Facebook Ads vs. Boosted Posts: What’s the Difference?

Facebook ads vs boosted posts

When you’re marketing your brand on Facebook, you might not know which options are right for your brand’s goals. If you’re unfamiliar with the fine details of social media marketing, it can be tough to nail down key decisions, like choosing between Facebook ads and boosted posts. In this look at Facebook ads vs. boosted posts, we examine the pros and cons of each and teach you when to use one vs. the other.

Facebook Ads

Some users find it hard to differentiate Facebook ads and regular posts. That’s because many ads appear directly in users’ News Feeds, right alongside status updates, photos, and videos from their friends. While ads always carry a “Sponsored Content” note in light gray text, they are sometimes indistinguishable from regular posts in other ways.

The biggest difference between Facebook ads and regular posts is what’s under the hood. Facebook ads offer a range of analytics options, offering several different ways brands can track ad engagement and define campaign goals. What’s more, Facebook ads offer highly specific targeting options, allowing you to target ads to users by age, gender, location, interests, and other criteria.

Facebook ads also have richer formatting options than Facebook posts, with options for carousel ads, slideshow ads, canvas ads, and more. Some of Facebook’s ad formats are built with specific campaign goals in mind, with options for ads that collect leads, direct users to your website, and promote products. Ads can also include call to action buttons, making them a more dynamic choice for social media marketing professionals.

Example of Facebook ad
Example of Facebook ad

Boosted Posts

Boosted posts are a little less complex than Facebook ads and are easier to get a handle on if you are used to Facebook’s News Feed. Unlike an ad, a boosted post is simply a regular Facebook post that you pay to reach a wider audience. This ensures that your post is seen by a larger number of users, or seen more often by users who are likely to engage with its content.

Facebook boosted posts have one key benefit over Facebook ads: free audience research. Most brands boost posts after they already have audience engagement data, making it possible to boost posts that they know perform well with their audience.

Thanks to Facebook’s Ad Manager, you will be able to target your audience with boosted posts in the same way that you target your ads. This can make the boosted posts feature especially useful if you are producing News Feed content that appeals to specific demographics.

“…boosted posts are still considered ads because they require budget to be shared with a wider audience.”


Choosing Ads vs. Posts

Choosing between Facebook ads and boosted posts largely depends on your social media marketing goals.

Each format tends to encourage different outcomes. Facebook ads tend to have a bigger immediate impact and translate directly to campaign goals, like lead captures, app installations, and sales. On certain campaigns, the added functionality of Facebook ads might make them a better fit for your campaign. Meanwhile, boosted posts tend to improve your brand’s social media engagement metrics and overall social presence.

For specific campaigns, the decision between an ad and a boosted post will come down to long-term vs. short term outcomes. On a wider level, a mix of Facebook ads and boosted posts are usually the best way to break up your Facebook social media marketing budget. Boosted posts will allow you to build your brand’s reach and fan base, while ads can help you translate your brand’s presence into tangible outcomes. This one-two punch will allow you to build likes and fans, then turn your new followers into actual customers.

Boost for likes and brand awareness, but use Ads for conversions and shopping orders

Build your brand’s social media marketing presence with help from the experts at Qiigo. Our team will help you reach campaign goals and build a raving fanbase on Facebook and other social platforms. Call (888) 673-1212 today to find out how.

How Social Media Cut This Franchisor’s Cost-Per-Lead in Half

Acquiring leads for franchise development can be a costly and difficult process. Experts say that the average cost of a new franchise lead is $120 — more than almost any other industry. But with the right digital strategy, that figure can be cut in half.

In 2017, a prominent Franchise 500 brand came to Qiigo with a problem. This brand was spending near the industry average per lead, with a significant digital focus on Pay-Per-Click advertising. But a concerningly low percentage of these leads were converting. The result was low ROI and stunted growth.

After surveying this brand’s situation, the team at Qiigo came up with an innovative game plan. We dramatically reduced their PPC ad spend, redirecting these funds to alternative digital channels. Much of this money went towards Social Media marketing, with a particular focus on Facebook Advertising.

By the end of the campaign, these changes had cut the brand’s average Cost-Per-Lead in half.

