This is one question that comes up time and time again when I speak to businesses. While I have to say the best kind of Boost is a chocolate bar (hands-down, it’s my favourite – it’s got it all, right?) that doesn’t mean that a boosted post on Facebook doesn’t have benefits.
If you’re confused about what the differences are between Facebook ads and boosted posts, here’s a simple explanation…
Created using Ads Manager, Facebook ads can be set up with really detailed customisation.
You can select your goal (to receive messages, to drive traffic to your website, to get engagement on the ad, to convert your audience and lead them to making a purchase, etc) and Facebook will show your ad to people who are most likely to take that desired action.
You can be really specific about who sees your ad, defining the audience by not just age, location and gender but by much deeper demographics such as which other pages they follow and what specific interests they have, as well as retargeting your website visitors when they log onto Facebook, or creating lookalike audiences to reach people similar to your existing web visitors or page followers.
You can also select multiple places for your ad to be shown, such as within Marketplace or Messenger, within video feeds, among Stories, and even on third party websites and apps – and you can create different variations of your advert so that it suits each placement. And if you set it up correctly, you can measure how effective the adverts were at achieving your goals.
You also get lots of choices about the advert format, such as showing multiple photos in a scrolling carousel ad or slideshow, which isn’t an option for regular page posts anymore, and you can include call-to-action buttons like ‘send message’ or ‘buy now’.
In short, Facebook Ads are a much more in-depth option. Naturally, this means they take more time to set up and require familiarity with the Ads Manager system.
Boosted posts don’t require any set-up – you choose an existing post on your company page and simply click the ‘boost’ button you’ll see underneath it, if you’re an admin of that page. You’re simply putting some budget (which can be very small) behind one of your company posts to promote it further.
You can still select the audience you want to see it, but the options are more basic compared to Facebook Ads, mostly offering options such as location, gender, age, behaviour and limited interests.
The boosted post will be seen in the newsfeeds of your paid-for audience and it’s exactly the same as the post that’s on your company page, including any comments or reactions it already had before you boosted it.
So, which one should you choose?
Well, that all depends on your goals. It’s pretty obvious from the differences highlighted above that Facebook Ads are a great choice for highly targeted, results-driven goals. But, if your focus is on increasing engagement with your page or growing followers, a boosted post can be a good choice.
If a post on your company page is doing better than usual – getting lots of positive attention and starting conversations – it’s a great sign that more people would be likely to interact with it and get a great impression of your company, so boosting this type of post can be a safe bet that it will perform well.
Boosted posts, if you select the right ones, tend to improve your overall social media presence – they can be good for increasing your brand awareness and getting more followers, whilst sending your page’s engagement score sky-high.
If you’re looking for deeper insights, better placement options, conversion tracking, advanced targeting options or a more immediate financial return, then Facebook Ads is the better choice.
It’s important to remember, your social media strategy doesn’t have to just have one goal – to get long-term AND short-term outcomes, a mix of Facebook Ads and boosted posts should be considered.