The Differences Between Creating a Facebook Ad versus Boosting a Post



  • Facebook is a “pay to play” platform now. If you want people to see your posts, you need to pay for it.
  • With an ad, you can set an objective. This tells Facebook what you want to achieve, and it picks the audience that has the propensity for doing the thing that matches your objective.
  • Facebook is an amazing aggregator of data about people, which allows you to hyper-target your ads.
  • An ad offers many more call-to- action button options.
  • Boosting a post doesn’t allow you to split-test, which is unfortunate.
  • Split-testing allows you to ensure you aren’t wasting money, which is important when determining how to spend your marketing dollars.




There is a difference between hitting “boost” and going into Facebook Ads Manager and creating an actual ad. By working within Ads Manager, you gain greater control over your ad, your audience and your outcome, which can make a great impact on your business’s bottom line.



  • Why you really need to pay for advertising on Facebook – 02:22
  • The main differences between boosting a post and creating an advert – 04:08
  • How the CTA button language can make a huge difference in your ad – 08:47
  • Examples for simple ways to split-test Facebook ads – 10:19
  • Your next steps for creating a Facebook ad – 12:10




Transcript below


Hello there, and a warm welcome. Thank you so much for joining me for this episode number five of the Social Media Marketing Made Simple Podcast, and I'm your host Teresa Heath-Wareing. I am so grateful that you decided to download this podcast and give it a listen.

One of the reasons I decided to do a podcast is because I always said that I was much better at talking than I was at writing, and I love sharing content. I love giving you ideas and tips and tools to help you be better at social media marketing. For me, a podcast was a great way to do it so I do really appreciate you listening. Today's episode is no exception, it's something that I am actually super passionate about, as I see lots of small businesses making this mistake.

In fact, I see lots of big businesses doing as well and this is Facebook advertising and just hitting that boost button. When I speak to these businesses, they end up telling me that they have had an experience of Facebook ads and that it just doesn't work and it's a waste of money and it didn't really do anything for their business.

When I dig a little deeper, I realise that when they tell me they've been doing Facebook adverts, what they actually mean is they've been hitting the boost button on some of their posts and it's not really been giving them the kind of results they were after.

Today, I want to walk you through why I don't just hit the boost button. Don't get me wrong sometimes its absolutely fine, you just want to hit that button to put a post like that so a few more people see it. Not a problem, but I want you to understand the difference between hitting boost and actually going into Facebook ads manager and creating an advert and the difference it can make for your return on investment and the sorts of results you can expect from some of these Facebook ads. Let's jump straight in.


Why you really need to pay for advertising on Facebook


I guess one of the first things I should explain is why you're going to be advertising in the first place. I hate to tell you but it really is common knowledge by now, that Facebook is pay to play and what I mean by this is, if you're not doing any type of advertising on Facebook then the amount of people who are going to be seeing your posts are going to be very, very low.

The algorithm, this is just a word for a set of rules that Facebook put in place basically decides who is going to see your post and who isn't. Recently, Facebook makes some big changes to this algorithm, which basically says that they are going to be prioritising content from friends and family before pages.

Now, like I said this isn't anything really that new, but it's just being taken to another level again. Therefore, if you are using Facebook for your business then you really, really must be advertising now. You know what, some people are really cross at the fact that Facebook is now a kind of pay to play tool, but I'm not actually.

I think that they have created such an amazing tool that enables you to target people that would never have seen your brand or your product or your service previously, that you can then put your adverts in front of them. I think that this is absolutely fine that we have to pay for it. Also, paying for ads can start off quite low, so it's not like they're asking for a lot of money.

However, I am also a very firm believer that you shouldn't pay money when you don't have to. Also, if you're going to be paying money it really should be doing something for you and your business. Hence, why I decided to put together this podcast about hitting that boost button.


The main differences between boosting a post and creating an advert


Let's walk through what the main differences are between hitting boost and then actually going in creating an advert within Facebook ads manager.

Okay, main difference number one, the first thing is when you create an ad in adverts manager you pick an objective, and this isn't what you do when you hit the boost button, you're just basically saying show this post. Now, the objective is super, super important because you're basically picking the thing that you want the advert to do.

Some of the objectives include video views, page likes, click through to a website or a landing page. It's super important for Facebook to know what exactly you are trying to achieve in your advert, because not only does it show the people you pick from a demographic point of view, i.e. I want males of a certain age or females of a certain age in a particular location, but it also picks the people who have a propensity to do the thing that you are picking as your objective.

