Facebook Ads vs. Boosted Posts

What Are Facebook Boosted Posts?

If you are a Facebook page admin, you won’t miss the blue Boost Post button that appears in every single post on your page. If you don’t see that button anywhere on your timeline, then you’re probably not a page admin. Make sure you are one so you can follow the steps. 

Boosted posts are quite literally published posts on your Facebook page that you boost or promote to your followers or another target audience. Your posts appear on your page timeline so if anyone checks out your page, they’ll be able to see all your posts, both boosted and non-boosted.

Why do I need to boost a post?

If you’re wondering why you need to boost a post to people who already like your page, then read on for the explanation.

A few years ago, posts published on a fan page were immediately seen by people who liked and followed that page. This lead to a lot of free organic traffic and engagement levels were very good (think 80-90% of fans engaging with every post!). However, in recent years, organic reach has been declining steadily. 

In fact, many page owners are reporting that their organic engagement has plummeted to 1-5% per post! This basically means that if you have 10,000 followers, only a few hundred people will see your post. If you have a million followers, a few thousand people will see your post and engage with it. 

This is why page likes are mainly a vanity metric nowadays. It looks good on your page but if only a small percentage of your fans see your posts, then why bother paying for page likes? If you want to increase the chances of your followers seeing your all-important post, then you should consider boosting your post instead.

How To Boost A Facebook Post

First, you’ll need to go to your Facebook page. Then look for the post you want to boost. At the bottom right corner of your post, you’ll see a blue button that says Boost Post. Click on this button (see image below).

Boosted Post

Click the Boost Post button to boost your post

 Unlike the seemingly complicated Facebook Ads Manager interface, the Boost Post interface is relatively simple and straightforward:

When boosting a post, you have fewer options to choose from unlike with Facebook Ads. Here are the options you can change:

  1. Objective – you can choose if you want to get more engagement (reactions, comments, shares), get people to visit your website, or receive messages from your target audience.
  2. Call to action button – you can choose to have no button, or you can use Shop Now, Book Now, Learn More, Sign Up, Send Message, or Send WhatsApp Message. 
  3. Audience – you can choose people through targeting, people who like your page, and people who like your page plus their friends.
    Boosted post options

    The Boost Post options

  4. Budget and Duration – you can choose your daily budget for the duration of your campaign. The minimum budget is $1 a day.
  5. Tracking conversions – you can use the Facebook pixel to track your conversions. You need to have the pixel installed on your website so you can use this feature.
  6. Payment – you can define the currency you’d like to use for your payment here as well as the ad account you’re going to be paying from (you’ll have multiple options if your Facebook page is connected to your Business Manager) 

When you’re ready to boost your post, simply click on the Boost Post button and Facebook will then start promoting your post. 

Now that you know how Boosted Posts and Facebook Ads work, it’s time to compare the two so you can make an educated decision when it’s time for you to do some content promotion on Facebook.

Key Differences Between Boosted Posts and Facebook Ads 

Whether you’re in the Boosted Posts camp or you’re a firm believer of Facebook Ads, both have their advantages and advantages. In this section, we’re going to be looking at key features. 

