The Facebook “Boost Post” Ad Scam

I’ve written a number of books for Take Control Books, and we recently ran a sale for a week. I wrote an article on this site about the sale, using my affiliate link to link to some of my books, as well as those of my colleagues. All my articles get automatically posted on Twitter and Facebook.

For a while now, I had seen Facebook’s Boost Post offer: for a small fee, you can get thousands of people to see your posts. Apparently, they just toss these boosted posts into the timelines of people who are interested in certain topics. So I decided to experiment and see if it would have any effect on getting people to see my article about the sale. Because if it did drive traffic to my site, and lead to people buying my books or others, my income might outweigh my expense.

It didn’t.

To start with, you click the Boost Post button, and you choose some demographics. I chose two countries, the US and the UK, and selected keywords: iPhone, Apple, iPad and Mac computers. Facebook then presented me with an estimate. For £4, I could boost this post, getting it in front of 11,000 – 33,000 people.

Facebook estimate

I decided to allocate £14 – about $20 – and my estimate was somewhat higher (I don’t recall exactly how many; I only took the one screenshot above).

I watched as the post’s reach increased. But it didn’t increase much. In fact, here are the results:

Facebook results2

Facebook results

It cost £14 to get the post in 2,908 timelines, with a total of 24 engagements, all but 2 of them being “likes.” Actually, looking now, the stats have been revised: there have been 3,006 paid reach, 26 actions, including a grand total of 2 clicks on the link to view my article.

Facebook results3

So here’s the scam. They tell you you’ll reach a certain number of people, but you only actually reach a fraction of them. But they don’t tell you that you pay “per post engagement.” So I paid for 22 people to like the post. And, in the end, each of the 2 clicks I got cost £7.

If you’re thinking of promoting posts on Facebook, think again. It’s a dishonest system, and I’ll certainly never spend money on something like this.