In its Q3 2016 earnings, Facebook revealed that it generated $2.379 billion in profit, up an impressive 16 percent versus the $2.05 billion it raked in during the last quarter, and up a stellar 160 percent year over year.
This does not come as a surprise to many social-media marketers. As organic reach has declined drastically over the past few years, many marketers are turning to promoting posts to get their messages in front of their audiences. In fact, some brands even insist that organic is dead and have adopted a 100 percent paid strategy.
While brands are spending a lot more on Facebook advertising, this does not necessarily translate into better performance.
Socialbakers analysed data between 2014 and 2016 and found that despite promoting more posts each quarter, average page interactions remained stagnant.
It is evident that brands have not been boosting their post efficiency. Instead they have been simply throwing money at the problem in hopes of higher engagement.
Does spending more on social necessarily translate to better results? The numbers certainly don’t reflect that. Promoting too much is not only costly, but also costs you followers. A study conducted in Q2 2016 revealed that posting too much promoted content is the top reason why consumers unfollow brands on social media.
What can brands do better to avoid this costly mistake?
Stop boosting every single post
While it feels good to see the immediate increase on your interactions for one post, data analysis proves that this strategy is ineffective in the long run.
Socialbakers analysed 320,000 posts by 5,000 of the largest brand pages on Facebook in the first quarter of 2016. The data showed us that when brands promoted all of their posts, their paid performance was 25 percent worse than if they only boosted their best content (posts which performed better than 90 percent of their content).
Instead of promoting every single post, the most effective strategy would be to only promote the best performing posts.
Don't neglect content quality and organic performance
As companies increasingly rely on paid posts to gain engagement, many have stopped putting emphasis on content quality and performance.
In the same study we found that if companies promoted poor content (content which got 50 percent fewer interactions than other posts), they got 39.3 percent poorer performance than if they only promoted their best content.
Besides achieving poor paid performance, these brands also paid twice the cost per click and 18 percent higher CPM.
Why is this so? Facebook prefers to display ads that are relevant to the audience. Hence, it assigns a relevance score for each of your ads, rating the quality of your ad on a scale from 1 to 10 based on how much Facebook thinks it will appeal to your target group. This score is given after the first 500 impressions.
When your ad's score is high, it's more likely to be shown to your audience than other ads. You also pay less to reach more of your target audience. However, if your ads are not relevant, the cost to advertise increases.
A major contributing factor to this relevance score is your number of interactions. With poor interactions, relevance score decreases and it becomes more expensive to advertise.
My advice to marketers who wish to become more efficient in promoting their posts and get more out of the same amount spent:
- Stop boosting all your posts
- Only promote the best performing content
- Try to get the highest relevance score possible through generating quality content that gets likes, shares and comments
Jeraldine Phneah is a regional account manager at Socialbakers Asia Pacific.