Facebook – Boosted Posts or Ads?

Best practice for business Facebook use integrates organic and paid strategies. Fortunately, businesses can utilize both boosted posts and ads with a limited budget so it is not surprising that 94% of businesses have invested in Facebook advertising. With the latest changes in the Facebook algorithm, it is more important than ever to post content that viewers will care about and react to.

For best affect, your posts and ads should spark conversations and meaningful interactions. While the old adage supported daily posting, the new motto is quality over quantity. Users have so many messages appearing in their newsfeeds that it is more prudent to post only (non-advertisements) updates when you have timely information to share such as a seasonal special or logistical message.

People go to business Facebook pages looking for deals, discounts, contests, and giveaways. Folks who click on Facebook ads are usually in browse, not buy mode so it is necessary to create an engagement funnel with multiple campaigns to meet them where they are in the buyer’s journey. Both boosted posts and ads allow you to segment audiences then create targeted ads aimed specifically at each segment. Define your target audience and then tell a great story to capture their interest, create a narrative that builds a connection.

Facebook marketing should be authentic and focus on the consumers - messaging, content and images that speak to individuals in need of a solution to a problem. And remember the 80:20 rule – 80% high-value fun, inspirational, educational, and 20% sales. While you can promote content that will benefit your audiences through both boosted posts and ads, there are some differences in options. Which option will be most appropriate depends on your objective and the type of messaging you are pushing out. Here are some of the basics. 

Boosting Facebook Posts

A post must first exist on your Facebook page and then it can be boosted with the simple click of a button. When a post is boosted, it appears higher on a user’s newsfeed. You have the option to boost to people who like your page (fans), fans and their friends, or a specifically targeted audience. Popular opinion, however, is that ads provide more comprehensive options than boosting if you are choosing a targeted audience. Boosted posts display on both mobile and desktop Facebook newsfeeds automatically and you can choose whether or not to include Instagram placement.

Boosting posts is good for brand awareness but best for specific purposes. Boosted posts are optimized for engagement (likes, comments) so if that is not your goal, it is recommended to use ads instead. Boosting is a good option for communicating about a specific event or a new product or service release. It is also an effective choice for sharing user-generated content to help nurture your online community.

Boost posts that are performing well and have already gained traction organically. That way you are spending a bit of money on a post that has already proven itself. Boost posts that have a business purpose or will help you reach a specific goal like increased traffic to your website or a special sales offer. Boosting to fans only can be useful for sales-oriented updates or service announcements. Boost posts that link to your website instead of boosting simple images or videos and be purposeful if you boost content that links to someone else’s website.

Boosting posts is simpler to do than creating ads but it offers less customization than the full ads system. You can target only location, up to ten interests, age, and gender. There are fewer creative and formatting options and less overall flexibility. You can’t make changes to a boosted post if you are not seeing desired engagement so boosting posts should not be your only Facebook marketing strategy.


Your ads and advertising campaigns are created in Ads Manager. These posts are not necessarily available organically on your Facebook page. Messages intended to build your brand should be pushed out through Ads Manager as the components offer better options for business growth.

In addition to the engagement objective of boosted posts, there are other objectives available such as store visits, conversions and lead generation. The campaign types for ads include:

   Pay per engagement (only option for boosted posts) – identifies people most likely to comment, like or share

   Pay per click (traffic to website) – identifies people likely to leave Facebook for external sites

   Pay per conversion – you set the objective: leads, sales, customized conversion

When you create ads you also have more flexibility and choice than with boosting posts. You can choose placements including Facebook newsfeeds on either mobile or desktop (or both), side ads (desktop), Instagram feeds, stories or articles, messenger ads and network ads. You have more target options and can overlap audience types. For example, you can choose a custom audience based on demographics and then add targeted interests.

You have more creative options when creating an ad than when simply boosting a post - you can create slideshow and video ads or incorporate live video to reveal a new product or promotion or showcase an event. Through video ads you can offer more eye-catching, engaging content. Utilize videos that prompt conversation – a product in use or service being rendered. In Ads Manager you can create carousel ads where you display multiple images to create a picture story. Or you plan out a series of image ads that tell a story, that build interest and anticipation from post to post. In Ads, you can include headlines and descriptions and are given a choice of CTA buttons. You can even utilize a CTA button to link users to Facebook Messenger for chat.  53% of users are more likely to shop with a business they can message.

Facebook Ads Manager also provides performance data to include results (clicks), reach, impressions, and cost per result. You can and should monitor the performance of your ads and adjust/optimize in real-time if they are not performing to your expectations. Unlike the unchangeable boosted posts, ads can be re-targeted with new parameters, different placements, optimization, schedules or budgets. This flexibility allows you to test ads to find the best combination for your target audience.

The fact that Facebook controls 62% of online ad growth is reason enough for small businesses to be using social media to raise brand awareness and drive traffic to their websites. However, Facebook ads and boosted posts should be part of a long-term strategy, not a quick, one-time endeavor. A great place to start is to determine how you will measure ROI – engagement, leads, sales, reach, traffic, etc., as this will help guide how you utilize Facebook advertising options. If you are ready to enhance your Facebook advertising and grow your business, contact the experts at Strategy Driven Marketing today to discuss a marketing campaign that will work for you.