Our strategy also allowed the brand to reach their target market more easily, consistently, and accurately. As a result, the average quality of their leads increased at the same time as their average cost per lead fell.

Below, let’s take a closer look at how this happened.

Paid Search Underperforming Franchise Brand

During our initial discussions with the brand, we learned that they occupied a unique niche in the world of franchising. The brand’s core service offering was a youth soccer program, and they were seeking franchisees who had existing interest or experience with soccer.

That helped explain the underwhelming performance of their paid search campaigns. People just weren’t searching for the kinds of targeted search terms that would provide the brand with high-quality leads.

To find these leads, the brand needed to target their audience in a much more specific and accurate manner. This would require micro-targeting leads who met the following criteria:

  • Financially qualified to invest in a franchise
  • Interested in owning their own business
  • Located in or near an available territory
  • Existing experience/interest in soccer

Paid search made it difficult to target prospects across all of four these areas. Even if you’re passionate about business ownership and youth sports, you’re probably not Googling terms like “tee ball franchise business,” “kids swimming program franchise,” or “after school basketball franchise opportunity.”

Based on these concerns, Qiigo developed a custom strategy to boost the client’s digital franchise development efforts. Here’s what we came up with…

Social Media Used to Micro-Target Leads

To start, we recommended that the brand reduce its Paid Search budget by roughly 60%. The remaining Paid Search funds would focus on a smaller, more targeted set of keywords and parameters. This would increase the overall quality of leads, improving on-the-dollar returns on paid search.

Using the funds saved from Paid Search, we recommended a mix of alternative strategies to more accurately target high-quality leads. Of these strategies, we focused most heavily on Social Media, with a particular emphasis on Facebook.

In franchise development, Social Media campaigns tend to focus on LinkedIn. But in this case, Facebook’s rich combination of audience data and targeting tools were a perfect fit for the client’s needs.

Through Facebook, we were able to create a series of Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences to target high-quality leads. These audiences targeted standard criteria for franchise development marketing, such as location, age, education, and income markers. We also retargeted users who had previously engaged with the brand or had visited the brand’s website.

At the same time, we used Facebook’s audience data to targeted users with existing experience and/or interest in soccer. Our audiences included users who “liked” content related to soccer, who had played the sport in school, who had worked in the field of soccer, or who listed themselves as a self-proclaimed “soccer mom.”

Throughout the campaign, we partnered with the client to identify which specific audience markers resulted in the highest rates of leads, as well as which types of content produced the strongest engagement metrics. This allowed us to refine our targeting strategies and our creative output.

We performed similar adjustments to Paid Search over the course of the campaign. This allowed us to further improve lead generation rates across both channels.

The Results: Lower Costs, Better Leads, Stronger ROI

In less than a year, the client experienced a significant boost in digital franchise development. In fact, 22% of closed sales in 2017 were the direct result of Qiigo’s digital marketing efforts.

Over the course of the campaign, we reduced the client’s average cost per lead from roughly $120 down to a remarkable $58 per lead. And despite paying less for each lead, the overall quality of the clients’ prospect pool had actually increased, resulting in stronger ROI.

Connect with us today to learn more about how we can help you generate more leads for your Franchise Development efforts.

Using Hashtags for Local Marketing

If your small business is active on social media, you need to be hashtag fluent. In the right hands, hashtags can help your small business reach a much larger share of local customers. But in the wrong hands, hashtags can be easily abused, with cringe-worthy results.

While hashtags are easy to misuse, they’re not that difficult to master. With a little work, you can tag your way to a much stronger presence on social media.

Types of Hashtags

On a basic level, hashtags tend to fit into three general categories. Different types of hashtags work better for different types of posts, so many sure you choose the right tag in each instance.

  • Branded Hashtags. These are hashtags specific to your brand, such as your name, your tagline, a campaign tagline, or the name of a product/service. They can be used to encourage customer interactions or raise awareness.
  • Trending Hashtags. These are hashtags for trending topics, which tend to be generated by current events or viral content. They can be a good way to gain visibility, but only if you can post high-quality, relevant content.
  • Content Hashtags. These are hashtags that add information to the post (e.g., “Join us at #UnionSquare for #FreeSamples”) or recontextualize other parts of the post (e.g., “#FeelingBlue? Kickstart your painting project with a free color consultation”).

