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Case Study: How We Get $0.01 Engagements on Facebook Posts

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In 2014, brands and businesses on Facebook had a significant challenge: to consistently and cost-effectively reach existing fans and continue driving high levels of audience engagement despite the changes being inflicted by Facebook.

Facebook Fan Pages Algorithm Changes

To make News Feeds less cluttered, Facebook announced they were reducing reach for posts they deemed to be less relevant to users. Most of these were brand posts.

In many cases, reach for brand posts was cut in half. Social@Oglivy reported that as a result of the declined reach, fan engagement dropped from 16% of fans in 2012 to 6% in February 2014 and even as low as 2% for some brand pages upwards of 500,000+ fans. In 2015, the challenges facing brands on Facebook will not get any easier to overcome.

More Algorithm Changes in 2015

In November 2014, Facebook announced another change in their algorithm. Brand posts considered “too promotional” or “salesy” would be penalized even further and measures will be taken to ensure these posts are not cluttering Facebook users’ News Feeds.

Despite these challenges however, most businesses still understand the importance of breaking through these restrictions to continue reaching their existing Facebook audiences, as well as having access to the 1.35 BILLION people using Facebook on a monthly basis. For most small-to-medium sized businesses, there are few advertising/marketing solutions besides Facebook that can offer better opportunities of reaching and engaging targeted potential customers, and doing so cost-effectively.

Excelerate Media and Facebook

Facebook continues to be the most popular advertising/marketing solution for most of our clients. Most of our businesses have been with us for several years, watching our team growing their Facebook presences to tens and even hundreds of thousands of targeted, passionate followers.

Our clients are accustomed to, and expect a high level of performance from our team regardless of what the negative external factors may be. What has kept Excelerate delivering some of the best News Feed performance for our clients for many consecutive years is our approach to maximizing brand content potential through extensive data analysis, testing, and optimization of our Facebook Advertising strategies.

Below is one example of our team using Facebook advertising to achieve great brand awareness and fan engagement ROI for our client, SDR Motorsports.

$0.01 per Post Engagement

SDR Motorsports Inc in Corona, CA, is considered to be one of the best (if not the best) Side-by-Side and ATV/UTV builder, tuner and aftermarket resource. Whether it’s adding small personal touches to your offroad vehicle, or building an $80,000 showstopper from the ground up, SDR is the go-to shop for many off-road enthusiasts.

"Christine" built by SDR Motorsports

“Christine” built by SDR Motorsports (photo: UTVGuide.net)

As many automotive and aftermarket brands have discovered in the last couple of years, Facebook is a very important aspect of SDR Motorsports’ marketing strategy to locate new off-road enthusiasts, drive brand awareness, and eventually sales and brand evangelism.

In just over 15 months of working with Excelerate Media, the SDR Motorsports Facebook page has grown to almost 60,000 targeted fans.

Since October 2013, Excelerate has implemented a strong Facebook strategy for SDR Motorsports to grow the brand's Facebook audience from approx 5,000 fans to almost 60,000 fans in just over 1 year.

– Since October 2013, Excelerate has implemented a weekly Facebook advertising and marketing strategy for SDR Motorsports to grow the brand’s Facebook audience from approx 5,000 fans to almost 60,000 targeted fans in just over a year.

While it’s great to have fans, one of the most important metrics we look at is audience engagement with the brand content being posted on a daily basis. And before the fans can Like, Share or Comment on the posts, the content must be able to reach the fans’ News Feeds. As discussed previously, due to the algorithm changes being implemented by Facebook, reaching the fans has been a major challenge in 2014, and will not get any easier in 2015.

The Facebook Advertising Platform

“Boosting” content via the paid Facebook ads platform is absolutely necessary to reach existing fans and drive engagement.

Every marketer is aware of this fact by now. And to yield cost-effective post “boosting” for SDR (and all of our other clients), we found that it is best to use the Ads Manager to set up an ad with the “Boost your posts” objective. We advise NOT to use the blue “Boost Post” button found at the bottom right corner of the post. Your results may vary however (based on your audience, industry, target markets, etc), and therefore it is very important to test all aspects of a campaign and analyze the metrics data afterwards to see what works best.

Another tactic to test is targeting your “boosted” posts to “fans of your page” only. While it’s tempting to target the larger Facebook audience outside of your immediate fan network, if your goal is to increase engagement on posts, it’s fairly obvious that Facebook users that have been your fans for awhile, are much more likely to Like, Comment on, and Share your content, versus users that are being exposed to your brand and your content for the first time.

In this SDR Motorsports example, we took these “boosting” methods even further. We used Facebook’s custom posts and ad data reports (see screenshot sample below) to analyze past campaigns and identified an SDR post from 4 months ago that resulted in high levels of engagement, but for all intents and purposes has exhausted its usefulness in the News Feed.

Sponsored Posts Data in Facebook Reports

Once we had the post we wanted to use for this test, we implemented the paid “boosting” methods described above to see how much more brand awareness and post engagement we can squeeze out of this piece of content.

Below is the Before and After comparison of the August 2014 post following the 4-day “boost” promo in December 2014:

SDR Before - After

And this screenshot image is taken directly from the Facebook Ads Campaign Report which shows the key performance metrics of the promo:

SDR-Post-Data

Highlights (1 post, 4-day promo):

- 57,976+ additional targeted Facebook users exposed to the SDR brand
- 6,270 additional post engagements (Likes, Shares, Comments, Photo Views, etc)
- 500 new targeted fans added to SDR Facebook page
- 10.44% CTR (Click-Through-Rate on “boosted” post)
- $0.01 per engagement!

If you follow other brands on Facebook with fan numbers even in the MILLIONS, you know that this kind of engagement is pretty impressive for a page pushing 60,000 fans!

Final Thoughts

The main takeaway here is that while Facebook continues to make changes and constrict the organic reach of branded content, with a sound understanding of the Facebook advertising platform and testing creative ways to leverage it to obtain post engagements, new fans to your page, website clicks, app downloads, etc, etc, that cost just a few cents, any brand/business (even those with limited advertising budgets) should be able to overcome any Facebook algorithm change and achieve great returns on their investment with Facebook in 2015.

If YOU are interested in additional help on getting your content into your fans’ News Feeds effectively, for a limited time we are offering free evaluations and consultations by our team of experts. Contact us via our company website (CLICK HERE) or just shoot us a quick email at contact@exceleratemedia.com to get in touch.

About Erin Richards-Kunkel


Erin graduated with a Masters in Journalism from USC in 2011 and quickly transitioned into the social media space, crafting compelling digital strategies and multimedia storytelling for both emerging and established brands. Erin has worked as a social and digital manager with celebrity and entertainment clients, editorial websites and designer fashion brands to create cohesive digital marketing strategies.

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