Boosted Post or Facebook Advert: What’s the difference?

Setting up a Facebook advert can look pretty daunting at first, but before you take the leap, let's take a beginner’s look at the differences between a Boosted Post and a Facebook Advert. If you prefer to get down and dirty with the detail, however, check out this comprehensive guide.

Did you know that only a very small percentage of the people who like your Facebook page actually see what you post. Sounds a bit harsh doesn't it? It’s true – only between 3% and 9% of your total numbers of likes will see what you post. What can you do about it? Apart from posting the kind of content that Facebook deems 'valuable' to the newsfeed (we're particularly looking at you, live video) paying for the reach you don't get organically is worth considering. 

Ready? Right, let's talk about boosted posts first. 

A boosted post is just that. A higher percentage of the people who like your page and some of their friends will see the post you boost. However, and it's a big however, don't even think about boosting a post that hasn't already had a chance to perform well organically. This is where Facebook Insights is your friend. Look at the reach and engagements a post has already attracted before considering pressing the boost button. If it's not a great post anyway, boosting it won't do you many favours. 

If you haven’t looked at Facebook Insights or you can’t see the wood for the trees, there are loads of FREE resources from Business Gateway including workbooks, video tutorials and workshops that will demystify your Facebook analytics.

So what about a Facebook Advert? Consider the objective of your advert first. Is it to get more traffic to your website, to encourage sign-ups to newsletters, or to encourage purchases? An advert will give you the choice of up to 11 objectives, compared to three for a boosted post.

One of the main differences between a boosted post and a Facebook Advert is the level of targeting options available. With almost laser precision, you can target your advert at exactly the audience who would be interested in it. You do have some targeting options with a boosted post, but the range and flexibility of a Facebook advert targeting options are what sets it apart – including geographic location, age, gender, interests, behaviours and language.

A Facebook advert also gives you better control of your budget and scheduling of your post – you can set the start and end dates, and specify whether you want to set a lifetime budget (so that Facebook determines when it spends your budget over the lifetime of the advert) or a daily budget (so you can for example tell Facebook to spend £5 per day for six days with a total budget of £30).

If you have Instagram, your Facebook Ad will show up there too. And on that note, a Facebook Advert is a ‘dark post’; in other words it won’t show up on your timeline or newsfeed – it will only be shown to the audience you’ve targeted, which might seem obvious but it can be confusing when you’ve put all that work in only to find you can’t see it on your own page!

Need more help? For free one to one support with paid advertising on social media, get in touch with the GAP team on 01387 260380 or by email


To understand Facebook advertising from the customers’ perspective, here's an interesting read.

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