Facebook Ads vs Boosted Posts


Christine Lee

Sep 21, 2020


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Social Media

Coming up with a Facebook advertising budget is a massive undertaking for most businesses. When you start marketing your brand on social media, it can be challenging to know what your audience wants and what content will pique their interest to drive engagement. With paid advertising on Facebook, you can target audiences and even tailor your creative design to better appeal to their interests.

Facebook Ads vs. Boosted Posts: What's the Difference?‍

There is a big difference between Facebook Ads vs. Boosted Posts. With Facebook Ads, you can granularly target audiences by different data points, while Boosted Posts are more effective at getting you more reach with followers and their friends. Both Facebook ads and boosted posts can lead to greater visibility and higher engagement on social media. In this article, we will examine the main differences, pros, and cons of each method.

Facebook Ads‍

Mobile Facebook Ad for Little Caesars

Both Facebook ads and boosted posts appear in users’ timeline feeds, but the way they appear is controlled via targeting. Both of these ad types look like regular posts, besides the “Sponsored Content” disclaimer text on the bottom of the post. The beauty is that most users don’t realize this content is advertising, which means they’re more likely to interact and click.

However, Facebook offers more options with their advertising platform than the boosted option. To create a Facebook ad, you’ll need to sign up for Facebook for Business and create an ad account, which will take you to your ad account dashboard.

From here, you have all the control to create a campaign, set up ad groups, choose targeting and placement, select your creative (images, videos, slideshow, etc.), and set your budget.

But wait, there’s more!

Advertising with Facebook for Business‍

Facebook offers a full range of tools for advertisers. It’s incredibly powerful, but it’s also very technical and requires some training beforehand. For example, you can track your conversions from Facebook and attribute them with the conversion tracking pixel. However, you’ll need to install it on your website before starting a campaign.

There’s an entire Facebook Business Help Center with full advertising support. You can find tutorials on setting up a campaign, ad groups, targeting, creative, and much more. There’s also information on creating custom audiences, setting up your conversion pixel, and using analytics to track engagement and set up new campaign goals.

All of which is not possible with boosted posts.

How to Use Facebook Ads for Your Business‍

To use Facebook advertising, you’ll need to set up a Facebook for Business account, which will automatically take you through to your ad account and dashboard.

From here, you can add your business page as an advertising entity and start your first campaign. Before you set up your campaign, you’ll need to have the following:

  1. Campaign goal: Traffic, clicks, conversions, downloads, app installs, etc.
  2. Audience targeting: What location, interests, or demographics do you want to target, or will you set up a custom audience?
  3. Budget: Daily or total budget?
  4. Creatives: You’ll be able to select from a variety of ad types based on video or image creatives.
  5. Placements: Where do you want your ad to appear? Facebook also advertises on Instagram.
Laptop showing Facebook Ads page

There are so many formatting options for your Facebook ad posts that you may spend more time creating the ad, and there are also particular types of ads for lead generation. For example, you can set up a lead form within Facebook that collects leads for you. These can be downloaded or sent directly to your CRM through an API.

Facebook ads also include more dynamic choices for businesses with a product catalog that want to run remarketing or product campaigns on the platform. There is also multiple call to action buttons that you can add to your Facebook ads post. Depending on what you want to do, Facebook has made it possible through their advertising platform.

Facebook Ads - Pros‍

  1. Perfect for any business
  2. Detailed targeting for any audience
  3. Upload custom audiences from your customer lists
  4. Add dynamic ads for products and remarketing
  5. Multiple creative ad formats for images and video
  6. Custom options for lead generations and opt-in forms
  7. Robust analytics and insights
  8. Conversion tracking and attribution

Facebook Ads - Cons

  1. The very high learning curve
  2. Can be expensive
  3. Requires extensive setup
  4. May need a dedicated advertising manager

Should You Use Facebook Ads?‍

Facebook ads are best for advertisers who want to expand their reach into broader audience markets using detailed targeting. This is also a better option for real marketing campaigns with set budgets, big creative formats, and product promotion. You simply don’t get the same breadth of possibilities with boosted posts. However, there are some occasions where it’s optimal to use boosted posts over Facebook ads.

Boosted Posts‍

Megaphone with the Boost Post Button being clicked

Boosted posts are a stripped-down version of the Facebook advertising platform made for those business page managers who just want to expand their reach with a bit of budget quickly. If you want to ensure that your post gets seen by followers and their friends in your timeline feed, you can quickly select any post and hit “Boost” to add some budget.

The options for boosted posts are limited. You won’t have the same targeting options or ad formatting preferences, either. However, one advantage over Facebook ads is that you can get free audience research using this advertising method.

Most brands are prompted to promote posts that are doing well with their audiences and have some engagement data, allowing advertisers to see what content is getting the most engagement. Facebook asks, “do you want to boost your likes for this post?” and advertisers jump on the opportunity to increase their visibility.

That visibility doesn’t extend as far as detailed targeting with Facebook ads, but it will allow you to permeate your followers’ timelines and their friends’ timelines. You can also add custom audiences that you have already created within the Facebook advertising “Audience” tools.

Boosted Posts - Pros‍

  1. Easy to get started
  2. Doesn’t require much budget
  3. More visibility to already engaged audiences
  4. Best for page likes and engagement

Boosted Posts - Cons

  1. No detailed targeting
  2. Smaller audience exposure
  3. Not the best for conversions and product ads
Facebook Ads vs Boost Posts

Should You Use Boosted Posts?‍

If debating whether to use Facebook ads or boosted posts, you should look at your goals. Do you want to increase page likes, comments, shares, and brand awareness? Then boosted posts are the better option.

If you are looking for app installs, conversions, product sales, and higher targeting options, Facebook advertising is the best option.

Facebook Ads vs. Boosted Posts: Get Professional Management‍

From business website design to social media advertising on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and more, we can help you create a successful strategy, design, and manage your ad campaigns.

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