Facebook Ads vs. Boosted Posts


Table of Contents

Which ad type is best for you? It all depends on your objectives and your desired level of customization.

If you’re running a company or brand page on Facebook, you likely know that this social channel has largely become a pay to play environment for brands. 

That means if you’re not already boosting your posts or paying for ads, your posts and pages aren’t likely being seen by many of your page followers. Organic reach is in serious decline and hovers at around 5% for an organic page post.

The best way to access your followers, as well as larger audiences, is to set aside a promotion budget for your Facebook presence.

But should you boost or should you advertise? 

We’ve broken down the differences between Facebook ads and boosted posts to help you make the right decision in allocating your spend. 

What’s a Facebook Ad? 

Facebook offers a variety of advertising options with varying levels of complexity and customization. You can create Facebook ads using Facebook Ads Manager, which offers a variety of customization options. Ads can consist of a combination of images and videos, and are placed on the newsfeed as well as in places like Instagram, Messenger and on Facebook’s online audience network. 

What’s a Boosted Post? 

A boosted post starts as an organic post on your page timeline, which you can then turn into a paid post in order to increase its reach.  While this method offers less customization, it is simple and quick to activate and does allow for some audience customization.

Objectives and Audience

Facebook ads objectives and audience screenshot and description graphic

Setting Objectives

Both ads and boosted posts on Facebook allow you to set an objective or goal for your ad, which equates to what you want the audience to do when they see it. But goals for boosted posts are limited to just five, while Facebook Ads Manager offers 11 objectives that drill down more specifically and range from goals like increasing awareness of your brand to encouraging video views, app installs or newsletter signups. 

Customizing Your Audience

Boosted posts offer limited options for customizing your audience. You can select your existing audience, if you’ve already created one, or you can expand to friends of your page’s followers, or create a new custom audience by location, gender and age. 

Facebook ads offer more options for audience customization than boosts do. You can customize based on the audience’s behaviours and interests. You can also choose from among those who have engaged in some ways with your page or website. The possibilities are more numerous with Facebook Ads Manager. 

Ad Placement

Facebook ads: difference in placement for boosted posts and ads description graphic

Boosted posts allow you to choose where your ad will be displayed. Options include the Facebook newsfeed, Instagram, Messenger and Facebook’s audience network. 

Facebook ads go further by allowing you to choose from up to 12 placements, ranging from in-feed ads to external apps. You can also select whether to display your ad only on desktop or mobile environments, or both. 


Facebook ads: difference in scheduling for boosted posts and ads description graphic

Both boosted posts and Facebook ads allow you to determine how long you’ll run your ad, but Facebook ads manager allows you to further customize the timeframe by selecting specific days of the week and times of day you’d like your ad to display. 

Call to Action

Facebook ads: difference in CTA for boosted posts and ads description graphic

As with every other feature in this comparison, a boost also has fewer options for CTA buttons when compared to Facebook ads. The options offered to you will depend on the objective you set for your ad. 

A/B Testing

Facebook ads A/B testing description graphic

A/B testing is only available with Facebook Ads Manager and is an excellent tool for testing multiple versions of your ad to see what resonates most with your audience.

Still unsure whether boosts or ads are best for you? A good way to get a sense of which option works for you is to jump in with both feet and try them both out. Allocate a small spend, and start testing. You’ll quickly see what works, and what helps you to achieve your objectives. 

We can help you create a social media strategy that achieves your goals. Get in touch to chat about your needs.

Articles You Might Like