Facebook offers two styles of advertisement, the Boosted Post and the Facebook Ad. Each ad type offers different advantages and opportunities for reaching different audiences. Before I go over why a given ad type would be used, I’ll first go over the different “look-and-feel” of the Boosted Post versus the Facebook Ad.

What is a Boosted Post?

The Boosted Post is the most basic form of advertising on Facebook and looks like the following:

A boosted post, courtesy of www.newcontentcollective.com

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Boosted posts are, at their core, posts that already exist on your business or community page. When this post is “boosted,” more Facebook members will see your post appear in their news feed. Those Facebook members could already be part of your audience, having already liked your page, or they could be unrelated to your audience but related to your post due to identical interests, hobbies, activities, etc.

You select who sees your boosted post when you actually boost it. During this time, you pick from two different audiences for your post:

  1. Those who like your page and their friends
  2. A custom targeted audience

Using boosted posts is essential when you consider that Facebook typically delivers your posts to only 1% of your usual audience. Thus, if you wanted to announce an event like a fundraiser or a monthly meeting, only a few members of your typical audience would receive that notice.

With boosted posts, you can target a greater portion of your typical or custom audience. That targeting happens when you select the gender, age, geographic region and interest(s) of your audience during the boosted post creation process.

Another big advantage of boosted posts is that, while a good many members of your audience might see the post (known as an impression), you’ll only be charged when someone interacts with your post via likes, shares or comments.

Boosted posts are easy to set up and manage. You simply select the post you want to boost, pick your audience (current or targeted), target your audience geographically (if using a targeted audience), select your budget amount and ad duration, and launch your post.

After your boosted post has been running for a day, you’ll automatically receive updates about its level of impressions and engagement. You can stop the boosting at any time, then restart it later.

Why would you want to use boosted posts? Aside from their simplicity and ease-of-use, boosted posts are good for notifying members who are already part of your audience that you have an event or promo going on. Thus, if you want awareness, you’ll get it with this feature. You also get lots of coverage (i.e., post reach) without having to pay anything until someone either clicks on or engages with your post.

What is a Facebook Ad?

Facebook Ads are the original advertisement platform of Facebook and permit a business or community to create a very in-depth and customized ad that accounts for many more audience demographics, behaviors and analytics than boosted posts.

With Facebook Ads, you can create various ad goals such as likes, website/sales page clicks, downloads, offer claims, etc. You also can add an optional call-to-action (CTA) button containing a caption such as “Shop Now,” “Learn More” or “Contact Us.”

You can create ads for pages, products or even posts, and this is done in the Ads Manager area of Facebook. Regarding posts, these posts are often termed “promoted posts” or “sponsored posts” instead of boosted posts. While the format is hardly distinguishable to viewers, promoted or sponsored posts differ from boosted posts in that they offer more audience targeting choices and analytics information.

Facebook Ads are ideal to use when your current audience is small or even non-existent and you’re attempting to grow it by targeting people with similar interests or who live in the same region. Likewise, if you want to drive your audience to take a particular action such as downloading a form, going to a sales page or signing up for a contest, you can’t beat the CTA option of Facebook Ads.

There is also an expanded analytics area in Facebook Ads that gives you detailed information about your audience’s demographics, including gender, age, behavior and type of engagement.

Another major benefit with Facebook Ads is that you can create ads in your ad console and not have them display on Facebook. Such “dark posts” are useful for audience segmentation prior to publication because they allow you to perform various forms of A/B testing. You can also schedule your posts up the minute before they go live, and you can choose when your account is charged.

The disadvantage with running Facebook Ads is that they are more time-consuming to set up. Also, if a link is promoted, it must lead to a page or form outside of Facebook- which poses an issue for groups or clubs that are listed solely on Facebook.

When choosing boosted vs ads, consider your goal.

In the long run, you should always consider what the main goal of your Facebook advertisement is before you boost your post or run a Facebook Ad. If the goal is simple awareness and no action, a boosted post is your best and (usually) most affordable bet. If your goal is engagement and/or detailed feedback about your audience, you’re better off using Facebook Ads.

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