You are always in search of the most effective ways to use your marketing budget. You know that you need a social media presence, but should you turn to boosted posts or Facebook ads?

Most execs expect there’s an opportunity cost difference between a boosted post vs. ad. In reality, there is no clear winner. It will depend on your goals and purpose. You will occasionally see statistics like the following:

stats of facebook ads vs facebook boosted post

As you look at those figures, keep in mind that they only apply to the specific situation tested. Another company with a different goal may find the opposite is true.

Given that Facebook has a total ad revenue of $20.7 billion, both advertising types are likely to pay off. To put Facebook advertising in perspective even more, consider that the “status” creative type for ads has the best click-through rate. Additionally, compared to Instagram, the Audience Network, and Messenger, Facebook has the highest CTR and the most ads.

As such, you do not want to miss out on Facebook’s advertising methods, but you want to make them count.

What’s the difference between a boosted post and an ad?

To start your journey toward learning about a boosted post vs. ad, make sure you understand what each is.

A boosted post is any post that you post like normal on your company’s timeline. The difference is that you pay Facebook to expand the range of your post. You do not create them in the Ads Manager, and you will not have as much customization as with ads. You can choose who to reach, your maximum budget, and how long to run the ad.

Screenshot of Open Sky Copywriting

By contrast, you create a Facebook ad using the Ad Manager. You also get more customization options, including the ability to choose business goals. You also have more optimization options.

Sole Society Facebook Ad Screenshot

Is it better to boost a post or create an ad?

With a clearer understanding of a boosted post vs. ad on Facebook, it is time to figure out which one is better for your situation. The following pros and cons should help you decide. 

Boosted Post vs Facebook Ads Chart

13 Pros and cons of a boosted post vs. ad on Facebook

1.   Pro of boosted posts: some customization available

You can customize your boosted post to some extent. You can optimize for likes, shares, comments, and overall awareness. It also includes letting you adjust how long to run the ad, your budget, and who to reach.

You can also choose to place it on the desktop News Feed, Facebook mobile application, or Instagram. 

boost post vs facebook ads infographic

2.   Pro of ads and con of boosted posts: ads offer more customization

If you want to customize your advertising fully, a Facebook ad lets you do this. Some of the available optimizations for ads include website conversions, shop orders, application installs, and video views.

Most of the advantages of Facebook ads come down to customization. As such, it is important to explore some types of customization in more detail.

3.   Pro of ads and con of boosted posts: ads offer customized placement

One thing that separates boosted posts from ads is where you can place them. As mentioned, you can place a boosted post in the following locations: 

  •   Instagram
  •   Desktop News Feed
  •   Facebook mobile application

In addition, you can place a Facebook ad in the following: 

  •   Instant articles
  •   Facebook News Feed side ads
  •   Audience Network
  •   Instagram stories
  •   Messenger ads

4.   Pro of ads and con of boosted posts: ads offer better targeting

As you set up your Facebook boosted post, you can choose the following traits for targeting: 

  •   Gender
  •   Age
  •   Interests

Facebook ads offer more customization, including overlapping audience types.

They also offer lookalike audiences. This feature lets you target audiences that are similar to your existing one. It is beneficial for those with smaller followings or who make growth a priority.

5.   Pro of ads and con of boosted posts: ads offer more objectives

You have some choices for objectives with boosted ads, including: 

  •   Overall awareness
  •   Likes
  •   Comments
  •   Shares

There are more comprehensive objectives to choose from with Facebook ads. Some include:

6.   Pro of ads and con of boosted posts: ads have more creative options

For those who want to customize their Facebook advertising appearance fully, ads are the better choice. While boosted posts have the same limitations as any other post, ads allow for the following creative options:

  •   Create a carousel ad
  •   Add a call-to-action button
  •   Add a description
  •   And more

infographic of image, video, carousel, and collection ads

7.   Pro of ads and con of boosted post: only for existing pages

Another consideration when weighing up boosted posts vs. ads is whether your brand and Facebook page already exist. This is not usually a concern, but it matters in upcoming brands that want to advertise before their launch.

 You cannot use a boosted post if you do not yet have a page or any posts. If you want to use one, you may have to create your page ahead of schedule. By contrast, you do not need a Facebook page to run an ad campaign.

8.   Pro of ads and con of boosted posts: ads have better analytics

Because you use ads via Facebook for Business and the Facebook Ads Manager, you have access to much better analytics than you would with a boosted post. This makes it easier to evaluate how well your ad is doing and make the appropriate adjustments.

9.   Pro of boosted posts: can choose the post based on past data

The fact that you can boost an existing post gives this option an advantage over ads. Specifically, you can select a post that performed well. This helps reduce the chance that you will waste part of your marketing budget on a post or ad that is not well-received.

10. Pro of boosted posts and con of ads: less time and effort required

Another advantage of boosted Facebook posts is that they do not require much time or effort. All you have to do is visit the post in question and click “Boost.” The minimal customization means that you can be ready in seconds. You also do not have to create ad content from scratch, saving additional time.

11. Pro of boosted posts and con of ads: potentially expensive

While either boosting a post or creating an ad can be expensive, this is more likely to be the case with ads. That is particularly true in the case of longer campaigns targeting a wider audience.

12. Pro of boosted posts and con of ads: likelihood of being shared

Another important difference between the two types of Facebook advertising is how likely it is to be shared. Because boosted posts look almost identical to regular posts, someone will likely share them. By contrast, people rarely share ads.

This is an important distinction, as sharing is a great way to spread your message for free.

13. Pro of boosted posts and con of ads: ads have a higher learning curve

Between the additional setup involved and the use of advanced analytics, it will take you longer to learn how to effectively use Facebook ads than boosted posts.

Boosted post vs. ad: which is better?

If your ultimate goal is to promote brand awareness, then you probably want to strongly consider boosting a post. If you want to drive traffic to your website or have another goal that is not brand awareness, visibility, or audience growth on Facebook, an ad may be a better option. 

The following image shows when to use each type of advertising. 

boosted vs ads graphic

Is it worth it to boost a Facebook post? 

Looking at the above information, you may start to feel that Facebook ads have more benefits than boosted posts. This is a common misconception, as you cannot just directly look at the list of pros and cons. Boosting a post has more than enough benefits to show its worth 

The difference is that you will want to boost a post in different circumstances from when you want to place a Facebook ad. Neither is better than the other. You will not waste money by boosting a post.


You can directly compare boosted post vs. ad options on Facebook, but neither is better than the other. Their unique pros and cons make each better suited to a different situation. Consider boosted posts if you want to enhance visibility and brand awareness or want to create something quickly. Consider Facebook ads if you want to drive traffic or sales, have more creative control, and have more advanced targeting. Ideally, your marketing strategy will include a combination of the two.

Looking into a boosted post vs. ad is just one aspect of promotion and marketing. Join the Podium Partner Program to partner with a company that will help you excel in your promotion and sales.

Thomas Clawson
Thomas Clawson Partner Marketing Manager

Thomas Clawson is a partner solutions professional at Podium, the leading messaging platform that connects marketing agencies with their clients.

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