facebook ads vs boosted posts

Facebook Ads vs Boosted Posts

By Sonny Teeling

Every business should consider running Facebook/Instagram Ads as part of their digital marketing strategy. The wide range of targeting options and tracking abilities allow you to easily reach your target audience and access granular data on your campaign performance.

However, people often get confused about simply boosting a post and putting together a strategic Facebook Ads campaign. So we have put together this guide to show you what each of them are and when to use them.


What is a Boosted Post?

boosted post

Boosting a post is the process of applying money to a post on your timeline to reach a larger audience outside of your following. This is the simplest way of running an ad as it can be done on the post and doesn’t require a Facebook Ads account. However, this means that you won’t have all the customisation tools.


When you boost a post, it will appear in your audience’s Facebook News Feed as an ad. You will also have the option to target your audience on Instagram if you have it linked to your Facebook page. All you need to do is select the boost button on your post and provide Facebook with:


  1. Who you want to reach: you’ll pick a target audience that you want to see your post.
  2. Your max budget: you’ll tell Facebook exactly how much you want to spend over your entire campaign
  3. How long you want to run your ad: once you click Boost and your ad is approved, people in your audience will see your ad in their News Feed for the duration that you’ve set.


What is a Facebook Ad?

Facebook ads

Even though Boosted posts are still considered Ads, Facebook ads are created through Ads Manager and offer you a range of customisation tools and features that arent available through boosting. Facebook Ads allow you to optimise for more than just Page likes, comments and shares or overall brand awareness. They also allow you to optmise for App Installs, website conversions, video views, shop orders and more.


What else can I do with Facebook Ads that I can’t do with Boosted Posts?


Choose different ad placements

ad placements

When boosting a post you don’t get the option of where on Facebook or Instagram your ads will show. This can limit effectiveness and ROI as your ads may be better suited for certain placements (e.g. Instagram stories). Facebook Ads allow you to choose from Facebook News Feed side ads, Messenger ads, Instagram Stories, Instant Articles, Audience Network and many more so that you can display your ads in the placements that are showing the best return.


Use specific ad objectives

ad objective

Choosing a specific ad objective allows you to focus on the main outcome you want from each campaign to help you achieve your business goals. Boosted posts allow you to select from website clicks, Page engagement and local business promotions, but the full ads system in Ads Manager lets you choose objectives such as Store Traffic, Conversions, App Installs and Lead Generation. This allows Facebook to better understand what you want from your campaigns so that they can show the ads to the people who are most likely to complete the desired action.


Use advanced targeting capabilities

ad targeting

Boosted posts allow you to target people based on their interests, age and gender. This can limit the effectiveness of your campaign as you are looking to reach a large audience who aren’t interested in your product or service. With Facebook Ads, you have access to advanced tools that allow you to create lookalike audiences, overlapping audiences, audiences based on previous actions taken on your website and many more. These tools allow you to narrow down your audience to people that are most likely to be interested in your product or service and therefore complete the desired action of your campaign.


Access in Depth Analytics


Boosted posts will show you data on a limited amount of metrics including basic stats like reach, engagement, likes, shares and clicks. With Facebook Ads you can access data for hundreds of metrics such as app installs, website purchases, Return on Ad spend and many more. This allows you to better understand how well your campaigns are performing so that you can decide which campaigns to assign the most budget to, in order to achieve maximum ROI.


Maintain creative control

ad creative

When designing an ad in Ads manager you have the ability to make it look exactly how you please. You can choose from different ad formats (e.g. carousel, single image, video etc.) and are also able to run different headlines, body copy variants and descriptions to see which one works best. Whereas when boosting a post you aren’t able to differentiate how your posts look organically and how they look as a paid ad due to restrictions to your imagery, copy and ad format.


When to use Facebook Ads vs Boosted Posts

When deciding on whether to boost a post or to create a Facebook Ad you need to consider what you are trying to achieve. If you are looking to just increase brand awareness or to increase your posts overall reach and engagement then boosting is a great option that will save you time. However, if you are looking to get serious results, whether that be leads, website purchases, app installs, or store traffic then Facebook Ads are your best choice.


Need help creating social media campaigns that demonstrate a strong return on investment? Get in touch today for your free consultation!