in the Facebook sidebar. While most users can easily ignore the ads in the sidebar, they can’t ignore ads in their newsfeed as they are browsing through the latest updates from their friends.

Users are in their newsfeed to consume information from family, friends, and brands they like and trust.

It’s important to promote posts that have a perceived value, i.e. a blog post that teaches them about something they’re interested in, or an informative video.

You can insert a call to action for sales and lead generation at the end of the piece of content, but you don’t want to directly sell to them in their newsfeed. That will disrupts their line of consumption and makes most people angry. This is called Native Advertising.

If you don’t believe it, then take a look at this heatmap study of the Facebook newsfeed. (Source: Business Insider)


The map provides evidence that people mainly look at their newsfeed, notifications, navigation and the section that shows birthdays and other updates. This makes promoted posts ads in the newsfeed much more likely to get engagement and clicks.


Promoted posts get a lot more valuable real estate in the newsfeed. Users will also see which of their friends like the page or post being advertised, which adds a nice word of mouth referral element.


Promoted Posts are also displayed within the mobile Facebook application. That’s an important place to be considering Facebook announced that 78% of its users are visiting via mobile. (Source: TechCrunch)

As you can see, Promoted Posts are everywhere you want your message to be.

Types of Facebook Posts to Promote

So what types of posts can—and should—you promote using Facebook Promoted Posts advertising?

Since you are investing advertising capital into your post, make sure it is a post that helps you achieve your Facebook marketing goals, whether they are to increase your fan base, increase your engagement, encourage clicks to your website, build your mailing list or convert to leads or sales.

With these goals in mind, here are some examples of worthy promoted posts.

1. A post that advertises lead magnets for your mailing list


2. A post with a discount for new customers



3. A post with a strong call-to-action


4. A post with an eye-catching imageTypesofFacebookPoststoPromote_45. A post with a sense of urgencyTypesofFacebookPoststoPromote_5

6. A post with a video


7. A post that links to a blog post on your website (you can ask for leads/sales in the blog post)

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 7.01.25 AM (Need an example of how to ask for leads/sales in a blog post? Here’s a link to the one above)
You can also promote plain text posts that are meant to strictly drive engagement. Just make sure you have a goal in mind for your promotion so you are spending your advertising budget wisely.

Get inspiration for your promoted post by visiting your competitors’ Facebook pages, and looking at the posts that have gotten the most engagement. These are likely the ones that they have promoted using Facebook advertising.

Even if they didn’t promote them, finding the ones with the most engagement will show you what types of posts will be well-received by your target audience.

You can also like your competitors’ Facebook pages to see their sponsored posts in your newsfeed. This can help you stay wise to their latest promotions and offers so you can create similar ones for your business.


Formatting Your Post for Promotion

So what are some important things you should consider when formatting a post on your Facebook page?

1. Make sure the image is no more than 20% text

While Facebook removed the rule for the amount of text in your Facebook page cover photo, they did not remove it when it comes to images in your Facebook ads, including Promoted Posts.


This applies to images you use in photo-based wall posts, as shown above, as well as the thumbnail image that you choose in a link-based wall post, seen below.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 7.01.25 AM

Facebook will not approve your promoted post if any image within it has more than 20% text.

If you are planning to promote a post on your wall that links back to a page on your website, you can either upload your own photo as the image or choose one that’s embedded on the site.

Either way you go, make sure you check your photo for the 20% rule with this tool.

2. Make sure you include a call-to-action

Don’t assume that if you include a link that people will click it. Tell them to click it…

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 7.11.24 AM

3. Use Facebook’s New Call – To – Action Buttons on Your Posts

We tested Facebook’s new CTA buttons and found that they decreased our Cost Per Click by 22 cents. Use them!


Click here to see the test we ran and here for more information on how include the CTA buttons in your posts.

4. Add UTM Parameters to your URL

Do you use Google Analytics? If so, make sure you take advantage of UTM parameters to track your Promoted Post clicks. Simply paste in your destination URL in Google’s handy URL Builder and add parameters like this:



Then take the full URL and shorten it with your favorite URL shortener (such as Bit.ly) so you don’t have an unwieldy URL.


Facebook Friendly Landing Pages

When people do click through to your website, you will want to make sure you have a landing page that is ready to convert them to the desired outcome, whether it is to opt-in to your mailing list, sign up for a free trial, or buy your product.


Rookie mistake to avoid: don’t talk about something in your ad and expect people to find it on your homepage. In other words, don’t create a Promoted Post ad (or any PPC ad for that matter) and send those paid clicks to your homepage or another non-specific page on your website. Unless, that is, your homepage is exclusively designed to match your ad.