  1. Campaign Objective 
    • Boosted posts – choose between 3 objectives (engagement, traffic, messages
    • Ads – choose up to 11 campaign objectives (brand awareness, reach, traffic, engagement, app installs, video views, lead generation, messages, conversions, catalog sales, and store visits).
  2. Budget Control 
    • Boosted posts – you can only choose your total budget   
    • Ads – you can choose your daily or lifetime budget 
  3. Ad Scheduling 
    • Boosted posts – when you boost your post, the ad will start right away. You can’t schedule it, but you can set an end date. 
    • Ads  – you can set a start and end date for your ads so if you’re going away on vacation, you can plan your ads in advance and have it run even while you’re away.
  4. Audience Targeting 
    • Boosted posts – you can choose audience targeting, but it’s very limited. For instance, you can’t target people by their language, and you can’t add a connection type. You can target people who liked your page and their network of friends as well.
    • Ads – you can hyper-target with Facebook ads. You can use custom audiences, lookalike audiences, you can target by language, you can add connection types. There’s even an option to let Facebook automatically expand your interests if it thinks people outside of your audience will engage with your ad.
  5. Geographic Targeting – you can target specific locations with both boosted posts and ads.
  6. Age and Gender Targeting – you can target both age and gender of your audience with both boosted posts and ads.
  7. Interest and Behavior Targeting – you can target your audience’s interests and behaviours with both boosted posts and ads.
  8. Language Targeting
    • Boosted posts – you cannot target your audience’s language with boosted posts
    • Ads – yes, you can target languages with ads
  9. Ad Placement 
    • Boosted posts – your post will only appear on both desktop and mobile news feeds. You can’t choose just a desktop or just a mobile.
    • Ads – you have full control over where you want your ads to appear. You can choose to have them appear just on desktop news feeds, or just on mobile news feeds, Instagram, audience network, column, instant articles, and so much more. 
  10. Dark Post 
    • Boosted post – no, you can’t create a dark post with boosted posts. A boosted post has to be published and will appear on your page’s timeline.
    • Ads – yes, you can create a post solely for use in an ad, and you can choose not to have it shown on your page timeline
  11. Ad Delivery 
    • Boosted post – you can’t adjust how you want your ads delivered
    • Ads – you can choose between standard and accelerated delivery. You need to set a bid cap though to use accelerated delivery which is useful for time-sensitive promotions.
  12. Instagram Ads 
    • Boosted post – no, you can’t boost your Facebook post on Instagram
    • Ads – yes, you can choose to show your ads on Instagram by making sure it’s ticked in the Placements section 
  13. Audience Network Ads
    • Boosted post – no, you can’t boost your Facebook post on the Audience Network
    • Ads – yes, you can choose to show your ads in the Audience Network by making sure it’s ticked in the Placements section 
  14. Right Column Ads 
    • Boosted post – no, you can’t show your boosted post in the right column on desktop computers  
    • Ads – yes, you can choose to show your ads in the right column on desktop computers. 
  15. Retargeting 
    • Boosted post – no, you cannot retarget people 
    • Ads – yes, you just need to make sure the Facebook pixel is installed on your website and is working properly 

When To Use Boosted Posts Instead Of Ads

There’s a lot of advantage to using Facebook Ads, but in certain scenarios, Boosted Posts will work just as well, at a much faster rate at that. Here’s when it’s best to use Boosted Posts:

  1. If you have a post that’s already receiving good organic engagement, then you may want to consider boosting it. If the people who saw your post organically are interacting with it, that is, they’re liking, sharing and commenting on it, then chances those who did not see your post in their news feeds will find it interesting too!
  2. If your post is informational, that is, you’re not selling anything on it, then people would be more receptive to your boosted post. If you’re selling something, then it’s best to use Facebook Ads as you have more options over the format of your ads.
  3. If you don’t have much time and you don’t want to learn the complexities of Facebook Ads Manager, then boosting a post is your best option.

With that being said, boosting posts is, quite simply put, for beginners. If you truly want more bang for your buck, then you have really have no choice but to dive in and learn how the Facebook Ads Manager works. 

When To Use Facebook Ads Instead Of Boosted Posts

Generally speaking, Facebook Ads are a much better option that Boosted Posts simply because it offers advertisers full control over their ads. 

  1. Split Testing. The Ads Manager will allow you to split test every single aspect of your campaign. It’s so much more flexible, and in the end, your campaign will be so much more profitable. You can hyper-target your audience and reach even more people who have the same characteristics as your winning audience (you do this by creating a lookalike audience – something you can’t do on boosted posts).
  2.  Custom Audiences. Creating custom audiences is easy and thanks to the audience insight tool you can research the best demographics who might be a fit for your product or service.
  3. Objectives. With Facebook Ads, you have many different kinds of campaign objectives to choose from. With Boosted Posts, you’ve only got a few options. Since you’re spending money, either way, it’s best just to go all the way in and use Facebook Ads. If you think it’s beyond your skills or it’s too technical, you can always hire an agency or a consultant to help you out with your Facebook Ads campaign. 


Boosted Posts works great on its own and is great for beginners who are just starting out with a paid promotion. However, it gives you very little control over your ads and may not be a very cost-effective option for your business. 

If you want complete control over how your ads run and determine the best possible adverts that will convert with your preselected audience, then you need Facebook Ads

Granted, learning how to manage Facebook Ads is not an easy job but it will be worth it in the end especially once you find the right combination of a high-converting advert and target audience. 

While Facebook Ads and Boosted Posts are great promotion vehicles, there are still so many other things to consider. 

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