What Is The Difference Between
Facebook Ads and Facebook Posts?
This article, compiled by RapidPage, helps our readers understand the difference between Facebook ads and Facebook posts. As social media marketers, we sometimes interchange these terms; however, they are two entirely different things. We want to demonstrate when to use either and the benefits of either.
Facebook Ads and Facebook Posts:
All businesses should decide on their unique advertising goals before they start advertising on Facebook, as some goals can be reached by boosting a post, and others can be reached by creating a Facebook ad. The following guide explains how boosted posts are similar and different and when you should use each one.
A boosted post is a post to your Page’s timeline that you can apply money to boost to an audience of your choosing. This is the simplest way to advertise on Facebook. Boosted posts differ from Facebook ads because they are not created in Ads Manager and don’t have all of the same customization features.
When you boost a post, it will appear in your audience’s Facebook News Feed as an ad. You can also select Instagram as an ad placement for your boosted post. You can choose a post that’s already present on your Page’s timeline and boost it by following only a few steps. When you boost a post, you’ll tell us three things:
- Who you want to reach: you’ll pick a target audience of the type of people you want to connect with
- Your max budget: you’ll tell us exactly how much you want to spend over the course of your entire campaign
- How long you want to run your ad: once you click Boost and your ad is approved, people in your target audience will see your ad in their News Feed for the duration that you’ve set.
Note: boosted posts are still considered ads because they require a budget to be shared with a wider audience. This is the core similarity that it shares with Facebook ads. When you receive your bill, your boosted post will be identified as an ad.
While boosting a post is still considered an ad, Facebook ads are created through Ads Manager and offer more advanced customization solutions. There are many advertising objectives to help you reach your specific business goals and the audiences you care about most.
Where a boosted post may initially optimize for Page likes, comments, and shares or overall brand awareness, Facebook ads can optimize for App Installs, website conversions, video views, shop orders, and more.
- Choose different ad placements: When you boost a post, you’ll be able to check or uncheck whether or not you want to place your ad on Instagram in addition to Facebook mobile and desktop News Feed. With Facebook ads, you get the added benefit of choosing placements in Facebook News Feed side ads, Messenger ads, Instagram Stories, Instant Articles, and Audience Network.
- Use specific ad objectives: Choosing an ad objective early on will help you focus on which campaign type best aligns with your current business goals. Boosted posts allow you to focus on website clicks, Page engagement, and local business promotions. Still, the Ads Manager’s full ads system lets you choose objectives such as Store Traffic, Conversions, and Lead Generation. You can also create and manage ads through the Ads Manager mobile app.
- Maintain creative control: With Facebook ads created through Ads Manager, you can design an ad that fits your goals. Create carousel ads, add specific descriptions, and add a call-to-action button that will drive more of your audience to take action. These are only a few of the creative and formatting options available in Ads Manager that aren’t available when boosting a post from your Page.
- Use advanced targeting capabilities: Boosting posts lets you decide on interests, age, and gender for your ad targeting. This helps you reach people who most likely care about your business. With Facebook ads, you can use more advanced tools to create overlapping audience types, Lookalike Audiences, and more.
Any business needs to identify exactly what they’re hoping to achieve with an ad. For example, if you want audience engagement on your Page or develop your brand awareness, boosting a post is a great way to maximize visibility and grow your audience. To create more advanced ad types and campaigns, use Ads Manager.
Choosing Ads vs. Posts
Choosing between Facebook ads and boosted posts largely depends on your social media marketing goals.
Each format tends to encourage different outcomes. Facebook ads tend to have a bigger immediate impact and translate directly to campaign goals, like lead captures app installations, and sales. On certain campaigns, Facebook ads’ added functionality might make them a better fit for your campaign. Meanwhile, boosted posts tend to improve your brand’s social media engagement metrics and overall social presence.
For specific campaigns, the decision between an ad and a boosted post will come down to long-term vs. short-term outcomes. A mix of Facebook ads and boosted posts is usually the best way to break up your Facebook social media marketing budget on a wider level. Boosted posts will allow you to build your brand’s reach and fan base, while ads can help you translate your brand’s presence into tangible outcomes. This one-two punch will allow you to build likes and fans, then turn your new followers into actual customers.