Guidelines for Different Platforms

In addition to different types of hashtags, you’ll need to be thoughtful about how you use hashtags on different social networks. Here’s a quick look at hashtag best practices for four popular networks.

  • Facebook. While Facebook supports hashtags, they aren’t widely used or especially effective. Use hashtags sparingly in your Facebook posts.
  • Instagram. Hashtags are a crucial feature of Instagram marketing. Aim for 5-15 hashtags per post. Tip: Instead of adding all of your hashtags to your original post include some in comments.
  • Pinterest. Smart hashtag usage can increase your visibility in Pinterest search. The network will display your first four hashtags, so include between 4-10 per image.
  • Twitter. Twitter’s the network where hashtags first took off. But with Twitter’s character limit you’ll want to limit yourself to one or two hashtags per post (or none at all).

Hashtags for Local Social Media

The hashtag strategies that work for national brands aren’t always a good fit for local businesses. Here are a few smart ways that local businesses use hashtags on social media.

  • Local Trends. When hashtags trend locally, they appear in the feeds of users from that area, but not in the feeds of other users. Since a pool of local users is smaller than a national or global one, it is easier for local businesses to stand out with locally trending hashtags. You can use hashtags to cheer on local sports teams, announce local events, or encourage donations to local non-profits.
  • Niche Hashtags. Local businesses should be wary of mega-popular hashtags. Instead, you should target niche hashtags that are relevant to your business. This will make your content more visible to the right kind of people, which boosts your chances of engagement. Try using a free tool like Hashtagify to identify the best hashtags for your business.
  • Social SEO. 65% of shoppers perform online research before they visit physical stores. Much of that research occurs on social media, where hashtags can give your business a boost in search results. On hashtag-friendly platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, you can tag posts with the name of your city/town and products/services to increase visibility (e.g., “Get a #CouplesMassage in #Topeka”).
  • Franchise Tags. If you’re the owner of a franchise location, branded hashtags can be tricky. If you simply echo your franchisor’s hashtags, you won’t stand out. To create a branded hashtag for your franchise, see if you can find a catchy way to combine your brand or your core product/service offering with your street address, neighborhood, or city.
  • Have Fun! Social media gives you the chance to forge more personal connections with your customers. So don’t be afraid to have fun with hashtags. Your #ThrowbackThursday post might not rack up hundreds of likes, but it will help your customers see a more personal side of your business.

General Tips & Guidelines

To wrap things up, here are three general guidelines to help you incorporate hashtags well and avoid embarrassing situations.

  1. Think Before You Tag. A number of businesses find themselves in hot water when they unthinkingly use risqué or offensive hashtags. Even if you’re using what you think is an original idea for a hashtag, make sure that it doesn’t have an unintended meaning.
  2. Don’t Go Overboard. Cluttering your posts with hashtags not only makes them difficult to read, but it’s also considered a social media faux-pas. So reel in your inner graffiti artist and go easy on those tags.
  3. Tag Naturally. When using hashtags, it’s tempting to adopt popular slang or reference current trends. This is a smart strategy, but only if you can use these terms naturally. When businesses try to use slang or make references they don’t know, the results stick out like a sore thumb.

What is a Micro-Influencer and is Assembly Required?

influencer marketingIn today’s hyperconnected world, influencer marketing has become a key component for most marketing plans. While many marketers gravitate towards famous bloggers, vloggers, and mega-celebrities, for an influencer to be effective they need more than just a large number of followers of their social media account. Having the trust of their followers and the ability to drive those followers into action is extremely valuable, much more so than just the number of followers.


That’s where the micro-influencer comes into play. They may not have the huge social media following of big celebrity names and well-known bloggers, but the followers they do have are listening to their words, and acting on them. That’s important, because people are turning to social media more than ever for recommendations. In fact, in according to recent research, 70% of Americans have sought the opinions of others before making purchases, and 72% of those looked to their social media circles for these recommendations.  

