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Facebook Ads VS. Boosted Posts: What’s the Difference?

Facebook Ads VS. Boosted Posts: What’s the Difference?

By now, you probably know that you should be advertising on Facebook. The social media giant has 2.6 billion active users, making it a digital gold mine of audiences. Add its impressive advertising features and you’ve got a match made in marketing heaven.

When it comes to Facebook advertising, you have two choices: boosted posts or Facebook Ads. They’re both forms of paid advertising, but they have distinct benefits and differences that set them apart. Since you’ll be putting your hard-earned marketing budget towards them both, it’s important to know what they are and which is right for your business.

Below, we’ll explore the differences between boosted posts and Facebook Ads and tell you everything you need to know to choose the best one for your marketing strategy.

What is a Boosted Post?

Boosted posts are a simplified version of paid advertising. When you boost a post, you’re paying Facebook to promote it to the audience of your choice. By putting some of your marketing dollars behind the post, you’re asking Facebook to ‘boost’ it to a high spot on specific users’ news feeds.

Boosted posts are great because they’re so easy to use. Simply click the ‘boost post’ button, enter your desired target audience, maximum budget, and boost duration, and voila! You now have a sponsored post being effectively distributed to potential buyers and followers.

Any post you make can be boosted, saving you the time of creating new advertisement content. Facebook will even track your post success and recommend which ones would do well as a boosted post (here’s the reason for those ‘boost this post’ notifications you’ve been getting).

Because boosted posts still require a budget to reach a wider audience, Facebook notes that they’re technically considered ads. Facebook Ads are not considered boosted posts and bring several unique features to the game that set them apart from their smaller subtype.

What is a Facebook Ad?

Think of a Facebook Ad as the older sibling to boosted posts. They share many of the same features, but Facebook Ads are bigger, wiser and more polished than their younger counterpart.

Facebook Ads are also paid advertisements, but they give you more control over your advertising strategy than boosted posts. Facebook Ad Manager, the robust interface where Facebook Ads are made, offers a wide variety of tools that allow you to customize, target and optimize ad campaigns (more on that below).

It’s essentially the pro-level of Facebook advertising.

Creating Facebook Ads is more complex than using boosted posts, but they often have a greater ROI and are favored by marketing experts across the industry.

Key differences between Facebook Ads and Boosted Posts

If the two sound similar, that’s because they are. Boosted posts and Facebook Ads are both forms of paid advertising where users pay Facebook to promote their business. The key differences lie in the greater degree of control and advanced features offered by Facebook Ads.

Here’s where Boosted Posts and Facebook Ads differ:

Ad Targeting. Facebook Ads allow you to reach a much larger and more targeted audience segment than boosted posts. When boosting a post, you have limited target options that create a broad audience segment – things like location, demographics, age, and gender. When using Facebook Ads, you have advanced targeting capabilities that allow you to create custom audiences based on ad conversions and audience behavior. You can also use Facebook Pixels to create overlapping audiences, lookalike audiences and more. What’s the best part of Facebook ads targeting? You can set up retargeting that focuses on specific audiences that have visited your website, liked your Facebook page and much more.

Ad Objectives. The ultimate goal of boosted posts and Facebook Ads are quite different. Boosted posts are focused on page likes, website clicks, and local business promotions. Facebook Ads have a wider variety of objectives to choose from, including store traffic, conversions, and lead generation.

Ad Creation. Boosted posts look just like regular Facebook posts other than a small “Sponsored” tag on the corner. In contrast, the Facebook Ad Manager gives you total creative control over your advertisement. You can choose from 11 format options to create video ads, slideshows, product carousels and more. You can also insert call-to-action buttons, include specific descriptions and choose from a variety of other creative tools to create the perfect advertisement for your brand.

Ad Placement. When you boost a Facebook post, you can choose to place it on Facebook News Feeds and/or Instagram. With Facebook Ads, you can also choose to place your advertisement on News Feed side ads, Messenger Ads, Instagram Stories, instant articles, and Audience Network.

Ad Scheduling. Facebook Ads give you greater control over the scheduling of your advertisement. You can turn your ads off and on automatically throughout the week on a recurring schedule, a concept known as ‘dayparting’.

Are Facebook Ads or Boosted Posts Better for Your Business?

Like any good marketing strategy, choosing between Facebook Ads and Boosted Posts should begin with the end in mind. Ask yourself: What are your marketing objectives? Which form of advertising will best help you reach those goals?

If you want to boost brand awareness and increase your social media engagement, boosted posts may be right for you. They’re a good choice for businesses without a large social media following and those who may be intimidated by the complex choices in Facebook Ads.

If you want more tangible returns on your marketing efforts such as increased sales and lead generations, Facebook Ads deserve a closer look. They’re highly customizable, allow you to create custom target audiences and give you greater creative control over your ad strategy. If you’re worried about the learning curve, you can always turn to marketing professionals like BIS Designs to help you develop and execute a great social media marketing strategy!

Ultimately, your choice will depend on your marketing goals, experience and budget. Of course, a strong Facebook marketing strategy should employ a healthy mix of boosted posts and Facebook Ads!

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