Since your visitors will be coming from Facebook, they are going to be Facebook friendly. Help them spread the word about your promotion by including a Facebook like or recommend button on your landing page.


If you have a popup on your website, make sure that it does not distract your visitors from the goal of your landing page. Consider turning it off of that page if it does, or in general, as you don’t want someone to be in the middle of filling out your signup and then get intruded upon by your popup.

Last, if you plan on displaying your promoted post to mobile users, make sure your landing page is mobile friendly. Test it out on a variety of popular devices including a tablet, iPhone, Android, etc. to make sure mobile visitors can see all of the important information and successfully complete the conversion goal, whether it’s filling out a form or making it through your shopping cart.

3 – Promote a Post

Promote a Post from Your Facebook Page Wall

So now that you know what posts to promote and how to format your posts for promotion, let’s look at the three ways you can set up a promoted post ad. The simplest method is to use the Boost Post option on your Facebook wall.


The Boost Post option allows you to choose to target your promoted post ad to your fans and their friends, or anyone on Facebook with targeting options for location, age, gender and language.


Your budget selection will be based upon the reach you want your post to have.


The budget and reach will vary depending on the number of fans your page currently has. The above numbers are for a page with 3,100 fans. The perks of using Boost Post to create your promoted posts campaign is that it’s quick to set up and you will be able to choose your entire campaign budget and reach from the get go. The downside is the lack of additional targeting options and a potentially larger reach.

Promote a Post from Facebook Ads

The next method to creating a promoted posts ad is to use the traditional Facebook Ads Manager to create a new ad. This method allows you more targeting and also the ability to scale your ad to more people if you start seeing good results.

First, you will choose Page Post Engagement as the destination, and then you will choose the Facebook page and post you want to promote.


Next, you will configure your ad for display in the sidebar and within the newsfeed.

You can choose to not display your ad in the right hand column or mobile newsfeed by using the Remove button next to each placement under “Advert Preview and Placements” (see below).

We recommend testing your ad in all locations to start with. If you find that you get better results from one display, you can change your preferences.


Next, you  create your target audience.This is where you get the real advantage over using the Boost Post option on your wall, as you can create a more targeted demographic for your post based on interests.Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 7.29.35 AMCustom Audience: We’ll cover this in “Promote a Post from Facebook Power Editor”. This is where you would upload a custom audience, such as your email list, but for now… leave it blank.

Location:As you can see above, we usually target the 4-5 countries that buy most of our products. We use the interests box to target competitors pages and other interests.

Age: If you know your audience’s age range, this is where you’ll define who you want to target. For us, we sell to a wide range of ages so I usually do 18+ or 18-44 years of age.

Gender: The same principles apply. If you’re selling women’s clothing, you will want to target women. For us, we sell to both genders.

Languages: We either leave this blank or target english. Language is pretty much taken care of when you select your location.

More Demographics:

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You’ll see very targeted choices under “More Demographics“. You can target people based on their relationship status, education (field of study), work (job title, employers, industries), financial (what’s their income, net worth?), home (their home value, home type?), ethnic affinity, generation, parents (are they a mom?), politics, and life events (are they about to have a birthday? Are they recently engaged? Did they recently move?).

Interests: This field is where you can target related pages in your niche. Influencers, related pages, competitors, etc. You can also target broad interests such as “Basketball” or “Wedding Ring”.

Behaviours: This is a new feature that has A LOT of specific interests you can target. Anything from senior products, women’s apparel, dog owners, veterans, people who are most likely to buy dairy and eggs…

Facebook’s advertising platform has become so robust you can target almost any niche you can think of with the Interests and Behavioural targeting.

Finally, you will set your campaign schedule and budget for your ad.

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To start, leave the bidding at “Bid for Page post engagement”. Facebook will use Optimized Cost Per Impression or oCPM to run your ad.

Click the Place Order button when you’re finished.



Advanced: Creating Custom Audiences

An awesome feature of Facebook advertising is the ability to create custom target audiences for your ad.

For example, let’s say you wanted to target your Promoted Post to people on your mailing list. First, you would go to your mailing list provider and export your subscriber’s information in CSV format.

To upload a custom audience you would first go to the “Audiences” tab (Click Here).

Within the Audiences dashboard, you would click “Create Audience” in the upper right hand corner.

You will then click “Data File From Custom Audience” as seen below:


Name your audience something recognizable (like the mailing list name and date you exported the list), select the “Data Type” as “Emails“, choose the CSV file you saved to your computer by clicking “Choose File” and then hit “Create Audience“.