What is a Micro-Influencer (and why work with them)?

Simply put, a micro-influencer is someone with a respectable social media following, usually between 1,000 and 5,000 followers, that blogs or posts about a particular passion or niche. This niche could be anything; fashion, business, beauty, automotive, fitness, tech, travel, and everything in between. The combination of a specific, niche topic with an intimate social media following is human-to-human marketing at it’s best.


Working with micro-influencers can be beneficial for many reasons, including:

  • Higher engagement: Studies show that as an influencer’s numbers rise, their rate of engagement with followers actually decreases. So while the content produced by micro-influencers may reach a smaller audience, that audience is much more engaged because the content feels much more personal.
  • Authenticity: Consumers look for authenticity, and can spot a fake in an instant, rejecting or ignoring the content. To drive that point home, consider the consumer study shared by Forbes finding that 43% of millennials value authenticity over content when getting news. Micro-influencers naturally produce more authentic content and appear more sincere, making their content better received by consumers and in turn, more valuable.
  • Affordability: The investment needed to hire one celebrity influencer and allow marketers to work with 15-25 micro-influencers to reach numerous demographics and geographical regions. This makes it a cost effective way to reach an audience, test marketing strategies, and evaluate engagement and results.

How to Find the Right Micro-Influencers

One size does not fit all when it comes to choosing micro-influencers. Identifying micro-influencers in your own social media campaign can be done by looking at these four areas:


Your own followers: Chances are you have micro-influencers already following your brand. Identify these followers who regularly engage with your posts and narrow down your list by:

  • Refine your list of potential micro-influencers by eliminating those whose follower list and activity is less than your brand’s page.
  • Analyzing posting habits. How frequently do they post? On average, how many likes and comments do they receive per post?
  • Lastly, visit their profiles and interact with them by liking and/or commenting on their posts. This will help build a relationship for future collaborations.

If this feels too labor intensive, tools like Commun.it and Crowdbabble can help you find your top followers based on engagement with your brand and their number of followers.


Google: Run Google searches to find niche bloggers in your areas of interest by searching “top [industry] influencers on Twitter” or “top [industry] Instagram account”, etc. There will most likely already be lists for your industry. Run these searches on each social media platform to compile your list.


Hashtags and keywords: Use hashtags and keywords commonly used in your industry or related to your business or products, and you’ll find micro-influencers that have posted about those topics or keywords. But keep in mind, not all the results you get back will be from influencers.
To identify a specific user as an influencer, look at the following criteria:

  • Engagement rate – Look at the user’s ratios of likes to follows. If there’s a large number of followers with a small amount of likes and comments, this user’s account most likely has a large number of inactive accounts following it.
  • Content quality – Does the content seem genuine? Is it good? Are they using original, self-generated photos or stock images? Remember, authenticity is key, so original photos will be better received by consumers than stock images.
  • Number of followers – While a micro-influencer won’t have a massive following, they should generally have more followers than your company’s profile page.

To help with searches using hashtags and keywords, try followerwonk for Twitter and Keyhole for Twitter and Instagram.


Specialty tools & networks: If all these manual searches have your head spinning, try using specialty influencer marketing tools or work with blogger networks. Although there is a cost involved with using influencer marketing tools, they can automate repetitive tasks, such as reviewing content and contacting influencers, track and monitor campaigns in real time, and make it much faster to find the most relevant influencers in your area.


When searching for the right influencers for your next marketing campaign, analyze their real influence by measuring their daily interactions, per-post interactions, and overall trustworthiness, not just their number of followers.


What You Need To Know About Your Web Page Speed Score

Imporve Pagespeed ScoreThe amount of time it takes for your web page to load is critical. A slow loading web page can have a negative effect on SEO (search engine optimization) and CRO (conversion rate optimization), translating to a loss in revenue and customers. Improving your web page speed score will lead to a better user experience, higher SEO rankings and conversions, and increased revenue.  

Evaluate the Speed of your Website

The first step to faster page loading is identifying the current page load speed of your site. There are three popular (and free) tools available that measure speed, but each provides slightly different metrics. For a fully rounded assessment of potential speed issues on your site, use all three.

