One of the biggest points of confusion our clients face is understanding the difference between Facebook Boosted Posts vs. Facebook Paid Ads. Let’s see if we can bring some clarity to the topic.

Boosted Posts are not the same thing as Paid Ads.

It’s confusing because they are both paid forms of advertising. You have to spend money to do either one of them (and when you receive your bill, your boosted post will be identified as an ad). Additionally, they can both show up on your page’s timeline (although Paid Ads often do not show up on your page’s timeline). People see them both as “sponsored” posts in the newsfeed. But they each use different methodologies both in the way they’re created and the result you can achieve.

A boosted post is a post to your Page’s timeline that you can apply money to in order to boost it to an audience of your choosing. This is the simplest way to advertise on Facebook. Boosted posts differ from Facebook ads because they are not created in Ads Manager and don’t have all of the same customization features.

You can create a Boosted Post as simply as clicking the blue “Boost Post” button that appears on your posts in your timeline.

Facebook Paid Ads are created through the Ads Manager interface and offer more advanced customization solutions. There are many advertising objectives to help you reach your specific business goals and the audiences you care about most.

With both Boosted Posts and Paid Ads you can pick the audience you want to reach, the amount of budget you are willing to spend, and the dates you want them to run.

That is where the similarities end.

The biggest and most important difference is the end goal or objective. It’s believed (although not confirmed by Facebook) that the two different advertising methods run on two completely different algorithms.

The algorithmic goal of Boosted Posts is to increase engagement (we call it the “engagement algorithm”). In other words, the entire point is to get you more likes, shares, and/or comments. These metrics, often referred to as “vanity metrics,” make you feel good about your engagement but often have limited helpful business results. Likes, shares, and comments can help you with brand awareness, but the people Facebook is utilizing for the engagement algorithm are typically not action-takers.

Imagine someone who scrolls Facebook while in a meeting and likes every post they come across that has a nice graphic. That’s who Facebook is going to show your Boosted Post to.

The algorithmic goal of Paid Ads, however, is to get people to take action on the objective you choose. There are a multitude of potential actionable objectives including:

  • Click to Website (User clicks on the link in the ad)
  • Landing Page View (User waits while the entire landing page loads)
  • App Install (User installs an app from an app store)
  • Video View (User watches a certain percentage of a video)
  • Lead Generation (User exchanges email address for something)
  • Messages (User sends a message in Facebook Messenger)
  • Conversions (User does the desired action on the landing page)
  • Catalog Sales (User makes a purchase in an online store)
  • Store Traffic (User looks at pages in an online store)

None of those are available objectives in Boosted Posts. What’s more important, however, is the type of person that Facebook identifies as likely to do one of the objectives above. Even if someone sees your ad and doesn’t do the specific objective, they’re more likely to be a person of action.

In other words, with Boosted Posts, Facebook is showing your ad to people who are likely to do the action of liking, sharing, or commenting on the platform. When you use a Paid Ad, you are engaging with people who are action-takers. People who are likely to give you an email address. People who are likely to click through to your website and contact you. People who are likely to pick up the phone and call you.

With Paid Ads, you’re also getting people who are more likely to be decision-makers.

It’s important to note that there are beneficial uses for both types of advertising on Facebook. Successful advertisers will leverage both together in a symbiotic relationship to accomplish the goal of getting more customers.

However, when our clients believe they can take on the ad work for themselves because it’s easy to simply boost a post, they do themselves a disservice. Placing Ads is a nuanced combination of science and art, and a skilled provider can help you avoid wasting time and money on objectives that might not be the intended outcome.

If you’d like help with your ad strategy or with deciding which is right for you, we’d love to have that discussion. Contact us to get started…