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Facebook Boosted Posts vs. Ad Campaigns: A Case Study

The most important lesson I’ve learned in digital marketing is that sometimes it’s a matter of testing. No matter how much data you have, some things work for some businesses and not for others. This is frustrating, as sometimes the results aren’t what you expected and you have to change strategies. But sometimes, you test new methods and discover new ways to do things.

Facebook Boosted Posts vs. Ad Campaigns: A Case Study

One such example is boosting a Facebook post versus running an ad campaign. One of our clients preferred to boost posts that they believed would perform well. We decided to test how an ad campaign would compare.

What is a boosted post?

When you create a post on Facebook, you have the option to “boost” it. This means that you can pay money to show the post to an audience of your choosing. Basically, it's a simplified way to create a Facebook ad.

A boosted post looks like an ad in the Facebook or Instagram feed. When you boost the post, you’ll define who you want to reach, your max budget, and how long you want to boost the post for. You can also set these parameters when setting up an ad.

As you can see in the boosted posts below, they reached a combined 3,473 users and spent $90.00. But, the only other metrics we can track are link clicks, photo clicks, page likes, comments, and shares.



What’s the difference between a boosted post and an ad?

While a boosted post is essentially an ad, ads created in Ads Manager and have more targeting and customization options. Ads Manager has many advertising objectives to help you reach your specific audience.

While a boosted post can only optimize for likes, comments, and shares; an ad can optimize for app installs, website conversions, video views, ecommerce orders, and more.

Ad placements

When you boost a post, you can only choose whether you want to place the ad on Instagram in addition to Facebook. In ads, you can choose placements in News Feed side ads, Messenger ads, Instagram stories, and Audience Network.

Ad objectives

Both boosted posts and ads allow you to choose an objective, which will help you determine which campaign type aligns with your goals. Boosted posts only allow you to choose between website clicks, Page engagement and local business promotions. The full ads system lets you choose objectives like store traffic, conversions, and lead generation.

Targeting capabilities

Boosted posts let you target interests, age and gender. This helps you reach people who most likely care about your business. Ads Manager has advanced tools to create overlapping audiences, lookalike audiences and more.


How did the Ad Campaign compare?

Since we ran an ad instead of boosting the post, we were able to add a call-to-action (CTA) & track conversions. This campaign resulted in 72 website visits, 4,144 impressions and reached 3,609 people in 8 days, for a total cost of $40.


As you can see, the ad reached a much larger audience than the boosted posts for half of the cost. But, we can’t track conversions from the boosted post, so we don't know whether the ad resulted in more site visits. For this client, website visits are more valuable as they are more likely to lead to a form submission.


When to use Facebook ads vs boosted posts

It's important for any business to identify exactly what they're hoping to achieve with an ad. If you want to develop brand awareness, boosting a post will maximize visibility. To create more advanced ad types and campaigns, use Ads Manager.

Need help advertising on Facebook?

Contact Hoist

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