  1. Google PageSpeed Insights: This tool checks for common performance best practices, provides overall page speed score, a list of potential issues, and suggestions on how to fix them.
  2. Web Page Test: Although this tool lets you test any page from your website, much like Google PageSpeed Insights does, the results are very different. The most notable difference is the ‘First Byte Time’ metric (the time it takes to receive the first byte from the server) that Web Page Test measures. With Google recommending a first byte time of less than 200 milliseconds, this is an important metric to keep an eye on. For a median score of your page speed metrics, we recommend running a minimum of three tests.  
  3. GT Metrix: This tool has results and actionable recommendations similar to PageSpeed Insights, but it also has a few other nice features. You can run tests on Android devices for an accurate picture of your site’s mobile performance, get your page’s Page Load Time, Total Page Size, Total Number of Requests, and even see your page’s performance relative to the average of all sites analysed on GT Metrix.   


Actionable Tips For Speeding Up Your Site

So what can you do to speed up your site? Let’s take a look at how to resolve issues that are commonly identified by PageSpeed Insights, Web Page Test, and GT Metrix.


Optimize Images

For most web pages, images account for most of the download bytes on a page, and optimizing images can deliver the biggest performance improvements. It’s best to optimize your images before they are uploaded to your server. There are a number of online tools that will compress your images, including Tiny Jpeg and Tiny PNG. Google also has a tool called Guetzli, which creates high quality JPEG images with 35% smaller file sizes than other methods currently available.


But what about ads? Many websites host ads to generate income, and many times these ads are not optimized, which can hinder page speed and undermine revenue. If you have limited control over ad optimization, you can press for guidelines on media constraints and/or formats and perhaps make some headway.  


Avoid or Minimize Render-Blocking JavaScript in Above-the-Fold Content
JavaScript and CSS resources usually prevent a web page from being loaded until they are downloaded and processed by the server, which can be a time suck when rendering above-the-fold content. This is especially true if they are external JavaScripts that need to be fetched before they can be executed.

Three ways to avoid or minimize the use of render-blocking JavaScript are:

  1. Inline JavaScript
  2. Make JavaScript Asynchronous
  3. Defer the Loading of JavaScript

Find out more about removing render-blocking JavaScript here.


Reduce Your Server’s Response Time

You can get a perfect score on GT Metrix or the magic 85/100 on Google PageSpeed Insights, but if your server’s response time is slow, you can still end up with a slow loading web page. This makes server response time crucial, and there are dozens of factors that can contribute to slow server response time, including:

  • Slow database queries, routing, and application logic
  • Frameworks and libraries
  • Memory and resources CPU starvation

Identify and prioritize the factors that are impacting your site, and begin fixing them for improved speed. To address problems down the road, put automation in place that alerts you to future issues.  


Leverage Browser Caching

Browser caching temporarily stores, or “remembers”, webpage resource files such as your company logo and CSS files. When you leverage browser cache, you can instruct browsers on how their resources should be handled. This allows subsequent site pages to load much faster for customers that visit more than one page on your site, or have repeat visits.  


To cut down on “fetching” resources over the network, which is slow and expensive, all servers should specify a caching policy. Google recommends a minimum cache of one week (preferably up to a year) for assets that are static or don’t change frequently.


Avoid/Minimize Landing Page Redirects

Cutting out unnecessary redirects allows a better mobile experience for users, and creating a responsive site is the best way to avoid redirects from your landing page. For some sites, such as sites with a separate mobile (often designated as m. before the URL)website, landing pages may be unavoidable. In these instances, minimizing their impact by making a single roundtrip redirect instead of multiple redirects is still helpful. Read more about avoiding landing page redirects here.


Minify HTML, CSS and JavaScript

Minification refers to the process of removing redundant or unnecessary data without changing its functionality. Depending on which element(s) you need to minify, there are tools available to help with the process:


Improving page load speed on your website will help you deliver a better experience to your customer, which in turn will result in better rankings and more conversions for your business.


What You Need to Know About Klout Scores

Klout ScoresHave you ever considered your influence, or “clout” online? Since 2008, a company called Klout has been using proprietary algorithms to measure online influence on a scale of 1 to 100.

