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Advertising 101: Dark Posts vs. Boosted Posts

Advertising 101:  Dark Posts vs. Boosted Posts

Dark Posts vs. Boosted Posts on Facebook

Not sure about the difference between dark posts and boosted posts? Curious about which one might be more effective? Is there a cut-and-dry answer to that question? It’s important to understand the differences as well the similarities when it comes to both methods and maximizing your paid advertising efforts to align with your goals. We will dive into both to provide a better understanding of when to use which method.

Dark posts are targeted ads on social media. Unlike boosted and organic posts, though, they don’t appear in your page’s timeline. They also don’t show up organically in the feeds of your followers. Instead, they only show up as sponsored content in the feeds of users you are specifically targeting. Boosted posts are another type of paid advertisement to promote an existing post from a business page. Facebook Boosted Posts amplify the reach of your content to appear to a wider range of your target audience outside of people who already follow your page. Additionally, Boosted posts differ from dark posts because they are not created in Ads Manager and don’t have all of the same customization features.

Boosted Posts

A boosted post is a post to your Page’s timeline that you can apply money to in order to show it as an ad to an audience of your choosing. This is the simplest way to advertise on Facebook and Instagram. When you boost a post, it’ll show up in your audience’s Facebook or Instagram News Feed as an ad depending on which platform you posted it on. You can also choose to boost the post on the opposite platform that it lives organically on to increase your post’s reach. It’s important to note that you can add a click-through link when boosting a post in Ads Manager even if the original post doesn’t have a link.

Advertising 101:  Dark Posts vs. Boosted Posts

Dark Posts

While a boosted post is still considered an ad, dark posts can only be created through Ads Manager and offer more advanced campaign customization. For example, Ads Manager offers many advertising objectives to help reach your specific business goals and the audiences you care about most. Where a boosted post may be optimized for Page likes, comments, and shares or overall brand awareness, dark posts can optimize for those objectives as well as app installs, website conversions, video views, shop orders, and more.

Advertising 101:  Dark Posts vs. Boosted Posts

What more can I do with dark posts?

  • Choose different ad placements: When boosting a post, you will be able to check or uncheck whether or not you want to place your ad on Instagram in addition to Facebook mobile and desktop News Feed. With Facebook ads, you get the added benefit of choosing placements in Facebook News Feed side ads, Messenger ads, Instagram stories, instant articles, and Audience Network.
  • More advanced campaign objectives: Boosted posts allow you to drive website clicks, page engagement, and local business promotions, but the full ads system in Ads Manager allows for more advanced objectives like store traffic, conversions, and lead generation. You can also create and manage ads through the Ads Manager mobile app.
  • Increased creative capabilities: With dark posts, you can design an ad that most perfectly fits your goals. Create carousel ads, add specific descriptions and add a call-to-action button that will inspire more of your audience to take the desired action.
  • Advanced targeting capabilities: Boosting posts let you decide on interests, age, and gender for your ad targeting. This helps you reach people who most likely care about your business. With dark posts, you can use more advanced tools to create overlapping audience types, lookalike audiences, and more.
  • Make changes mid-campaign: We can edit dark post ad copy and creative while they are live in a campaign. This is not an option when boosting a post. Additionally, you will not be able to edit an organic post once it has been boosted.
  • Multiple Ads: Dark posts give you an opportunity to run more than just one creative at a time, allowing you to A/B test to see what resonates best with the targeted audiences. A boosted post only promotes one post from your page.

When to use Dark Posts vs Boosted Posts

  • If your goal is to increase audience engagement on a specific post or your account as a whole, boosting a post is a great way to maximize visibility and grow your audience. Boosting posts is also useful when there is a specific post getting a lot of attention or traction that you wish to keep getting in front of new eyes.
  • To create more advanced ad types, targeting and campaigns, use dark posts. The option to run multiple creatives and have Facebook optimize them to the best performing audiences allows for the most impactful method for a more specific campaign objective.

Facebook is a powerful and necessary channel for your digital advertising efforts and understanding the difference between dark posts and boosted posts is crucial when developing a campaign strategy.

Dark Posts vs. Boosted Posts on TikTok

While some aspects of TikTok’s dark and boosted ads are similar to Facebook, there are a few key differences between the platforms. It still rings true on TikTok that a Dark Post is created through Ads Manager and only exists as a Sponsored post, not on your profile, and a Boosted Post (called a “Spark Ad” on TikTok) uses a piece of organic content as the advertisement to amplify its reach.

However, the way TikTok Dark Posts appear in-feed is distinctly different from a platform like Facebook. Rather than linking out to your profile, Dark posts on TikTok will actually generate a ghost profile, which does not link out to any profile. When a user clicks on the username in the dark post, they’ll only be directed to the CTA link in the ad. No profile can be linked to these posts.

If you’re looking to increase awareness about your TikTok profile and grow your followership on the platform, a boosted post is the way to go, since users can click on the username in the ad and browse through your profile.

However, there is a new offering on the horizon on TikTok to make Dark Posts more beneficial to users looking to still increase profile engagement, while not cluttering their profile with multiple ad posts. This new offering is called “Ads Only Mode.” With Ads Only Mode, a user can generate a post through the app that will link out to their profile when used as an ad but will not appear on their profile. This gives artists the freedom to generate multiple versions of ads (with captions in different languages, for example), without cluttering their profile, while still maintaining that connection to their profile.

You can learn more about TikTok’s Ads Only Mode here.

When deciding whether to use a Dark Post, Ads Only Mode Post, or traditional Boosted Post on TikTok, it’s important to define what your goals for the campaign are. Are you looking to grow your profile followership? Increase usage of an official TikTok sound? Boosted Posts or Ads Only Mode Posts are probably the way to go. If your artist doesn’t have a TikTok or is against generating any native content on the app, a Dark Post is more likely the way to go. And if you’re looking to target multiple countries with different local languages, creating multiple ads with different translations in either Ad Only Mode or Dark Posts will be your way to go. Whatever your goal, TikTok Ads are a vital platform to include in your strategy to help users discover and consume your content.

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