Boosted Posts vs. Paid Ads: Key Differences and When to Use Each
For many businesses, social media is an intimidating landscape. You know that you need to be on several platforms to reach your audience, but you’re not entirely sure if your content is getting enough organic reach to make the time investment worth it.
To add to that, you’ve been collecting followers and page likes for years and your audience is somewhere in the thousands. Why then, do your posts only reach a few hundred people at a time?
Thanks to complex social media algorithms, your posts will only reach a fraction of your actual audience. This means that no matter how good your content is, it will never be seen by everyone who could benefit from it. Sure, every once in a while, a post may be liked, commented on, and shared so many times that Instagram or Facebook deem it worthy to be seen by the masses… but that shouldn’t be your only strategy.
If you need to get it in front of a lot of people to introduce a new product, announce an event, or just spread awareness about who you are and what you do, it’s time to invest in paid advertising.
Within Facebook, you’ll find two types of paid advertising: boosted posts and Facebook ads. Let’s take a look at what each of these is and their pros or cons.
What is a boosted post?
A boosted post is a post that you’ve made on your page’s timeline that you can boost to an audience of your choosing for a fee. It’s a very easy way to get your posts in front of more people who may not know who you are and what you do.
When you boost a post, you’ll be asked a few questions to help optimize the experience. These include:
- Who do you want to reach? This prompts you to choose a targeted audience who may enjoy your content.
- What is your budget? Pick a max budget that you’d like to invest over the life of your campaign.
- How long do you want to run your boost? Facebook will take your max budget and divide it by the number of days, then apply your investment accordingly.
Pros of Boosted Posts
- Boosted posts can be a great way to help your content reach more people.
- They are easy to set up as you work directly from your timeline.
- Compared to other forms of advertising, they can be more affordable
Cons of Boosted Posts
- These still show up as “ads” to your audience so they’ll know that you paid for the reach rather than it happening naturally.
- You have limited customizability when it comes to creating your ideal audience.
What is a Facebook ad?
Unlike boosted posts, Facebook ads are created in the Ads Manager where you’ll have many more customization options to choose from.
Pros of Facebook Ads
- You can choose where your ad is placed. In addition to the Facebook time and Instagram, you can also choose from the Facebook News Feed side ads, Messenger ads, Instagram stories, instant articles, and Audience Network.
- Be goal-oriented by choosing an objective early on in your ad building. This can help you align your marketing strategy with your business goals. You can choose from options like store traffic, conversations, and lead generation.
- Get creative. Facebook ads include carousels, allow for specific descriptions, and provide a call-to-action button to motivate your audience to do something.
- Customer your audience. Facebook ads give you more options to identify and reach your ideal audience. They also have advanced tools that allow you to create “lookalike audiences” and create overlapping audience types.
Cons of Facebook Ads
- Facebook ads can be complicated to create and require more in-depth knowledge of your ideal audience.
- Ads are created from scratch rather than boosting an existing post that’s already doing well.
- Facebook ads can be more expensive than boosted posts.
Boosted Post vs. Paid Ad
Both options can provide additional reach, so how do you know which is best for you? Even with knowing the pros and cons of boosted posts and Facebook ads, the real decision comes down to your goals and what you hope to get for your money.
Before we dive in, it’s important to note that whether you choose a Facebook ad or a boosted post, both will show up on your bill as an ad.
Boosted Posts are good for bringing your business more exposure because it helps your posts reach audiences that may not be familiar with your brand. They are helpful for raising awareness but are not necessarily effective for converting customers or donors.
Consider Boosted Posts If You Want To:
- Grow your following
- Develop brand awareness with a new audience
- Increase audience engagement on your Facebook page
- Improve visibility on your best posts
- Host promotions or giveaways
- Get more website clicks
It’s always best to boost posts that are already doing well with organic reach. This will allow you to maximize your budget while increasing engagement.
For example, let’s say that you’ve got an amazing success story testimonial. A customer used your product and had phenomenal results. You’ve got a relatable character, strong visuals, and a wonderful outcome. You’ve shared this story as a post and notice that it’s getting a lot of engagement from your audience. Hundreds have liked it, commented on it, and several have even shared it.
This presents a wonderful opportunity for you to boost the post and be seen by potential customers who may not know your business existed. You’re not necessarily looking to convert customers right then and there (although you certainly wouldn’t say no!), but rather to introduce your company and what you can do, to a larger audience. In this case, a boosted post may be the perfect way to spend your advertising dollars.
Maybe though, you’re looking to do more with your advertising budget. You want to capture leads, convert customers or donors, and see both a short-term and long-term benefit from your investment. If this sounds more like your advertising goals, you may want to invest in Facebook ads.
Consider Facebook Ads If You Want To:
- Convert website visitors
- Generate leads
- Drive traffic to your store
- Get orders for your store
- Have your videos seen by more individuals
Perhaps you just opened a new brick-and-mortar location or have expanded your business to sell products online. You not only want people to know about your business and what you do, but you want them to take action and shop in your store.
You’ve got a decent social media following, however, you’d like more than just your regular audience to know about your latest expansion. You understand your ideal customer or “avatar” and rather than build an audience from scratch, you’d like to target people who are just like your existing customers and are ready to buy. In this case, a Facebook ad will help you better reach your goals.
Boosted posts and Facebook ads both have their place in robust marketing and advertising plans. The key is to learn when to use each one so you can capitalize on your effort and get the best results for your business.