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The $5 Solution to Your Organic Reach Problem on Facebook

Facebook Organic Reach

Has the organic reach from your Facebook page dropped off a cliff?

Ours did.

We started noticing the problem across a number of our Facebook pages in late August and early September.

With a Facebook Page of nearly 20,000 people we were seeing pathetic numbers on our status updates.

Posts like this just weren’t cutting it anymore,

facebook-success8

We knew Facebook had made an algorithm update.  We tested a number of different types of content, times of day, etc. but it became clear that Facebook was going to force us to advertise.

Then, a statement from Facebook leaked that confirmed what we had been seeing for months.  Here is that statement,

“We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.”

In other words, if you want to keep your engagement levels up — reach for your wallet.

While most marketers were crying “extortion” and fleeing Facebook for cheaper clicks on Pinterest or elsewhere, we dug in and started testing.

Here’s what we found…

We saw a dramatic difference between posts we “boosted” (spent money on) and posts we didn’t.

We didn’t break the bank either — we’ll show you 3 cases where we spent a measly $5 to “boost” the post.

Plus, you’ll see a BONUS case at the end of this post that explains how we got a ton of email opt-ins from a single Facebook post (but if you can’t wait, you can see this bonus trick here.)

Case 1 – Increase engagement and reach on a Facebook post

Here is a post we DID NOT “boost.”  This is terrible performance — well below what we had come to expect from our organic posts.

facebook-success3

Compare that to this post which we “boosted” for $5.

facebook-success2

From 332 people seeing our post to 19,008 for $5.  That’s a 5,625% increase.

This is a no brainer.  Not just because of the big increase but because our competitors refuse to do it.  That presents an opportunity for us.

Case 2 – Increase clicks to our website from a Facebook post

We wondered if this would translate into clicks to our website as well.  We tested what impact $5 would have on traffic from Facebook to our website.

As Ryan Deiss often says,

“He who is willing to pay the most to acquire a customer wins.”

Again, here is a post with a link that we DID NOT boost,

facebook-success5

And here are the clicks to the website on that post,

facebook-success7

Not good.  But when “boosted” by just $5 our posts performed,

facebook-success4

From 653 people seeing the post to 11,172 for $5.  That’s a 1,610% increase.

And clicks to the website increased from 73 to 451, a 517% increase.

facebook-success6

Case 3 – Increase YouTube video views from a Facebook post

The last thing we looked at was applying a $5 investment to a video we uploaded to our YouTube channel.

First, let’s have a look at the performance of a video we DID NOT boost,

facebook-success11

 

The reach and engagement on this post was poor compared to the “boosted” post and we got virtually no views on the video from this Facebook post.

Here is the Facebook Post promoting the YouTube video which we gave a $5 boost,

2014-01-08_10-48-07

These are the clicks on the bit.ly link,

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And this is the video views,

facebook-success10

Not too shabby for $5.

 Bonus Case – Increasing Email Opt-Ins From a Facebook Post

In this video, Ryan Deiss goes over a strategy we used on Facebook to get 250 email opt-ins in 18 hours by spending $25.

facebook-success12

That’s 10 cents per email opt-in.  We’re rolling this simple trick out to Facebook pages in all of our niches because it can work for any business.

Get the bonus trick by clicking here


About Molly Pittman

Molly Pittman is Digital Marketer's social media manager, and uses her wide range of business and communication skills to enhance our presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more. She graduated with a degree in Business Administration & Marketing from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY. Connect with Molly on Facebook
View all posts by Molly Pittman ➞

Comments:

  • Rachel R. says:

    Have others reading this seen the same results? None of the bloggers I know who have paid to boost posts have seen anything close to this kind of difference. Every single blogger I’ve heard from (prior to this post) has said that when they paid, it was a waste.

    Are we doing something wrong, or is there maybe some particular reason that it’s a more effective tactic for this particular blog?

  • Francis Fitzgerald says:

    Have recently started to get into FB ad’s and boosts to get more likes to our FB page: ultimately we are aiming to get more leads to our website…so the idea of more likes is more credibility in our online presence. BUT here are some casual observations or impressions do far:

    1. FB knows when you spend money… be so easy for them to say before payment, seen by 123 people..after payment, seen by 250,000 people. in the end it will no doubt come from $ conversions :/

    2. In starting to get more likes, on Saturday evening I created three parallel ad’s for 10 days @ $5/day each – all around same theme of our start-up. Prior to this we had in 3 months reached 127 likes. Within three days we have reached 260 likes.

