Facebook Ads vs Boosted Posts

Everyone is used to seeing different types of content on Facebook — posts in the News Feed, and ads in the News Feed and sidebar. And if you’ve spent a little bit of time on your business’ Facebook Page, you’ve probably seen the option to “boost” one of your posts.

But how is this any different from creating a Facebook ad? Don’t mistake a boosted post for an actual ad (or a professionally built and managed social marketing campaign). Here’s what to know.

What are Facebook ads?

Businesses can create and purchase Facebook ads in order to target particular demographics that they think will likely be interested in their company — and hopefully become a client or customer. Ads can encourage potential clients to visit your website… contact you for more information… or even purchase or sign up for something you suggest directly in the ad. 

You can create these ads through Facebook’s interface and track how they’re doing through their automatically generated reports. Ads are great because you have the potential to reach a wider audience than just those who “follow” your company’s Facebook Page.

What are boosted posts?

A boosted post on Facebook is another form of advertising, but it works by promoting a normal, existing post on your company’s Page instead of a uniquely created ad. Facebook boosted posts amplify the reach of your existing post to a greater audience than those who follow your company’s Page, and the small percentage of those followers who actually see all your posts.

[Related: Your Social Media Marketing Checklists]

What are the key differences between ads and boosted posts?

1. Boosted posts don’t drive business results like ads

Boosted posts can help generate awareness…but they aren’t a lead generation tool like an actual Facebook ad. Even the “Call to Action” button on an ad vs. a boosted post is telling:

  • Ad buttons drive actions like “Contact Us” or “Sign Up” (as you can see below)
  • Boosted posts only give people the option to Like, Comment or Share (just like with a normal post)

2. Boosted posts don’t stand out like ads

Boosted posts may be seen by more people than your average non-boosted post, but they won’t necessarily stand out to your customers like an actual Facebook ad.

  • Boosted posts only appear in the News Feed, just like a regular post from a friend or brand you follow. Facebook ads can appear in the sidebar and other mobile-only positions, giving them a greater chance of being seen and engaged with
  • Boosted posts only appear once, just like a regular post — not again and again like an ad

3. Boosted posts come with restrictions

Boosted posts also need to follow Facebook’s advertising guidelines. Even simple mistakes such as too much text in your post can prevent you from giving it a boost!

Although boosted posts can give you a bit of a wider reach and might fit within your budget, dedicated Facebook ads are more effective at reaching new clients and driving business results.

Working with a trusted Facebook Marketing Partner for Small Business Solutions like Hibu means no learning curve… no time spent troubleshooting Facebook instead of running your business… and best of all, better business results from a fully managed social marketing campaign that includes ads and posts.

Want to be even more savvy about social? Check out Facebook Ads and Facebook Posts: Two Ways to Reach Your Customers.

Ian Messinger

Ian Messinger

A longtime lover of a little alliteration, Ian is Hibu's Senior Copywriter for Marketing and Communications. Since joining in 2007, he's worked closely with the product development and creative services teams to get first-hand knowledge of how Hibu's marketing products help small business succeed online - knowledge he's happy to share with you here!

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