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Facebook will begin to match your emails with Facebook users. This could take up to 6 hours.

We find that around 50% of emails we submit as custom audiences match up, so don’t expect your audience size to be the same as your email list.

You will see the audience populate under the “People” category. Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 10.17.19 AM

To create an ad with an audience click “Create Ad” next to the audience you wish to target.

When promoting your posts, it’s great to run a “boost post” ad to target people who like your page, an ad that targets specific interests/behaviours related to your niche, and an ad that targets your email list (if you have one).

Advanced: Using Conversion Pixels


Facebook pixels are a snippet of code that you place on the thank you page after an optin, purchase, webinar registration, etc. It tells Facebook that a goal has been accomplished and allows you to track your results from an ad.

If you would like Facebook to track conversions from your ad, then click HERE to get started.

When you click “Get Pixel” in the right hand corner, Facebook will guide you through the process of setting up conversion tracking code on your website.


You’ll name your conversion pixel and then paste the pixel between the head code of the thank you page for whatever you’re trying to accomplish.

For step by step instructions on how to do this, click here.

For example, if you want to track conversions for mailing list signups or purchases, you would install Facebook’s conversion tracking code on the confirmation or thank you page on your website that visitors reach once they have successfully signed up or made a purchase.

Be sure that you add the tracking code only to the page on your website where the conversion is confirmed. Otherwise, Facebook will tell you that every visit to your website is a conversion.

Once you’ve set up your conversion tracking code, it should be shown as active. You may need to wait until your website’s cache is cleared, or manually clear it yourself if you’re using a plugin like WP Super Cache or W3Total Cache for WordPress.

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After you’ve verified the tracking pixel, you’ll need to click “Action” and then “Create Advert“. You will go through the same process for creating an ad that we explained in the “Promote a Post From Facebook Ads” step.

Conversion Pixels tell Facebook to optimize for checkouts/registrations/leads – they’re very effective and allow you to track your results.

4 – Track Promoted Post

Promoted Post Insights

To see the progress of your promoted post ad, you can check your insights in the following ways. If you used the Boost Post option, you can look at the post on your Facebook wall and click on the Promoted for… or Promotion Completed button beneath the post to see quick stats and increase your budget.


Next, you can look at your Facebook page Insights and find the posts under the Posts tab.



Click on the post to see all of the engagement details broken down by likes, comments, shares, clicks and negative feedback.


You can also get a breakdown of stats (engagement, reach, clickthrough and cost-per-engagement) between sidebar and newsfeed ads in Facebook Ads Manager.


You can click on each ad variation to see details about that particular ad.


Between these three areas, you can find out all about how your ad performed in terms of Facebook engagement.

Track Promoted Posts Using Google Analytics

If you used UTM Parameters on the link for your promoted post, then you can use them to see more data about the visits you received to your website from the ad. To see your ad stats using the UTM Parameters, go to your website’s profile in Google Analytics and look under Traffic Sources > Sources > Campaigns.

Next, select the campaign name you set up with your UTM Parameters.


Then look for the parameters you set up for your promoted post ad link.


Here, you can see the traffic you’ve received from your promoted post. If you have goals set up in Google Analytics, you can click on the Goal Set at the top of the Explorer view and then see the conversions you received for your promoted post campaign (Source: Google Analytics).

Check out this Office Hours presentation on Google Analytics:

5 – Conclusion


Facebook promoted posts can help you reach more of your targeted audience, including a larger percentage of your fan base.

To start your own promoted posts campaigns, follow this checklist.

  1. Get inspiration for your own promoted post by looking at popular posts on your competitor’s Facebook pages.
  2. Create a great post on your Facebook wall to promote. Be sure that the image has less than 20% text, the link is within the   first 90 characters, and that you have a strong call to action.
  3. Use UTM Parameters to track traffic from your promoted posts in Google Analytics
  4. Optimize the landing page for your promoted post for conversions. The page should satisfy the advertised message immediately.
  5. Promote your post using the Boost Post option beneath the post on your Facebook wall, the Facebook Ads Manager, or the Facebook Ads Power Editor.
  6. Measure your results by looking at your post’s quick stats, Facebook page Insights, analytics in the Facebook Ads Manager, and your website’s Google Analytics.

In the end, realize this: Facebook has 1.1 billion users, approximately 70% of which are connected to a business Page. In fact, local business Facebook Pages garner 645 million views and 13 million comments weekly.

If your business is looking to attract a bigger chunk of the ever-growing Facebook audience, promoted posts are an easy way to get in front of current and potential customers.

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