Facebook Ads vs Boosted Posts: What’s the Difference?

Everyone knows that you can run ads on pretty much every social media platform. However, people managing Facebook business pages may also see an option to “boost” their recently posted content. If you’ve received a notification about boosting and have wondered what that means and how it differs from advertising, then this post is for you.

What is a “boosted” post?

A boosted post is one that is posted on your page’s timeline organically and then promoted to gain a bigger reach. Boosting a post may be useful if your goal is brand awareness, as it will help to push your post further than it may have gone organically.

Boosted posts are very engagement driven, so it may help you get more likes, shares, and impressions but it may not be helpful for goals beyond that. While many consider likes and shares to be vanity metrics, they can be useful in increasing the social proof of your brand.

If you choose to boost your existing post, it’s quick and just takes a few steps to set up. However, the customisation options are quite limited in terms of objectives, audience targeting, and other optimisation that can be done through ads manager.

If the Facebook ads manager seems too intimidating to learn, boosting is potentially a more attractive option for its simplicity, even if that simplicity doesn’t afford much flexibility or customisation. Overall, we would recommend using advertising over boosting. Facebook has some of the best audience targeting of any social platform and boosted posts miss out on those capabilities.

What are the benefits of Facebook Ads?

Faecbook and Instagram ads are created from scratch in the Facebook Ads Manager and consist of 3 parts:

  • Campaigns – the overarching campaign containing ad sets and their individual ads, where you set your objective
  • Ad Sets – sub-sets within a campaign that determine your audience targeting and budget options for groups of ads
  • Ads – individual ads that are placed in front of Facebook or Instagram users, set up using custom creatives or by selecting one of your existing page posts at the creative stage

Content promoted through the Ads Manager tends to have a better return on investment due to the increased optimisation options, and more varied layouts allow you to effectively drive people to websites and landing pages.

Here are some comparisons between boosted posts and ads to show why you might choose one over the other:

Audience Targeting: While a boosted post allows you to target based on age, gender and interests, Ads do all of that and more. Lookalike audiences are one of the most useful tools that helps you target new people who have similar traits to your existing audience, allowing you to reach potential customers who are likely to enjoy your product. You can also create custom audiences based on people who have visited your website or purchased from your store before.

Objective Options: A boost only allows 3 main choices – website clicks, page engagement and local business promotions – whereas the full ads manager has almost 15, giving you far more options to meet your specific needs. You can choose to drive traffic to your website or Facebook event, increase engagement with a post or grow the number of views on a video; each option gives you the opportunity to set specific goals to get the most benefit from your ad. Click here to read more about choosing your objective.

Placement Options: Boosted posts are placed in the standard Facebook feed (with an option for Instagram feeds as well), whereas Ads give you the opportunity for the post to appear in sidebar ads, messenger ads, stories, instant articles, audience network and more. This gives far more flexibility in where your post is shown, which might make the difference when it comes to grabbing the attention of specific audiences.

Looking at the extended capabilities from Ads, it is clear that there is a lot more control in the options provided by Facebook Ad Manager, which is why it’s our preferred method over boosts.


If you think a Facebook ad campaign could benefit your business, but you’re unsure how to set one up or choose the best objective for you, then fatBuzz is here to help.

Get in touch with us to enquire today about our marketing services.