A ‘dark ad’, or as you might find referred to as a ‘dark post’, is essentially just an advertisement set up and run from Facebook Admanager. Calling it a dark ad is more accurate since as opposed to a post, it does not exist on the page’s timeline – as such it is only intended to be used as an advertising creative.
While the term “dark post” may make this content seem secretive, remember that any user can now look up all of your Facebook ads through the Page Transparency feature.
In comparison, a boosted post is a published social post promoted as an advertisement to specific audiences. This step can also be done through Facebook’s ads manager. This means that when non-organic viewers see and interact with a boosted post, they are contributing to the (metrics) performance of the original post on your page’s timeline.
Dark ad or Boosted Post?
Be it a Dark ad or Boosted Post, the point of running an advertisement is to get more eyeballs onto your piece of content. The attributes of dark ads and boosted posts only cater to strategic marketing and branding needs.
So deciding between using a dark ad and boosted post boils down to a few straightforward choices:
When to use Dark Ad:
- Experimentation: You want to do split testing to figure out which type of content would resonate with your core audience or experiment with different content without affecting your usual brand content.
- Promotion: You want to avoid showing promotional content to your own followers who would see your content on their timeline organically. Dark ads can prevent your timeline from becoming flooded with promotional posts, or you don’t want to dilute your non-promotional content with promotional ones.
- Time-sensitive: When a dark ad is no longer active, it can’t be found by the public anymore. This is good if you don’t want to have to take down a post from your timeline after the content, such as a promotion, is no longer relevant.
When to use Boosted Post:
- Social Proof: You need to ensure a good amount of engagement on the posts found on your timeline. Enhanced targeting efforts, by indicating specific demographic attributes and affinities can also boost engagements from the relevant target audiences.
- Convenient Analytics: Unlike Dark Ads, organic posts don’t have their analytics shown on Facebook’s Adsmanager platform, only Page Insights. Running boosted posts means that the performance can be found on the Ads manager.
- Save Effort: If you have already posted an organic post on your Facebook or Instagram page, you can easily reuse the existing posts without having to retype or copy the posts.
It’s important for any business to identify exactly what they’re hoping to achieve with an ad.