What is the difference between a boosted post and a Facebook ad?

I hear this question frequently and it is a good one, as the difference can be unclear even if you’re familiar with Facebook. While these two often get mixed up, the difference is very clear.

Short Answer: Boosting a post is a quick way to put money behind an existing post from your Facebook page, while a Facebook ad is a more thought-out campaign created in Facebook Ads Manager.

This post lays out the exact options you have when you choose to boost a post on Facebook vs. when you choose to create a Facebook ad.

Boosted Posts

Boosting a post is the easiest option for Facebook advertising as you can do it right from the post on your Facebook page. This is why it is a popular choice for those first starting out with Facebook advertising.

A boosted post is simply a current post on your brand’s Facebook page that you would like to put money behind to reach an audience of your choosing.

When you boost a post on Facebook, you’ll only need to answer 3 questions:

  1. Who do you want to reach?
  2. What’s your max budget?
  3. How long do you want to run your ad?

Who can I target with a boosted post?

Pre-set audiences options include:

  • People who like your page
  • People who like your page + their friends
  • People in your local area (select a radius around you from 1 mile to 50 miles)

If you create an audience, you can choose from:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Behaviors

If you are looking to boost a post to a broad audience, this level of targeting may be enough for you.

Which objectives can I choose from with a boosted post?

  • Post Engagements: Get more people to react, comment and share
  • Messages: Connect and chat with potential customers
  • Link Clicks: Send people to your website

Where can my boosted post appear on Facebook?

  • Facebook News Feed
  • Instagram
  • Facebook Messenger

Can I select a specific bid?

No, you are only allowed to set a total budget.

Can I edit a boosted post?

No, you are unable to edit either the text or image once the post has been boosted. In order to edit the post you will need to create a new post and boost it.

Do boosted posts need to follow the same ad policies as Facebook ads?

Yes, boosted posts need to follow the same advertising policies as a regular Facebook ad. The main one to keep in mind is Facebook’s 20% text rule on images. Check your image before posting organically to ensure there is less than 20% text.

Facebook Ad

While creating a Facebook ad may seem like a more daunting task than boosting, the quality of results you receive are worth the extra effort.  

A Facebook ad is a more thought-out campaign created within Facebook Ads Manager that allows you a wealth of options to choose from that are not available when just boosting a post.

Who can I target with a Facebook ad?

The options are pretty much endless, but the main targeting features available with Facebook ads that are not available for boosted posts include:

  • Custom audiences (from your website, customer list, app activity or offline activity)
  • Anyone who interacted with your Facebook page or elements on your page like a video
  • Lookalike audiences

Which objectives can I choose from with a Facebook ad?

  • Awareness: Brand awareness and Reach
  • Consideration: Traffic, Engagement, App Installs, Video Views, Lead Generation, Messages
  • Conversion: Conversions, Catalog sales, Store traffic

Where can my ad appear on Facebook?

When creating an ad through Ads Manager you can select the exact placements where your ad will show on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger. This gives you, the advertiser, the control.


Can I select a specific bid?

Yes! Based on the ad objective you select, you can optimize your ad for a variety of goals (like impressions, like clicks and landing page views).

You can also set a bid cap, schedule your ads to run during certain times, and set a daily budget as well as how fast to pace that budget.

Can I edit my Facebook ad?

Yes! At any time during your ad campaign you can edit the targeting, text or creative aspects of your ad.

Note: any edits made will re-send your ad through Facebook’s ad approval process. If you’re struggling with getting an ad approved on Facebook, check out our blog post: Why Is My Ad Not Approved on Facebook?

Does a Facebook ad show on my Facebook Page?

No, these posts are completely dark and can only be seen on Facebook by your target audience.

Choosing Boosted Post vs. Facebook Ad

When deciding between boosting a post or running a Facebook ad, it really comes down to your goals.

If your goal is to increase engagements on Facebook to a broad audience, then boosting a post from your wall that is performing well can be a great option.

If your goals are more lead generation and website-focused, then taking the time to setup a thought-out Facebook ad campaign will get you the best results.

Overwhelmed by Facebook ads? Check out our Social Advertising capabilities to see how we can help.