One question that seems to perplex even experienced Facebook marketers is the difference between boosting a post and creating an ad. Hopefully, we can provide some clarity. The main difference is that creating an ad gives you more options but is more complex, while boosting a post is simpler but with less flexibility. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Boosting A Post
When boosting a post there are some things you can and cannot do. First, you can only boost posts from business pages. Facebook removed the ability to boost posts from personal pages several years ago.
When you boost a post you can add a call-to-action (CTA) button, but the CTAs are limited to “Shop Now,” “Book Now,” “Learn More,” “Sign Up,” and “Send Message.” Creating an ad gives you access to additional CTAs.
You can use audience targeting when boosting a post, but you can’t run the post to different audiences simultaneously. You are limited to a single audience at any one time. You can also use your pixel to track conversions when boosting a post.
Of course, when creating a post, you are limited to 5 different kinds of posts: a link post, a carousel post, a photo post, a video post, or a status post. Boosting a post can also be done directly from your Facebook business page. You don’t need Ads Manager, and you don’t need to setup campaigns or ad sets, so it is much more straightforward.
As you can see, Facebook has added quite a bit of functionality to boosting a post that brings it much closer to creating an ad, but let’s look at some of the flexibility creating an ad provides.
Creating An Ad
You should know that everything you can do while boosting a post, you can also do when you create an ad. Creating an ad, while a bit more work, does give you more options.
Also, unlike boosting a post, creating an ad requires that you have Business Manager which gets you access to Ads Manager where you will create your ad. So there is additional setup, but you only have to do it once.
When you create an ad in Ads Manager, you also set up a campaign. Setting up a campaign allows you to choose an objective such as “Traffic,” “Brand Awareness,” or “Conversions.” Choosing an objective helps Facebook optimize your pixel for the campaign, which theoretically gets you better results.
By creating an ad, you also get access to several more ad types, such as “Lead Ads,” “Canvas Ads,” and “Collections.” Depending on what you are promoting, these additional ad types may be important.
As mentioned above, depending on your campaign objective and type of ad, you will get additional CTAs by creating an ad, such as “Apply Now,” “Contact Us,” “Donate Now,” “Get Showtimes,” “Listen Now,” and “Download.”
When you create an ad, you can also set up multiple ad sets for your ad, which means you can run the ad to several different audiences simultaneously. This can come in handy when you are trying to zero in on your best audience. Also, unlike a post you are boosting, your ad doesn’t have to appear on your Facebook business page.
Whether you boost a post or create an ad all comes down to what you are trying to achieve. Facebook allows users to boost posts as an easier, more straightforward way to advertise. Of course, with that added ease of use, you do lose some flexibility and utility.
Serious Facebook marketers are likely to opt to create ads, giving them more flexibility and control, while more novice users may opt to boost posts. Independent professionals such as Realtors who maintain a Facebook business page but don’t have the time to become proficient at Facebook ads may find boosting posts productive. Likewise, when a post is getting good organic traction on a business page, even a seasoned Facebook marketer may put a little money behind it and boost the post.
So as you can see, boosting a post has its place as does creating an ad. Which way you go depends on who you are and what you are trying to achieve.