A score of one questions whether you have heard of Instagram, and a score in the 90’s puts you in the company of Barack Obama, Justin Bieber, and Lady Gaga.


How Klout Scores Work
Klout uses data from a large number of sites, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, Blogger, YouTube, last.fm, and WordPress. Additional sites are regularly being added to the list referenced to build your Klout score. Although the algorithms are kept secret, we do know that Klout uses this data to look at online likes, shares, number of followers, and other variables to create your “Klout Score”.


How to Boost Your Klout Score
According to Klout, the average score is 40 and anyone with a score of 63 is in the top 5% of all users. So how do you get a Klout score, and how do you improve it?

First off, if you have a Twitter account, you already have a Klout score unless you opted out when you created the account. One caveat; your Twitter account must be completely public for it to contribute to your Klout score. To check your score, link social media accounts, or just get started, visit Klout’s home page.

While Klout’s algorithms remain a mystery, there are a number of things you can do to increase your score:


  1. Value Engagement Over Volume: Klout is trying to rate influence, so it puts emphasis on engagement rather than sheer numbers. A smaller number of followers that engage with your content is viewed more favorably than a large number of followers that never do anything.
  2. Build Online Relationships: Instead of only broadcasting content, try to engage with your audience. Interact with their content, ask questions, and get discussions going. When they reciprocate, you’ll be building an online relationship.
  3. Make Friends with Influencers: Befriending people online with high Klout scores will help your numbers, so find out who the influencers are in your field, and start interacting with them. Just be sure that you do it in a way that doesn’t look like you have ulterior motives.
  4. Tailor Your Content to Your Audience: Content that is very specific to your audience is better for your Klout score than content with broader appeal. Remember, a small but vocal group of followers is more important than a large but silent following.
  5. Monitor Your Account: Check on your Klout score anytime via their website. Add or remove social media accounts and see if any changes make a noticeable difference.


Does Your Klout Score Matter?
This is a point of debate in the online world. While many people are still unaware of Klout scores, some companies are starting to look at them to assess job candidates and potential joint ventures. High scores could even lead to exclusive access to discounts and deals. Bottom line? The importance of your online presence is only increasing, so it’s a smart move to monitor your Klout score and improve it if you can.


Snapchat Luring SMB’s to Run Ads

Snapchat Luring SMB’s to Run AdsIt’s been reported by Business Insider that SnapChat has started offering discounts and reimbursements aimed at small business marketers. To entice SMB’s into advertising on their platform, reimbursements will max out at greater than $1,500, or 1% of the overall budget when the spend exceeds $40,000.

There are several reasons why these discounts and incentives have popped up now, and specifically for small business owners and advertisers.


According to Business Insider, new small business advertising will be critical to Snapchat’s ability to drive revenue and fully leverage its focus on location based marketing, and this is a challenge for the social media platform. Even though an estimated 40% of Americans between 18-34 years of age use Snapchat on a daily basis, many small businesses struggle to make heads or tails of Snapchat marketing and its casual, playful vibe.


Another reason is cost. Snapchat has often been out of reach for small business owners and marketers due to costs associated with re-cutting video to a vertical format. With smaller media budgets, and smaller production budgets, re-cutting video that’s specific to Snapchat can be a big blow to a small budget.


While vertical video format is a factor, there are other reasons for these incentives to begin popping up, including efforts by other social media platforms to get a bigger piece of the SMB advertising pie. In July, it was reported that Instagram was offering advertisers the opportunity to test new ad products for free. Facebook is also tremendous growth in its small business ad revenue.  


Throw in investors that are disappointed in the sluggish revenue and user growth since Snapchat went public in March, and it’s easy to see why they’re aiming to pull small businesses into the advertising fold.

Time to Jump Into Snapchat Advertising?

While advertising on Snapchat may not be for everyone, if your business caters to teens and young adults, it’s definitely worth looking into. New marketing features, including Ad Manage, Snap Publisher, and Certified Partners, make it easier than ever for small businesses to get in the game, and puts them in a better position to compete with larger brands and businesses.