    3. In our quest for likes, we selected multiple countries but I noticed all likes were from just one, non-english speaking country… at the beginning of the list??

    4. I updated the ad’s re countries to be fewer and added in the UK and USA.

    5. Now we had likes from USA, Canada and France…BUT, again; 1 from Florida…1 from Paris… REALLY? The potential reach over 100 million with our select4ed niche interests

    Are they saying…just spend $50/100/500 a day and more will see??? So far, very disillusioned about the legitimacy of these ad’s ?? :/

  • Scarlette says:

    Hi there,
    Great post. For those of you who want to save that $5, here is an article explaining how to make the most of Facebook: How to Get Posts Seen on Facebook? EdgeRank Explained http://in2.so/W3BmRF

  • Shaun says:

    Great tip, Got 5p link clicks by doing this, all only cost £3 too.

  • Chris says:

    Ok so what do you recommend to a complete new FB Page? Should we start with paying for likes or just post good content and boost the posts? Because now you can also like the page with the new design which has posted the status update.

    When you`ve no reach at all in the beginning, which step would be more usefull?

  • Jose Romero says:

    Great info! Alternatively, we’ve found that creating one “page post engagement ad,” and setting it to promote each new post, increases reach and engagement as well.

  • Dave Pimentel says:

    you forgot the part where the cost is variable to the number of your page likes. Our page with 300k+ likes would cost us $200 minimum to boost promote.

    • Molly Pittman says:

      There is no minimum amount (other than maybe $1) to promote a post no matter the size of your page. For larger pages, when you click the boost post button, it will automatically fill in a larger number like $200 but you can always erase that and type $5 or $10. I hope this helps. Thanks for commenting!

  • The money is always in the list. Email offers to FB Fans work far better than fb online offers.

  • Hi, thanks for a very interesting post.
    I’ve just watched the promotional video for fb ad power and I have a couple of questions:
    I run a marketing consultancy here in the UK, and we want to promote several online training courses, one all about email marketing, one direct response marketing course. Also I am launching an ipad/iphone newsstand magazine soon. I also have a hard copy book I’ve authored to sell when it is re-printed in two months time.
    (I offer various free reports to build my subscriber list).
    Will the fb ad power system work for these type of products, and for my target audience i.e. small business owners and marketing managers?
    Will it be just as relevant for the UK market?
    (I have no real experience of FB marketing, and only post links when I send out an email promoting my latest blog post).
    Many thanks,
    Richard Lomax

    • Molly Pittman says:

      Richard-

      The course will teach you how to find your market on Facebook and target them directly. We sell online courses and have found great success with Facebook ads from the methods taught in FB Ad Power. Let me know if you have any further questions and I’ll be happy to help.

      Molly Pittman

  • Hi Guys,

    I’m going to test this today. Question: On your post about you show bit.ly tracking. Can you possibly point me to a how-to on accomplishing this? I’d like to track the clicks to my actual site but don’t know how.

    Great stuff!

    Ken

  • Bob Tewsley says:

    This can surely make a difference between growing your business or being static. Very interesting but FB itself has been openly marketing this to us by email. What’s new? Marketing itself! Bob Tewsley, Life coach and Mindfullness Trainer.

  • thanks for this. I did actually try this before christmas, so when I saw the headline I was really keen to see more. I did it with $5 and $10 and I think its quite evident from your demonstrations that it works. However, I guess its going to depend on what sort of strategy one adopts depending on their goals.
    Its going to be interesting to see how Facebook responds coz obviously in the next few days, they will be more boosted posts. Thanks for the analysis, whilst it added more juice and made me think about a few other things in terms of my optimum spent and how I can possibly maximise each post and ‘harvest’ both for the short term and for the long term using that boosted post strategy. Great work!

  • Alex Houg says:

    I read this post last year that depicted the type of thing that was talked in this post, but it describes why this technique isn’t effective in the long run: http://socialfresh.com/facebook-boost-button/

    Seems like it drives reach, but not the right type of engagement.

    Molly, what are your thoughts?

    • Molly Pittman says:

      I agree with some points in this article but this was written before the Facebook algorithm changed and really effected most page’s organic reach. (http://www.socialbakers.com/blog/960-decrease-in-facebook-post-reach-what-happened-and-what-to-do-about-it)

      The more people that see your page the more engagement you are likely to have. Overtime, this approach will have a lasting effect on your page because of the “last actor” aspect of the Facebook algorithm. Facebook’s recent change means that you will see more posts in your newsfeed from pages that you have recently interacted with (liked, commented, shared) – therefore, if you’re able to increase your reach and in turn increase engagement on your post, the next time you post it will be more likely to show up in more timelines (because so many more people had engaged with your last post).

