Facebook Marketing 101: The Difference Between Boosted Posts and Facebook Ads

There’s a reason everyone looks at the social media landscape and declares that you have to pay to play. All these algorithm updates have made it harder than ever for businesses to get their content in front of consumers.

Business owners and marketing professionals responded by putting dollars behind their content in an effort to reach more potential customers. And now, we’re hearing that social media ad spending could reach $76 billion by 2020.

Facebook continues to be the leading platform for social media spend. There you have two choices – boosting a post or creating an ad.

What is a boosted post?

You’ve probably noticed that little blue button in the corner of your Facebook post. Boost Post, it says. But what are boosted posts and what are they good for?

Boosted posts are the most basic form of advertising you can do on Facebook. It takes a piece of content that originally appeared organically on your page, and puts a little money behind it to increase its reach. Simple, right?

One of the reasons boosting is such a popular option is that it doesn’t require any extra work. You’ve already created the content! Now you literally just have to click that button and tell Facebook three things:

  1. Who you want to reach
  2. What your max budget is
  3. How long you want your ad to run

Yes, we said ad. Even though it started as an organic post, once you put those dollars behind it, your post becomes an ad in Facebook’s mind. And that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

How are Facebook ads different?

First of all, Facebook ads bring us into a whole new world –– Ads Manager. Think of it as your command center. It’s where you’ll create new ads, review and optimize ongoing campaigns, and monitor results.

But what’s really exciting about using the Ads Manager and creating true Facebook ads is that you get so much more control. The customization options available to Facebook ads far surpass that of boosted posts. For instance, with Facebook ads you can:

  • Specify ad placement. Boosted posts are limited to appearing in both mobile and desktop Facebook news feed as well as on Instagram. Facebook ads, however, you can choose additional placements in the side column of the newsfeed, Facebook Messenger, Instagram stories and more.
  • Expand your objectives. Sometimes you have bigger goals than just website clicks or engagement. That’s where creating Facebook ads makes a big difference because you can choose objectives like app downloads, lead generation and more.
  • Maintain creative control. Regular old Facebook posts can only do so much, even when you boost them. In the ads manager, you can really design an ad that fits your needs/goals. We’re talking innovative ad formats, CTA buttons, descriptions, the works.
  • Use advanced targeting. Getting your content in front of more people is great, but they have to be the right people if you really want to move the needle for your business. Facebook ads not only give you more demographics to choose from, but the ability to create overlapping and lookalike audiences, too.

So which is better? Boosted posts or Facebook ads?

Most marketing professionals are going to tell you that hands down, Facebook ads are the way to go. It’s hard to pass up all those customizations!

At the end of the day, the best option depends on your overall goals. If all you’re looking for is to get a little more engagement with your brand, boosted posts are perfectly fine. You don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles to achieve that. But if you’re trying to sell a product/service or increase conversions on your website, you really should be creating an ad.

Ready to start working on your next Facebook ad campaign? We can help with that. The team at Higgins Marketing Group will work with you to develop an effective ad strategy, find the right audience and create engaging ads that deliver results. Contact us today to learn more and get started.