Facebook Ads vs Boosted Posts: What’s The Difference (And Which Should I Use?)

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Boosted posts and Facebook ads are paid social media advertising strategies with specific uses and opportunities for both short-term and long-term marketing goals. While they function very similarly in the sense that they are both ads that use a paid budget to reach segments of a target market, understanding the difference between the two types of posts is the key to avoiding wasted budget and seeing success with your pay per click strategies. So, what are the differences and how do you know which one you should utilize? Let’s compare. 

What’s a Facebook Ad?

As the name suggests, a Facebook ad is an advertisement displayed on Facebook that includes various targeting and placement options. Facebook ads typically function as long-term campaigns that help reach specific long-term marketing goals, such as creating brand awareness, generating traffic to a webpage, or obtaining new leads. Facebook ads can be created using several popular campaign types such as likes, clicks-to-website, and native lead generation.

What’s a boosted post?

Boosted posts are Facebook posts that are “boosted” with a paid budget. In many ways, boosted posts function like ads, but they are able to reach both organic and paid audiences, and help increase engagement and generate brand awareness. So, when you see that a post is performing well organically, meaning it is resonating with your audience, applying a paid boost can bolster that momentum. It ensures that more of your fans and followers see it, and maybe even people you haven’t even connected with yet. Boosted posts are also great for targeting niche audiences with content that is specific to them, or for campaigns that have a small budget.

What’s the difference?

There are a few key differences between boosted posts and Facebook ads, such as:

  • Boosted posts function to reach short-term marketing goals, while Facebook ads function to reach long-term marketing goals.
  • Boosted posts are run for a short duration of time, typically 24 hours to one week, depending on the budget. Facebook ads are run for a long duration of time, typically in a 30-day ad cycle.
  • Boosted posts usually have a smaller budget than Facebook ads, since they are run for a shorter period of time. The minimum budget for a boosted post is just $1 per day, while a Facebook ad requires a larger budget in order to reach a broader audience.
  • Boosted posts are made from actual posts on a Facebook page. The date listed on the post is when the post was first published. Facebook ads are made in Ads Manager. They are not displayed organically on the Facebook page, and they can only be seen by paid placement or in the Ads & Info tab while they are active.
  • Boosted posts get a mixture of organic and paid reach, while Facebook ads are paid reach only.

Which one should you use?

Instead of trying to immediately choose between the two, think of them as their own separate strategies. If you have a post on your business Facebook page that performs especially well, consider spending some of your marketing budget on boosting the post. Your Facebook ads are their own separate marketing channel: they only appear in specific places on Facebook and therefore should have their own budget and strategy. If you do have a boosted post that performs well, consider trying it out in the form of a paid ad.

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