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Facebook ads vs boosted posts in 2020

If you’ve ever tried to run a Facebook marketing campaign, you know that two types of promotions can be set up: Facebook ads and boosted posts.


Each of these has its purpose and applications. There are different instances in which either one can be a useful tool, so it is essential to understand where the clear differences lie.


It is also important to note that even though the setup and outcome of these are different, they can both be monitored, managed and measured in Facebook’s Ads Manager. They are both classified as ads when it comes to billing and letting your audience know that the post is sponsored.


Facebook Ads vs Boosted Posts

What is a boosted post?


A boosted post on Facebook is a post that sits on your business’ timeline. You can ‘boost’ a post by applying a budget to it, which will increase its reach across your chosen audience.


Boosted posts are the simplest way to advertise on Facebook, but they don’t offer as much customisation as Facebook ads. They can be directly created from your business’ page, and you don’t need to create them in an ad account. When a post is boosted, it will look like an organic post from your page, with the only difference being that it will display a ‘Sponsored’ notice that lets people know that it is, in fact, a sponsored post.


These are the things that can be controlled when you boost a post on your business page:

  • The post that you want to boost - you can choose any post from your timeline or create a new one;

  • Your target audience - determine who you want to target with your ad. This can be created in your Ad Account and used in your boosted posts;

  • How much money you want to spend;

  • How long the boosted post will run for (you can set start and end dates);

  • The objective of your boosted post - you can optimise for website clicks, page likes and overall brand awareness.



What is a Facebook ad?


Facebook ads are created through Facebook’s Ads Manager and offer a tonne of customisation opportunities for your ad campaign. They are slightly more challenging to set up than a simple boosted post, but can really increase the ROI and cater to your business’ individual needs if used correctly. Facebook ads don’t sit on your timeline, but can still be associated with it by using your page name and Instagram account to direct your audience to.


Here’s what you can control when setting up a Facebook ad:

  • The ad creative and copy - upload an asset that you’d like to use in your ad, and you can even design it using Facebook’s creative hub tools;

  • Where your ad will be seen - you can choose automatic placements or specifically choose from Facebook News Feed, Facebook Stories, Messenger ads, Instagram Feed, Instagram Stories, Instant Articles and Audience Network;

  • Ad objectives and tracking - here you can determine that the objective for your ad is and you can keep track of the outcome on your website or mobile app with the help of a Facebook Pixel;

  • Where your ad links to - you can direct people to any landing page, website or app;

  • Your call-to-action;

  • What type of ad you want to create - video, carousel, single image and more;

  • Who you want to target, and whether or not you want to use detailed targeting expansion;

  • How much money you want to spend;

  • How long the boosted post will run for (you can set start and end dates or run the ad indefinitely).


What’s great about Facebook ads is that you can group your ads into campaigns and ad sets, allowing for a detailed overview of your advertising efforts. This will enable you to A/B test every aspect of your campaign so you can use that data to optimise the performance of your future campaigns.



What are they used for?


Boosted posts are a great - and quick - tool to raise brand awareness, get website clicks and page engagement. It is recommended to boost posts regularly to drive page engagement for both Facebook and Instagram, even when you are running ad campaigns simultaneously. If you are using content marketing in your strategy, boosted posts can be a great way to get users into your funnel and talking about your product.


If you are looking to cater to your business’ specific needs and set yourself up for long-term growth, ads are definitely the way to go. Facebook ads allow you to optimise for more objectives than boosted posts, such as app installs, website conversions, video views (you can even segment these), shop orders, conversions and lead generation. A significant added perk is that they will also allow you to really understand who your audience is and what kinds of content they engage with for maximum optimisation.



So which is better - Facebook ads or boosted posts?


The answer is, it depends what your business’ goals are. If you are looking for sales and growth, ads are the answer; but if you are only looking for brand awareness and engagement, or if you are looking for a way to dip your toe in the Facebook ad world, then go for boosted posts.


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