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6 Differences Between Facebook's Promoted Posts and Page Post Ads

So, if you haven’t realized it yet, Facebook updates its ad types and new products almost constantly. The newest product they've launched is the “Promoted Post.”

Let's take a look at Promoted Posts and try to sort out some of the confusion one might have around the differences between them and Page Post Ads, which are similar.  After all, both are paid advertisements generated by posts published on your Facebook page.  And, of course, a prerequisite for either type of ad is frequent posts to your wall with quality content.

What is a “Promoted Post”?

Promoted Posts provide the ability to push out content that you are posting to your Facebook wall to more users than it would naturally reach. Facebook reports that posts on your wall show organically to between 10% and 20% of your current fans’ news feeds. This is due to EdgeRank, the algorithmic filtering of stories that show in the news feed and the limited number of stories that Facebook shows on the page. Facebook recommends Promoted Posts for “important” high quality posts that need to reach as many fans as possible.

In order for your page to have the option of doing Promoted Posts, you need to have more than 400 fans and less than 100,000 fans. In order for you to promote it, your post needs to be less than 3 days old. You can also choose to promote the post as you are creating it. The option to promote your post is visible at the bottom of eligible posts, if you are an eligible page.

Once you decide to promote a post, you are given a handful of budget options from which to choose, along with estimates of the reach of the post based on that budget. This is a lifetime budget that the promoted post will have to use over the 3 day lifecycle the Promoted Posts currently have.

These budget options and reach estimates are calculated from a number of different factors, including: how large your fan base is, the relative cost per thousand impressions (CPM) for your fans, the probability of how many of those fans will log in to Facebook over the next 3 days, and other ads you are currently running for your Facebook page.

Once you’ve decided to promote a post, it will show as a sponsored post in your fans’ news feeds. Currently, it will show both on desktops and mobile apps. If a user interacts with your sponsored post, that story is eligible to be shown in the news feeds of friends of the user who took the action, further increasing your reach.

While your post will reach users who would not have organically seen it, Facebook will not show your sponsored post to fans that have “hidden” your posts from their news feed. Promoted Posts will also not show up in the ticker.

You can also access different performance metrics and analytics through the post on your wall, or through the Ads Manager. Every time you choose to promote a post, Facebook automatically generates an ad and places it in your Ads Manager account, thus simplifying the process of creating an ad on the front end. As such, from Ads Manager, you can also make changes to the Promoted Post, just like you would with any other ad.

Can you remind me what a Page Post Ad is again?

Page Post Ads are ad units that are automatically generated by Facebook using content that you have already published to your Fan page. When creating the ad, you tell Facebook which post you would like to feature and Facebook creates the content of the ad.

So, what is the difference between a Promoted Post and a Page Post Ad?

While the underlying goal is the same between the two types of ads – reaching more people with content you have published to your wall – they are two different animals. Both are automatically generated by using content that you have published to your wall, but there are a few traits that set them apart:

  1. Creation Flow: Page Post Ads are currently created by using either the Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor. Promoted Posts are created on your Facebook wall by interacting with the post that you want to feature. If you have ever created an ad with the Facebook Ads Manager, you know that it is more difficult than the few steps I outlined above to create a Promoted Post. While it may be more complicated to create a Page Post Ad, you are given more options.
  2. Who you Reach: Promoted Posts are meant to help you push your content to more of your fans who would not organically see your content in the news feed. Page Post Ads, however, with their more complicated creation flow, allow you to target users based on demographics, location, interests, and Facebook connections. If you want, you can target Page Post Ads to friends of your fans or just users who aren’t already fans of yours.
  3. Ad Location: Once you create them, Page Post Ads take a spot on that well-known right rail. Promoted Posts are seen in the news feed as if the user was seeing the post organically. The only distinction that they are seeing a story that is not organic is the notation in the bottom right corner that the story is sponsored.
  4. Post Age Limitation: Currently you are only allowed to feature a post as a Promoted Post if it is less than 3 days old. While we don’t suggest you create a Page Post Ad with content you generated months ago, you can feature any content that you have published to your page with no time limitation.
  5. Ad Lifecycle: Because of the recency metric that feeds into Facebook’s EdgeRank, Promoted Posts are only able to run for a set time frame of 3 days. While you can pause and restart the ad as much as you want, the ad will not receive impressions after it has been live for 3 days. Similar to the age limitation, it might not be the best idea to show Page Post Ads for months at a time, but you do not have a restriction for how long your ad can show.
  6. No Bids: Promoted Posts only give you a budget and an estimated reach. The “budget” is calculated by looking at the average CPM for your fan base, but you do not set a bid for your ad. With Page Post Ads, you still have the option, based on what objective you choose through the Ads Manager, to pay on a cost per click (CPC) or CPM basis and set what bid you are willing to pay per click or thousand impressions.

What does this mean to my current Facebook advertising?

Promoted Posts are essentially just a new ad type. What really differentiate them from other ad types are the new creation flow and the fact that they are located in the news feed and not the right rail. While this doesn’t have an immediate impact on the other ad types Facebook currently offers, it brings up some interesting questions about where Facebook is moving with ads in the future.

Perhaps moving forward, Facebook will begin to streamline ad creation for certain types of ads, limiting the customization in the process. We also know that users pay more attention to the news feed on Facebook than the right rail, so it is possible that Facebook is considering placing more ads in the news feed when developing new ad types. No matter where Facebook goes from here, it is clear that they are always working to optimize what types of ads they offer and how they are created and managed.