Choosing between Facebook promoted posts and ads

Sep 27, 2013

Topic: Marketing
Time Investment: 5 Minutes
Suggested Product:  BizRevamp®



Facebook has started changing things up, between their Terms of Service and Contest Rules, but this past year they’ve unveiled new ways for business pages to market to their audiences – beyond the news feed and other creative ways we must use to get seen.  Two paid methods of exposure are advertisements and promoted posts. Here’s a run down of each, which you should do, and tips on using them!  See Facebook’s Official Advertising Guidelines Here


What are Advertisements?

Facebook Ads are paid messages coming from businesses, and they can include social context about friends (as defined by facebook).  These advertisement are desktop sidebar advertising space that have a headline, image, and small snippet of info.  These can link directly to your facebook page, a facebook application, a current facebook post, or even a website!

The great advantages of advertisements is that they have the specific demographic tool for targeting, and you can set the amount of people who will view your advertisement depending on the set budget per day (unlike promoted posts, as you’ll see below).

The advertisement can be targeted through a variety of demographic factors such as location, age, sex, etc. to narrowly target on a specific audience.

A major disadvantage to advertisements is that they are only seen when users are on Facebook dekstop.  With the majority of users checking into Facebook “on the go” there are alot missing out on seeing your ad.  Further, advertisements can come across as gimmicky and lose the credibility factor (as discussed below).

See Facebook’s official word on advertisements here 


What are Promoted Posts?

Promoted posts are a hybrid of a post (status update/pic) and an advertisement.  Through paid reach, these posts are automatically inserted into news feed among your current fans and their friends.

The biggest advantage to promoted posts is the fact that the post is targeted towards those who are interested in your page and information, presumably since they are current fans.

Along with that, birds of a feather flock together right?

And perhaps, in my eyes, the biggest advantage is the pseudo-credibility factor these promoted posts can give to your page.  When a post shows up in a feed partnered with the name of a someone I know, as opposed to a randomly placed advertisement, the familiarity of the name adds some credibility and more interest on my part.

Targeting to fans and their friends increases the probability of reaching those who are interested in what you have to offer.

A disadvantage is that promoted posts only run for a max of three days, and the budget is a “lifetime” budget of the post, not a daily budget – as can be set when advertised.



So which is better?

Ah this totally and completely depends on your budget, and your goal of your marketing.  While of course the majority of us are looking for exposure, the business model and type of photography that your business does will impact which method of marketing via Facebook is better for you.

First, take a look at what your goal is – are you trying to advertise to existing audience (and their friends) or a completely fresh, unrelated audience?  That will be a big indicator on which you’d prefer to do.

Exisiting audience = promoted posts  //  Non-Existing = advertisement

Note: This is just a baseline foundation for helping to decide which direction to go.  Remember, tapping into your existing audience will reach out through the networking of social media to tap into fresh new audience faces.

I personally have found the Promoted Posts to be more advantageous due to the pseudo-credibility factor and mobile friendliness.

My photography clients’ friends are seeing my work come into their feed without requiring any action on the part of my client (such as through client’s liking or commenting on the page – while that is a cheaper and preferred method of engagement).


How can I use these?

  • Advertise upcoming specials tailored to fans & friends of fans through promoted posts
  • Write a blog post about photography or related topic and promote on a budget
  • Create an advertisement that is tailored to the demographics, specifically location, for your local community

Note:  Facebook is constantly changing the way advertisements and promoted posts (boosted posts) are handled. Please check Facebook’s policies for up-to-date information.


Explore more