Facebook Ads vs Boosted Posts: What Is The Difference And Which One Should You Be Using?

Facebook Ads vs Boosted Posts

When it comes to advertising on Facebook and Instagram, there are two ways to go about it: Boosted posts and Facebook ads. At the end of the day, deciding between one or the other depends on what you ultimately want to get out of your advertising efforts as well as how much time you want to spend in setting it all up and managing the performance.

Before choosing between Boosting a post or running a Facebook ad campaign, it is important to, first of all, understand what they are and the important differences between them.

What is a Facebook Ad?

Facebook Ads are created in Ads Manager using a series of steps leading to a highly customised ad which has been created according to the specific needs of the business and its target market. When creating a Facebook ad campaign, businesses will take into consideration the objectives they aim to achieve from the ad, who and where their target market is, what action do they want this audience to take as well as what images/video and copy will be most relevant to them.

What is a Boosted Post?

A Boosted post looks similar to a Facebook ad on the outside but is VERY different on the inside. They are the short and quick version of advertising on this platform. Here, businesses ‘boost’ a post by allocating advertising budget to this post and choosing between a few basic targeting parameters. This ‘boost’ essentially places your post on the top of your followers and similar users’ newsfeeds.

What are the Key Differences Between a Facebook Ad and a Boosted Post?

Targeting Capabilities:
There are a variety of Facebook ad targeting capabilities apart from the standard targeting capabilities of Boosted posts i.e. interests, age, gender and location. In addition to these targeting parameters, Facebook ads allow businesses to create audiences based on people who have visited their website/downloaded their app/purchased a product from their online store etc. as well as people who are similar in terms of their interests and online behaviour to the current audience being targeted (this is called a lookalike audience).

Optimisation Capabilities:
Boosted posts are optimised for page likes, comments, shares and overall brand awareness. However, in addition to these capabilities, Facebook ads extend their optimisation capabilities to a variety of other objectives such as app installations, video views, newsletter sign-ups, purchases through an online store etc. Facebook ads are essentially optimised to generate leads and revenue for a business while Boosted posts are optimised for post/page likes and comments.

Placement Capabilities:
Facebook ads can be placed on both Facebook and Instagram simultaneously. Facebook ads can also be placed in different locations across each platform such as in the Facebook and/or Instagram newsfeed, Instagram stories or in Facebook messenger chats, for example. Boosted posts will only appear in the main newsfeed of the platform on which you choose to ‘boost’ the post.

Analytical Capabilities:
Facebook ad campaigns deliver a constant stream of a wide variety of metrics. If analysed consistently, businesses can fully understand how their ads are performing and where they can be improved on for better results. Boosted posts provide a snapshot of the performance of a campaign with a limited number of metrics available. 

So, Which One Should You Use?

Facebook ads are hands down the best way for businesses to advertise their products and services on social media. Apart from the ability to optimise for a wider variety of objectives, Facebook ads offer highly advanced targeting and creative design capabilities as well as different ad placement options and metrics available to constantly measure performance. Businesses have a lot more control over who sees the ad, where they go after clicking on the ad and essentially what their advertising budget is spent on compared to Boosted posts.

Boosted posts may reach a large number of people and increase the engagement of a particular post or page but there is not much more to them than that. Facebook ads are fully-fledged marketing campaigns suited for businesses who want to advertise their product or service to a market in a highly strategic and effective way. They take more time to set up and require daily management to achieve complete optimisation but you can count on better results and return on your investment for your time, effort and budget.

If you like our resources, you might want to:


You’ve taken a step in the right direction to improve your marketing and help your business succeed. 

You’ll hear from us soon!

In the meantime, feel free to check out our blog for ideas and tips to improve your marketing, find us on LinkedIn or follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

Chat soon,
Richard & Robyn