Case Study: Do Facebook’s Promoted Posts work?

imagesWe have studied a number of executions on social media which include ‘promoted posts’. We have also noticed a decrease in page reach and engagement since the launch of Edgerank.  Such changes are putting limitations on the amount of organic content that we can serve to our followers.

A few years ago when Facebook introduced ‘reach figures’, at that time the organic page reach was estimated to be 30% more then what it is now. Even if we consider timing is crucial and shuffling with it can give us a tad bit of more audience but it still not the solution.

The question is if brands want to retain their hard earned fans on Facebook and get a sufficient amount of reach, is promoted posts the solution? Considering promoted posts can only be viewed by page fans and their friends.

To illustrate, we will be using an example consisting of two sample tests with promoted posts. A ‘light post’ that is meant for sharing and an infographic, limited to a few who share a certain interest.

When promoting a light post at £7 with the target set to reach people who like that page. The results came out impressive (as far as numbers are concerned). 2.7% of the people who saw the post liked it, and over 6.6% took some kind of action.


When taking a closer look at the audience which liked the post, gives an alarming realization  Most of the users who liked the post had fake accounts. The results also show a high number of random likes generated from Malaysia and Thailand  which may or may not be what the company is looking for, when they are struggling to increase local engagement.

So far we can conclude two things :

  • Facebook targeting is utterly, irredeemably broken.
  • Promoted post interactions are falsely buoyed by fake profiles.

For the second round the Infographic covering social sharing  the post was targeted to the people who like the page and their friends. Set on a budget of £19, the post received a huge up-rise with a visibility of 21,000+ views. Around 7% of the fans who saw the page engaged in some kind of action.

In a closer look it was evident that users from south east Asia were more likely to appear in the visibility graph. Only this time these profiles did seem real.

Judging by these tests we can conclude that:

  • You cannot limit your promotions to a much more relevant followers.
  • The spam accounts are artificially inflating the cost of promotions.

Over the course of these two tests the page gained 235 more followers, which when analysed with the acquisition rate is higher then usual. But after the promotion the engagement levels dropped to roughly the same as before.

In effect, brand and businesses who promote posts, need to do that constantly, otherwise they have:

  • No long term traffic increase.
  • No long term page interaction.
  • No long term conversion increase.

In conclusion we’d say that the promoted posts can work to reach out to the portion of your audience which normally do not interact with the page.

However if your brand is targeting an international audience  promoted posts can serve a key purpose. As for the local brands the exercise could become futile. So by just crafting the right post in the first place could produce the same result.

Case Study adopted from econsultancy

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3 Responses to "Case Study: Do Facebook’s Promoted Posts work?"

  1. Kashif Saeed says:

    Well Ms.Sidra you wrote well, but how to get quick likes? What’s the cheaper way!

    • Sidra Zia says:

      Kashif, there is no shortcut to quick likes! However, working on the page’s engagement rate through shareable content and promoting the page to ‘relevant’ audience is the key!

  2. Vijay says:

    Give us solution (small business) not just the case and or a reliable replacement to promote brands with (realistic audiences), where all the real people at ? what would become of (the actual conversion rate) ?

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