What is the Difference Between Facebook Ads and Boosted Posts on Facebook?

What is the Difference Between Facebook Ads and Boosted Posts on Facebook?

Simply posting to your Facebook page and hoping that many thousands of people see your content was the way of social media 5 years ago.  However, organic reach in social media is just not a viable option any longer.  If you don’t at least boost your post, it is unlikely that even 10% (probably much less) of your audience will see your content.

Small businesses, especially those that have a local presence, (meaning not an online store only), can reap huge benefits from Internet marketing on social media, as opposed to Google Ad words.  They can reach a much more targeted audience, within very close proximity to their location, while only spending a fraction of the cost of larger Search engine ads.  The two most popular and useful platforms for social media advertising currently are Facebook and Instagram.

It should be noted that Facebook owns Instagram and as such, when advertising with one of these platforms, your marketing can be seen on both platforms with one campaign, giving you a whole lot of bang for your buck.  To keep this article on-point, we will address adverting started through the Facebook platform, where there are two primary ways to go about this.  You can boost a page post, or you can set up a Facebook ad through your Ad Manager.

Boosted Posts:

A boosted post is the simplest form of advertising you can do on Facebook.  It is essentially a post you have created on your business or fan page that you want to share with more people than just those that have liked and followed your page by paying a small fee to promote this post just as it was seen on your page, with the exception of adding a button such as “Learn More” or “contact us”  Without adding a budget to promote your post, it is likely only going to be seen by 3 – 5% of people who like or follow your page, which is of course a limited segment of your current audience.  There are of course things you can do to increase the chances of getting likes, but some type of promotion will make a very big difference. Boosted posts are used to achieve audience engagement such as clicks to your website or get people to like or share your content. 

Facebook Ads:

A Facebook Ad allows you to incorporate much more targeted demographics and utilize more graphic and video options than a simple boosted post.  Facebook News Feed ads allow a business to market a targeted campaign to meet a specific goal where you can choose what type of user sees it including desktop vs. mobile user, Instagram or tablet users.  This is not an option with boosted posts.  You also can select more specific conversion goals in addition to audience engagement you can also target people who are more likely to fill out a form, purchase a product online, install your app, RSVP to an event and other similar more complex goals.  You also can use a Facebook ad to incorporate your Facebook pixel to create custom audiences for your ads including look alike audiences and retargeting those who have already been to your website and did not purchase an item.  Another benefit of using a News Feed Ad is that you can enhance the look of the post by adding headlines, link description, and the display URL.  Finally, you can do a split test with 2 ads running simultaneously with different target audiences, or the same audience but change one thing in your creative, say the headline, or the image to find the perfect ad for your business.

Which is better:

If you have no real knowledge of how to use Facebook Ad Manager, then a boosted post is much simpler and easier to set up, especially, if all you are trying to do is target people in your geographic area.  If, however, you want to use advanced targeting, or advanced marketing functionality such as adding in Headlines, News Feed Link Description, Display URL, split A/B testing then News Feed ads are the way to go.