Advertising Social Media Tools

Facebook Boosts: How to set your audience, budget and duration

No matter the size of our budgets, we all want to get the most out of them, especially with something digital – like Facebook boosts.  It’s different if you choose to buy a sign (like from and spend $X and end up with 5 new signs for your church. But, when it comes to digital, we not only have to aim to get the most from our posts, but often we also have the justify those costs to someone who doesn’t understand how Facebook advertising works.

There are 3 aspects to getting the most from your Facebook Post Boost: The technical details, the content of your ad, and your timing strategy.

Heads up: There is a difference between a Facebook ad (like what you see in the right column on desktop) and boosting your Facebook post.  This article is just about hitting the “boost” button on a status update on your Facebook page.

The technical details of promoting on Facebook:

Facebook Boost ButtonIt seems really easy to just hit the “Boost” button on your status update, but then it becomes really easy to get overwhelmed by the details Facebook wants in order to start promoting your ad.

The 1st question is your target audience:

Facebook Boost options

Your audience.  You can see from my screen shot that I currently have 8 audience demographics setup.  Once you create one, Facebook automatically saves it for future use (and if I was more organized, each audience type would already be labelled instead of “audience 1…” but, y’know…)

Think about who you’re trying to reach with this post.  Don’t assume you always want to target “People who like your page and their friends.”  This use to be the only target audience, (like back in the day when I was a young lad…) but then when Facebook did their IPO in May 2014… (yes, I remember how that changed everything…) they opened up the options.

If your post is about a fall carnival, or an outreach event, or a workshop to attract people to your church, then I would recommend creating a target audience for your event and your region. (Age group, geographical region, similar likes, etc.)

If your post is targeted to something like “This weekend’s potluck” or “A message from Pastor” then you may choose to target just people who like your page.

A boost for “People who like your page and their friends” is something that I would say is mostly for businesses (ie. bring a friend this weekend for 2-for-1 ice cream) where you may want to not only reach people who have engaged with you, but also people who are their friends.  In some cases this may be applicable, but other times, if it’s not applicable to your ad, you could be spending boost dollars on people from out of state, or friends of friends who are not your target demographic.


2nd Question – Budget and duration:

screenshot-2016-10-02-20-19-53Specify your budget, and how long you’d like your ad to run.  This works on a “behind the scenes” auction based on attention. Facebook doesn’t want to overload timelines with advertising, so your ad is competing for space with other ads.

(If you open your phone, and scroll to the top of your Facebook feed, you’ll see one post from a friend, then a status boost, then friends posts.)

This exposure is based on how specific of an audience you’re targeting. If you’re charging “people in your county” then Facebook can slap your post on just about anyone’s news feed who’s not falling into anyone else’s targeting.  If you’re targeting 18-20 year olds in your neighborhood who have attended college and work at McDonalds and like Michael W Smith’s page, your audience is going to be a lot smaller, so to come through for your specs, Facebook has to take away other ads from that audience and give it to you… you’ll hit a much more specific audience, but your reach will be far less.

Your duration will spread out your budget.  If you have a an event coming up this weekend that you need more registrations for, then you could choose to make your duration 1 or 2 days and have lots of people see it in a short amount it time.  If it’s a generic boost like “Come check out our church” then it may not be urgent to have every ad be seen tomorrow, so you could spread it out over a few days.


boosted post reachAfter your ad, you’ll get to see some insights on your post – some will be organic (the amount of exposure your post got just from being posted through likes, comments and shares) and paid (the amount of exposure your post earned because of your boost.)

Read about the #1 trick I use to make the most of my Facebook budget!

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By Adam McLaughlin

Adam loves helping churches and businesses discover marketing ideas that are consistent with their values, loves coke slurpees from 7-11 and would love to speak at your conference or event!

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