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Facebook Promoted Posts – Is the Extra Reach Relevant?

October 8, 2012 @ 11:21 am
posted by Michelle Fontaine

Facebook officially announced they have 1 billion active users (1/7th of the world’s population).  Facebook is making the world a more connected unit.

It is becoming apparent from many different points-of-view that Facebook’s Reach can include countries and people who would very unlikely become a lead for most businesses.

Promoted Post from the Facebook Page

As Michael Arnum of Tower Hill Botanic Garden noticed when he ran his successful promoted post (which I blogged about last week),

“Thanks for the tip on the posting promotion; I ran back to my desk and tried it out—and the good news is that the posting I promoted for a mere $20 is already the most viewed posting in my history. The “bad news” in a sense is that I’ve noticed many of the “Likes” are coming from foreign fans—from such far-flung places as Turkey, Indonesia, Argentina, and Greece.

Now, I have nothing against international visitors, but let’s face it—I have a much better chance of meeting Jesus’ wife than seeing these fans cross my front gate. What gives?

Regardless of the extra international Likes, Michael’s promotion was successful. And that is the takeaway here. Promoted posts can work but the numbers can be deceiving.

Facebook Events

I have noticed lately when I run a Facebook event and invite my Facebook friends, that there are an inordinate amounts of Yes and Maybe from people I don’t know, who have difficult-to-pronounce names and foreign nationalities. When I follow their pictures back, they have little to no info on their profiles.  When I thank them on the event wall there is never a response. Are people from the other side of the world, who may or may not speak English, interested in paying for an FBSmarty course? Maybe, but unlikely. Is it possible I am really connected to them? Through my friends? With 1500 friends, it could be.

I interact with the forums at Social Media Examiner and there’s an active discussion thread on this subject as well. These are free forums you might want to join. There are clubs for Facebook, Blogging and Small Business. Here is one quote from the thread:

“I am seeing this as well.. In the last week I have had 9 people like one of my client’s Facebook pages and they are from Bangladesh. I can’t find any connection to the area but then we live in a fairly large city and have a good number of fans. Anymore thoughts on this… Are they spamming or pulling info? I would like to have an idea of what to do to fix/prevent this for my client. Thoughts?? “

How Relevant?

Could FBSmarty really be only a few clicks away from a population in Malaysia who is interested in our Page offerings? Here is a print screen from the FBSmarty Reach Insights. I ran several promoted posts which do not allow geo-targeting. The only choices are ‘fans’ and ‘fans and their friends’. Note the activity in Malaysia.  Could Facebook have shown my promoted posts to users in Malaysia? Sounds reasonable for them to do this, but not very useful for me. Combining the 4th and 5th Cities, which are from Malaysia, make Malaysia the 2nd most popular city after Worcester, MA.

FB Smarty reaches Malaysia - relevant?

FBSmarty’s Reach To Far Away Countries – Useful?


Promoted posts do make your Reach Insights look darn good. Here is a shot of my Insights during the promoted posts timeframe.

Reach increases dramatically with promoted posts - but what % is not relevant?

Reach increases dramatically with promoted posts – but what % is not relevant?


Consider Running a Promote your Post Ad

It’s very easy to promote a post right on your page (Note: this option is available for pages with 400 fans). I use it often to reach more of my fans or my fans and their friends. If you use this option you can only control which audience sees it. And if some of your fans are international the reach may become more irrelevant. Fans and friends even more so.

Geo-target promoted posts

Geo-target promoted posts

Promoted Posts and Promote a Post Ad - Cost Difference?

If you are not sure where to reach the Ad Configurator it is under the Build Audience tab at the top of your Admin Panel. How much it will cost is up to you. It depends on what options you choose.  If you choose Cost Per Impressions then you pay for every thousand times it is viewed in the newsfeed of your targeted audience. As you can see below, the range of this particular geo-target is between 0.06 and 0.68 per thousand impressions.

Facebook Cost Per Impression CPM

Facebook Cost Per Impression CPM

The major difference is the Promoted Post from your page shows up in the newsfeeds of fans or fans and their friends. Promoted Posts from the Ad Configurator show up on the right side of the newsfeeds of your targeted audience or other areas ads show, not in their newsfeed.

Promoted Posts on your Page are limited to 3 days from the time of promotion. You choose how long your ad will run in the Create an Ad section.

From a strategic point-of-view you may want to use both options for a specific period of time. The point is you have more  control over who sees the ad, and thus can make it more relevant by making it an ad, but it won’t be as natural as it is when you promote the post to show in the newsfeeds.


No promotion should be run without a strategy. Decide what you want to accomplish and what you can spend to get there. Then decide what combination of branding, advertising and other marketing efforts you will use to accomplish your goal. Certainly combining promoted posts with other marketing tactics such as enewletters, spreading the word through your other social networks, good old attendance at networking meetings and other physical venues, videos on YouTube, webinars, etc. could be put into place.

Just be aware that Facebook reach numbers can be misleading. Many experts still use promoted posts and, in the case of Tower Hill Botanic Garden, it was still a successful strategy as it doubled their show attendance.

What experiences have you had with reaching audiences that are not your target audience?


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