Facebook Ads vs. Boosted Posts: Key Differentiators
Overall, advertising on Facebook is insanely cost-effective.
With almost 2.5 billion users on Facebook every month and advertising capabilities that are highly targetable, this is one advertising platform that every advertiser should include in its marketing budget if their audience is present.
But should you invest your marketing dollars into boosting your Facebook posts or into creating Facebook Ads? To decide, let’s start with two main differentiators:
- Boosting allows you to target your audience on a basic level with such identifiers as behavior, interest, demographic, and geography. Facebook Ads give you the capability to target more precisely (more on that later).
- Boosting improves a post’s reach overall, but Facebook Ads improve a post’s reach to a highly targeted audience.
You may want to reach an entire geographic area, specific demographic, type of shopping behavior, or special interest to increase engagement with your Facebook page and build brand awareness. If that’s the case, then boosting posts may be right for you.
However, if you’re looking beyond the basic identifiers listed above, you’ll want to take a closer look at Facebook Ads.
For example, There can be thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of single females, ages 34-52 within a 45-square-mile radius of Phoenix, Arizona, who bought a pair of shoes this year and love dogs. If your target market does not include every single one of these women, Facebook Ads are right for you.
Facebook Ads allow you to build a customized target audience by using the Facebook Pixel, which is a code that is placed on your website to track conversions from ads, optimize ads, build targeted audiences for future ads, and remarket to people who have already taken some action on your website.
Additionally, you can utilize the Facebook Pixel to create Lookalike Audiences—additional folks who are not currently in your network but have similar characteristics and exhibit the same behaviors as your current audience.
Aside from enormously better targeting capabilities, Facebook Ads do many more boosting alone cannot. These include:
Better Placement Options: While a boosted post has limitations on where the ad will show up (e.g., Instagram, mobile and desktop News Feed), Facebook Ads gives you the capability to choose where exactly your ads will show up: Messenger ads, Instagram stories, instant articles, Audience Network, mobile/desktop news feeds, and Facebook news feed side ads.
Lookalike Audiences: If you don’t yet have a large following on Facebook—or if you do but want to keep growing—utilizing Facebook’s Lookalike Audience capabilities is a great way to increase your reach to a custom audience by allowing Facebook to help you find an audience similar to the one that is already engaged with your product or service.
Dayparting: When you boost a post, can you decide what times of day it’s shown? No. Posts are posts, and they’re there for eternity unless you delete them. Facebook Ads give you “Ad Scheduling” capabilities that allow you to turn your ads on and off throughout a specified timeframe on a schedule that suits your marketing needs.
Custom Conversion Tracking: Once you’ve installed the Facebook Pixel, you’ll have the capability to track the activity on your website on an almost microscopic level. What content was viewed? Who completed their registration? What was purchased? Facebook offers more than 40 custom conversion values, which allow you to hyper-customize the target audience for your Facebook Ads. Want to target only folks who read a specific blog or clicked on a particular link? That’s easy-peasy with customer conversion tracking.
Specific Ad Objectives: While boosting allows you to focus on website clicks, page engagement, and local business promotions, Facebook Ads let you choose specific objectives like store traffic, conversions, and lead generation.
Creative Control: Yes, you can be creative with your Facebook boosted posts, but you won’t have the ability to create carousel ads, add specific descriptions, or use call-to-action buttons. These are just some of the dozens of creative options available on the Ads Manager platform.
Advanced Targeting Capabilities: There are some limited targeting options available with boosted posts, such as interests, age, and gender, that you can target your boosted posts toward. However, Facebook Ads allow you to target more precisely; reach a custom audience to meet and maximize awareness; increase reach, traffic, and engagement; and reach conversion objectives. Also, Facebook Ads dive much deeper with their targeting capabilities, giving you the ability to create overlapping audience types, lookalike audiences, and more.
When it comes to boosting your current Facebook posts or creating Facebook Ads, choosing what is right for you will depend on your end goal. Are you looking to increase engagement or develop brand awareness? Then boosting posts may be the right solution for you.
Are you looking to be extremely strategic and precise with your marketing, maximize your campaign objectives, follow the Buyer’s Journey, have the ability to build hyper-targeted audiences, nurture leads, and build a huge Facebook following? Then Facebook Ads are the way to go.