Which is More Effective in 2021: Facebook Ads or Boosted Posts?

4 May 2021

Facebook is one of the best ways to connect with your customers. With almost 3 billion users logging in every month, you’re likely to find them there. Its reach, scale and functionality make it the ideal advertising platform, built for targeting specific audiences with serious precision. When it comes to promoting your business on Facebook, there are two approaches you can take – Facebook advertising or boosted posts. But what’s the difference and, more importantly, which is more effective in 2021? Let’s find out.

Facebook ads vs. boosted posts

Facebook ads are generated on Ads Manager, a highly sophisticated platform that allows you to create your own campaigns and target them towards particular Facebook users. You can choose an objective for your ads, whether the goal is to maximise conversions or to raise awareness. On the other hand, boosted posts are pieces of content on your timeline for which you can pay to increase their visibility among an audience of your choosing. This is a foolproof, fuss-free way of getting your business noticed. However, this oversimplified method forgoes many of the powerful customisation features available on the Ads Manager platform.

The key difference, however, between the two is that one is advertising, and the other is not. Boosted posts are merely vanity advertising. Their scope for optimisation  is very limited and they are not cost-effective. If you’re a business with a budget, we recommend investing in actual Facebook Ads every time.

Why is boosting posts on Facebook a waste of money?

Sure, boosting your content can get more eyes on it. But in many ways, this exposure is superficial. This is because boosting cannot target accurately. While this feature allows you to segment audiences by interests, location, gender etc, you cannot use your custom audiences. This means no retargeting, and this makes truly strategic, fine-tuned advertising impossible with boosted posts alone.

What can Facebook Ads offer?

Facebook advertising, on the other hand, is media buying. This is the real deal, and requires tactics, creatives and smarts. To make an impact on Facebook, your pixel must be installed so that you can pull external data and track results. You should be creating custom audiences based on your website activity, social media engagement and email lists to name a few. And you should also be generating lookalike audiences to capture new prospective customers. Though there is no magical formula for success when it comes to advertising on Facebook, this strategy is fairly reliable.

As has been established, your options are limited with boosting. With Ads Manager, you can optimise your content in ways boosting cannot. Here’s what Ads Manager brings to the table.

  1. Placement options. Facebook can automatically place ads where they are likely to be most effective. But if you want more control over where your ads are shown, you can also manually choose where to place them. This includes desktop and/or mobile News Feeds, Instagram, Stories, In-Stream and Instant Articles.
  2. Lookalike audiences. One of Facebook’s most advanced targeting features is lookalike audiences. Its AI can build audiences based on the attributes and behaviours of your best existing customers. This essentially finds you potential new customers who are likely to make a purchase, saving you the task of prospecting for leads yourself.
  3. Dayparting. This is also known as Ad Scheduling. Dayparting allows you to turn your ads on and off automatically according to your preferences.
  4. Custom conversion tracking. Facebook Pixel enables you to track standard conversion events on your website – everything from adding to cart to signing up to newsletters. But it doesn’t end there. Thanks to custom conversion tracking, you can create up to 40 of your own conversion values by attaching the events to specific URLs.
  5. Precise custom audiences. Custom audiences allow you to target middle-funnel customers who may have visited your website or added to cart before, but didn’t make a purchase just yet. You can remind them about your business by retargeting them with Facebook ads. Since they have already expressed an interest, they are much more likely to bite.

Final thoughts

If you’re not using Facebook as an advertising channel yet, it’s time to start. Regardless of your industry or orientation, odds are your clients or customers are users. And if you’re going to do something, do it right and don’t take any shortcuts. Actual Facebook ads trounce boosted posts every time, and will ultimately produce better results for your business.

And if you need help with a killer digital marketing strategy, reach out to the experts at Elephant in the Boardroom. We know how to get your business noticed online with powerful ads, bespoke websites, unique content and so much more. Every business has its own goals and resources, and we take the time to understand what makes yours tick. Call us today on (03) 7018 7620 or visit our website at www.elephantintheboardroom.com.au for your free digital health check.