      Overall, the most important thing to me is driving clicks to our website and this is certainly effective for that. Thanks for sending this article over!

  • SPC says:

    Can you give us any more guidance here? Did you pay $5 for that email/banner to go out to the FB universe? to 1,000 people, who could then resend it to others? Not sure i follow what you were getting for $5, although the results are certainly impressive. thanks for further info

    • Molly Pittman says:

      We hit the “boost post” button at the bottom of the Facebook posts. This assures that your post is seen by more of your fans and their friends. The post will have more impressions in their timeline, whereas before they may have never seen the post organically.

  • I’ve boosted a few posts with $5 and it’s made a huge difference in how many people see them. It’s frustrating that people who have Liked a page don’t get to see most of the posts, but $5 here and there isn’t going to break the bank, so I recommend trying this.

  • Michael Alperstein says:

    Thank you for this. I appreciate the tests.

    There is one thing I think is important that I have yet to see anyone mention. When Facebook says “Such and such number of people saw this post” I don’t believe it is as big a number as it looks. What do they really mean by a view?

    If I am scrolling up and down the newsfeed (just skimming and glancing) that probably counts as a view. Doesn’t it? Did I really see the post though?

    I just don’t think the “view” numbers are quite what they are cracked up to be.

    • Molly Pittman says:

      I am not sure how they calculate “reach”. But really, the point of this article is that when your post is shown to a larger number of people (reach) it’s proven that you’ll receive more engagement on your page and clicks on your links – more opt ins, more sales, etc. The name of the game. I hope this helps.

  • John says:

    We have >100K fans and when we select this option it says we would reach an additional 1200 people. Is your point that we could reach these 1200 people, or that many many more could be reached because the fact that we are spending money boosting the post, with just a small $5 spend, it will increase our organic reach because the algorithm favors boosted posts over those that aren’t?

    • Molly Pittman says:

      The point is that Facebook will favor your post because you are paying for more impressions (reach) than you would have received organically. The best part is that as you spend your $5 and reach more people, you will receive more engagement to your posts (likes, comments, shares). This is great not only because it boosts engagement on your page but because of the “last actor” aspect of the Facebook algorithm. Facebook’s recent change means that you will see more posts in your newsfeed from pages that you have recently interacted with (liked, commented, shared) – therefore, if you’re able to increase your reach and in turn increase engagement on your post, the next time you post you’re page is more likely to show up in timelines (because so many more people had engaged with your last post). Basically, the $5 not only reaches more people but in time it will increase the overall health of your page.

  • Peter says:

    So boosting boosts. That’s great.

  • So what is the $5 solution?

  • Egbert Oostburg says:

    Molly, I appreciate the illustration but don’t see how you can compare apples and oranges to formulate your results. Wouldn’t the case studies have carried more weight by demonstrating the exact same ad, placed at during same time and date period, for the specific channel scenario, but split-testing an organic post versus a boosted post?

    • Russ Henneberry says:

      We didn’t split test these Egbert. It would certainly have carried more weight to have done so but I don’t think it’s necessary to see validity to this argument. A 5,000%+ increase speaks for itself.

    • Molly Pittman says:

      I understand your point. In terms of posting the same ad twice, we would not want to post the same post more than once out of respect of our fans.

      In each “case” above the ads are of the same type… a photo, a link to a blog post with a text blurb above, or a link to a YouTube video with a text blurb. The results, 0 likes vs. 39 likes and 73 clicks vs. 451 clicks is significant enough to conclude that the $5 had a BIG impact on the post.

      In terms of time & date, what should be understood about “boost post” is that it promotes the post for up to 24 hours, therefore no matter what time of day you post it will continue to place your post in the newsfeed during all times of day.

      These cases are not meant to be standard split tests, just examples of how just $5 can increase the engagement, click thrus, and video views from your Facebook posts. Thank you very much for your feedback and we will keep this in mind! :)

  • This is totally overwhelming :) Really Interesting….Thanks for sharing such creative ideas.

  • Marcelle says:

    I really appreciate this type of content – big visuals with clear data. Thanks for sharing your insights! Keep it up.

    Marcelle

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