Should You Use Ads or Promoted Posts for Your Business?

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

social-media-cubeThough many small business owners know that they want to advertise their business on Facebook, most can be easily overwhelmed the first time they see all of the available options. This article will explain the differences between Ads and Promoted Posts on Facebook and what things business owners should consider when deciding which form they should use.

A key difference between ads and promoted posts are the way users are charged. For Promoted Posts, the user sets an amount, and according to a formula from Facebook, the posts will be added to the news feeds of a certain number of users within the target demographics. For ads, users can choose from a cost per click or a cost per impression ad system. Though they have different costs, Facebook makes it easy for users to manage their advertising costs for both systems. For promoted posts, the budget for promoting a particular post is set at the beginning and can be continue once exhausted. For the cost per click or cost per impression ads, maximum amount the user wishes to spend per day and their bid for the campaign.

Another major difference between ads and promoted posts is the amount of targeting that’s possible. As one would suspect, Facebook allows users more specific targeting on ads than on promoted posts. Promoted posts can be targeted to specific locations, genders, and age ranges. For most businesses, this level of targeting is sufficient when they are trying to increase awareness among members of certain group.

Ads on Facebook have many more targeting options. This is beneficial for multiple reasons.  For organizations that serve very specific populations, Facebook advertisements are helpful for reaching the specific interest groups that are most likely to respond to their message. For example, an environmental nonprofit organization can solicit for donations to people who are interested in conservation. In the end, this saves the organization money by using their advertising budget more efficiently.

The size and location of the content is another key difference between Facebook Ads and Promoted Posts. Promoted posts show as regular posts in the News Feeds of the audience, but they are identified as being promoted by the organization. This fits in with Facebook’s assertion that Promoted Posts are more like messages from friends.

On the other hand, Facebook Ads have several kinds of placement options and styles. Facebook Ads can be shown on the right hand column in search results and users’ News Feeds. The image is smaller than that of Promoted Posts (though the size was recently increased) and the advertiser is limited to fewer than 25 characters for the title and 90 characters for the actual message. Facebook Ads can also be used to tell users promote the organic activity such as Page Likes. These are the ads where it shows that “Person A likes Company B” or “X many of your friends like Company B.” There are other ways that Facebook Ads can be shown on the network, so suffice to say that there are many more placement and size options for Facebook Ads than Promoted Posts.

The decision of which of Facebook’s paid marketing tools is right for a particular business varies based on the industry, the content, and the budget of the organization. Businesses may even decide to use Facebook Ad for some messages and Promoted Posts for others. In the end, taking the time to thoughtfully consider the options will help an organization’s social media marketing campaigns work more effectively.

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