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Boosted Posts vs. Ads: Wait, They're Not The Same?

Updated: May 1

Having trouble getting noticed on social media? You're not alone. The ever-changing algorithms make it tough for your posts to reach people. Even if you have great content, it's hard to get likes and comments without paying.

However, some businesses are still doing well on social media. 

How? They're using paid advertising!

They use Facebook's paid ads to show their content to the right people. Instead of just posting and hoping for the best, they target specific groups of people with ads that they will be interested in.

When it comes to paid advertising, there are two ways around it: boosted posts and running ads. 

But, how are they different? That’s exactly what this article is for. We’re going to explain what each of those terms means and which one works better for your brand or goals.

What Are Boosted Posts?

I'm sure you've seen the "Boost Post" button when you're managing a social media page. It's a common feature on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. 

Just like you, when I saw it, the first thing that came to mind was “Oooooh, what does this button do?” 

Let me explain.

So, when you press the ‘boost post’ button, you're essentially paying to promote your post to a wider audience than it would naturally reach. It's a way to increase the visibility and engagement of your content, helping you reach more people who might be interested in your brand.

When you boost a post on social media, you typically have the option to customize various aspects of the promotion. For example:

Audience Targeting: You can specify the demographic characteristics, interests, behaviors, and location of the audience you want to reach. This helps ensure that your boosted post is seen by people who are most likely to be interested in your content or offer.

Budget: You can set a daily or lifetime budget for how much you're willing to spend on boosting the post. The platform will then use this budget to determine how many people will see your post each day or over the entire promotion period.

Duration: You can choose how long you want the post to be boosted—whether it's just for a day or two, or over a longer period.

Ad Placement: You can select where you want your boosted post to appear. This could be in users' news feeds, on Instagram stories, or in other placements across the platform.

Objectives: Some platforms allow you to choose specific objectives for your boosted post, such as increasing website visits, engagement (likes, comments, shares), or conversions (purchases, sign-ups).

What Are Running Ads?

Running ads, as opposed to boosting posts, involves creating customized advertisements from scratch, rather than promoting existing posts. 

Here's how it works:

Creating Ads 

Instead of boosting a post that you've already shared, you start by creating an advertisement from the ground up. This could include selecting images or videos, writing ad copy (the text that accompanies the ad), and choosing a call-to-action (like "Shop Now" or "Learn More").

Audience Targeting 

Just like with boosted posts, you can specify the audience you want to reach with your ads. This might include factors like age, gender, location, interests, and behaviors. The idea is to show your ads to people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service.

Budget and Bidding

With ads, you typically set a budget for how much you're willing to spend over a certain period (like per day or per campaign). You also decide how you want to bid for ad placements—for example, you might bid based on clicks (paying each time someone clicks on your ad) or impressions (paying based on the number of times your ad is shown).

Ad Formats and Placements 

Ads can come in various formats, including image ads, video ads, carousel ads (with multiple images or videos), and more. You can also choose where you want your ads to appear—whether it's in users' news feeds, on the sidebar, or in other placements on the platform.

Monitoring and Optimization 

Once your ads are up and running, you'll want to keep an eye on how they're performing. This involves tracking metrics like clicks, impressions, conversions, and return on investment (ROI). 

Based on this data, you can make adjustments to your ads—like tweaking the targeting, changing the ad creative, or adjusting the budget—to improve their effectiveness in real-time.

They Both Seem Pretty Similar, How Are They Different From One Another?

Boosted Posts

Boosted posts are basically giving a little extra push to content you've already shared on social media.


Quick and Easy: Boosting a post is simple and doesn't require much time or effort. You can do it right from your social media page with just a few clicks.

Good for Engagement: Boosted posts are great for increasing likes, comments, and shares since they're shown to a wider audience.

Built-In Audience: You can target people who already follow your page, as well as others who might be interested based on their demographics or interests.


Limited Customization: You have fewer options for customization compared to running ads. You can't create ads from scratch or choose advanced targeting options.

Less Control: With boosted posts, you can't control where your content appears or how it's optimized for different objectives (like website clicks or conversions).

Limited Insights: You may not get as much detailed data and analytics compared to running ads, making it harder to track the effectiveness of your promotion.

Running Ads

Running ads, on the other hand, involves creating customized advertisements from scratch and using more advanced targeting and optimization options. 

Here's how it differs:


Customization: You have more control over every aspect of your ad, from the creative content to the targeting options.

Advanced Targeting: With ads, you can drill down into specific demographics, behaviors, and interests to reach exactly the right audience.

Diverse Formats: You can choose from various ad formats and placements to suit your goals and preferences.

Detailed Insights: Ads offer in-depth insights and analytics, giving you a thorough understanding of how your campaigns are performing. This information enables you to adjust your strategies for better results.


Requires More Effort: Running ads takes more time and effort compared to boosting posts. You need to create ad content from scratch and monitor performance closely.

Higher Cost: Ads can be more expensive than boosted posts, especially if you're targeting a large audience or bidding for competitive placements.

Learning Curve: There's a bit of a learning curve when it comes to running ads, especially if you're new to digital advertising platforms. It may take some time to get familiar with the tools and techniques for creating effective ads.

In summary, boosted posts are a quick and easy way to increase the visibility and engagement of your social media content, while running ads offers more customization and control, along with advanced targeting and analytics capabilities. The choice between the two depends on your specific goals, budget, and level of expertise with digital advertising.

So Which Is More Effective? Boosted Posts or Running Ads?

Deciding between boosted posts and running ads depends on your specific goals and resources, kind of like choosing between two different tools for a job.

Boosted posts are a quick fix—a simple way to get more eyes on your content without much hassle. They're great for boosting engagement and reaching your existing followers, but they have limitations in terms of customization and detailed analytics.

On the other hand, running ads is more advanced. It takes more time and effort to set up, but it gives you greater control and flexibility. You can target specific audiences, customize your ad content, and get detailed insights into how your campaigns are performing.

So, if you're looking for a quick boost in engagement or want to reach your existing audience, boosted posts might be the way to go. But if you're serious about growing your business or reaching new customers, running ads can offer more opportunities for customization, optimization, and measurable results. 

Ultimately, it's about choosing the approach that best fits your goals, budget, and level of expertise!


Well, aren’t we glad you asked! We at DigiCom are obsessive data-driven marketers pulling from multi-disciplinary strategies to unlock scale. We buy media across all platforms and placements and provide creative solutions alongside content creation, and conversion rate optimizations. We pride ourselves on your successes and will stop at nothing to help you grow.


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