Promoted posts, though currently rather limited in targeting capability, are great options for small businesses. They’re simple to use, they show your message in the newsfeed of fans and friends of fans – (not on the right side), and they’re convenient, because you can select the post to advertise from right within your timeline. No need to go to the Ads Manager or play in Power Editor – although the latter offers more precise targeting, many small businesses won’t need to get that granular yet.


This post will provide a breakdown of the ins and outs of Promoted Posts, plus an example of a business using them effectively.


The cost for US-based traffic is between $2-5 CPM (it’s not CPC). This matches what you’d get doing it in Power Editor, selecting by placement.


promoted posts cost


Based on how many fans your page has, Facebook will offer options from just $5 to thousands of dollars (if you have pages with millions of fans).


But for a new page that is growing quickly, I’d suggest that you start with the $5 option and do it on every single post, plus post at least daily with photos or high-engagement items. Why? Because you will get more organic amplification, which creates a “discount” on the price of your traffic.


promoted posts organic amplification


Notice that we got 1,534 paid impressions – and 1,557 viral impressions and just as many organic impressions. The viral impressions are “free” impressions that came from actions of the viral and paid traffic. Facebook doesn’t break out this viral traffic, but just know that if your content is engaging (paid or not), you’ll get viral.


promoted posts la gondola


The above ad is from La Gondola, a two-location Italian restaurant in Chicago. Sometimes you get a lot of follow-on viral (because of all the likes). And we know this didn’t come from organic.


promoted posts viral


But sometimes (as above) it just doesn’t generate any viral at all. Perhaps the image wasn’t as interesting or the call to action in the post itself hurt us.


promoted posts paid traffic


Sometimes you just want to pay to get a message out there (as we did above), perhaps through a promotion or a video piece. You know it’s lower engagement, but understand the balance between going for reach, engagement, and conversion. Be careful of folks who tell you only to prioritize content by engagement, else you’ll end up promoting the “Click LIKE if” and more lightweight content.


In the case of La Gondola, which was gracious enough to share its stats, the owner clearly sees the impact of when he’s running promoted posts or not. He asks patrons how they heard about him, and he can easily see the impact on getting the tables filled.


If you are running regular ads and promoted posts together, Facebook will show the impressions from both types of ads together. Don’t make the mistake of thinking these are all promoted posts.


promoted post impressions


Large brands will often have multiple ad accounts being run by multiple teams (don’t get me started on why I think this is hard to do properly). So this can cause confusion in reporting results– who’s responsible for the viral growth here, whose ad is it, and how do we prevent bidding against ourselves?


Fortunately, Facebook does create one campaign per promoted post. Remember that they don’t have ad groups and that spend is set at the campaign level.


promoted posts spend settings


Some folks believe that you should create only one ad per campaign for other reasons – somehow it resets your eCPM, but that’s something to dive into another day. In short, if you don’t have many campaigns or are using Power Editor, go for it. Otherwise, the default naming conventions and simple lifetime budgets are pretty good.


We see promoted posts as a simple ways to drive visibility to your posts. Because they’re embedded in the timeline and easy to use, small businesses will get the most benefit. But if you’re a sophisticated advertiser, use Power Editor to get the same results with more precise targeting. Use Sponsored Stories to specifically activate the type of action you’d like to promote at the price you’d like to pay.


We’ve seen promoted posts be more effective than Reach Generator, too, as you’re not restricted to a certain posting frequency and page size. Plus it’s cheaper.


Promoted posts would be better if we could just show posts to my website visitors (a la FBX), competitors, or those who are likely to convert. Facebook recently allowed more precise targeting, so it’s just a matter of time until conversion optimization is public.


How have promoted posts been working for you?


– Dennis YuBlitzMetrics


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Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is the Chief Technology Officer of BlitzMetrics, a digital marketing company which partners with schools to train young adults. Dennis’s program centers around mentorship, helping students grow their expertise to manage social campaigns for enterprise clients like the Golden State Warriors, Nike, and Rosetta Stone. He’s an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook Marketing and has spoken in 17 countries, spanning 5 continents, including keynotes at L2E, Gultaggen, and Marketo Summit. Dennis has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, CBS Evening News and is co-author of Facebook Nation – a textbook taught in over 700 colleges and universities. He’s a regular contributor for Adweek’s SocialTimes column and has published in Social Media Examiner, Social Media Club, Tweak Your Biz, B2C, Social Fresh, and Heyo. He held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines and studied Finance and Economics at Southern Methodist University as well as London School of Economics. He ran collegiate cross-country at SMU and has competed in over 20 marathons including a 70 mile ultramarathon. Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you. You can contact him at, his blog, or on Facebook.