For instance, I like watching lots of videos, I, for whatever reason as I scroll through videos catch my eye and that's it I am taken away. What happens in my feed is Facebook often shows me lots of videos, it will also show me lots of video ads because it knows I like videos and therefore it will keep presenting these to me. Whereas if I was a person that liked pages lots or clicked on adverts that took me to websites or landing pages, then it would show me those as well.

It's super important to understand what the actual objective is because Facebook is going to help you find the people who like to do that. Difference number two is, that you have a limited targeting available when you hit boost. Again, what I mean by that is, that one of the most amazing things about the Facebook advertising tool or the Facebook platform in general is the content that they know about us.

Now, from a personal point of view you might think this is a little bit scary because they do know an awful lot about us as individuals. However, from a marketing point of view it's the best thing I've ever seen. They are so smart, basically they look at how we use our social media, they look at the posts that we like, the posts that we click on, the videos that we watch even if you hover over a post that you're looking at they can recognise that.

They also then obviously look at places we've been to and we check in, they look at who we interact with who our friends are, the types of things that we're interested in. Also, if you then go and log into a different platform and it says, “Would you like to log in with Facebook?” Facebook think great because basically they're getting even more of a picture about you. Then obviously they're going to other data sources bringing together with their data to work out various things.

For instance, I could target on financial information so I could decide I want to target someone who earns between the bracket of this and this, and I'll often get people say to me, well how on earth do they know how much I earn? Well obviously you don't put your salary into Facebook, but if they know what your job title is where you live and you know potentially the type of house you're in, then they can make some assumptions about what you're likely to be earning.

This is the way that obviously some of the data is gathered, as well as like I said them actually being able to track data on things that you do. When you do an ad within ads manager, you get much more targeted options to give you an idea. It includes things like all hobbies, activities, business industry, sport, outdoor, shopping fashion, technology, food, drink, fitness wellness, family and relationships as well as your basic demographics, where they work, where they live, are they parents what relationship status are they, what gender they are, and life events, life events are great so if they're getting married or having a baby.

Then we can look at behaviours, so purchased behaviours, job role. The targeting really is amazing and also the other thing that you can do within targeting when you're creating an advert is you can actually exclude or include people. You can say, “I want to pick everybody that has this but include the people that have this,” and that makes it really, really helpful because you can get much more specific and targeted in finding your audience.


How the CTA button language can make a huge difference in your ad


The next difference between boosting and adverts manager is that you get many more call to action buttons. Now, this might seem like a really silly one as it's quite small, what difference could it possibly make, having a shop now rather than a learn more or a contact us or view more. Well, actually it can make a huge difference. This is something that we often split test on. We might create an ad that has a one call to action and we might then create exactly the same advert to the same sort of audience but with a different call to action, because actually this can make a difference.

You want to be as specific as you can in terms of telling that person that you are advertising to what it is that you want them to do. I joke all the time that we're quite simple creatures and that we need to be told. Having that call to action button it tells them exactly what they want to do is really useful. There's another really good tool that you have within the ads manager that you might not be getting when you hit that boost button.

Last but not least, the final main difference. There are a few more but I've picked out the main ones is that you can split test. This is obviously something that we do in our business every day. We constantly split test adverts not only for ourselves but for clients against each other to see which one is performing better, because we're constantly trying to ensure that the money we're spending isn't wasted. No one wants to basically spend money that isn't doing something for their business.

Examples for simple ways to split-test Facebook ads


Now, it doesn't have to be super complicated. You don't have to be doing crazy split test. It can be really simple, as simple as we use this image and then we use this image but everything else stays the same, or we change the call to action button like I've just talked about or we changed the location. So we'll do one advert with the location as the main feed and we might do another advert as the location in Instagram.

But you can't split test if you're literally just hitting the boost button. So you need to be setting up your adverts in adverts manager so that you can create an ad, copy it, change something within that ad and then run them and see which one is performing better, because overall you're going to then be able to tweet your adverts going forward and ensure that you are having the maximum results for your money that you're spending. As I'm sure you can imagine, there are other differences when looking at hitting the boost button or creating an advert from scratch.

However, these are just a few of the key ones that I think can make a big difference to your advert and the success of it. As a bit of a round up, the main differences that we talked about were that we have no objective, i.e., you can't choose the type of advert you're trying to do, so that Facebook can pick the right sort of people that you have limited targeting options, and the better you can target the less you're going to waste your money, that you can't change the call to action button.

Within ads manager you're able to pick multiple different call to action buttons, which again you can split test if you want as well as lots of other things that you can split test to ensure that your advert is performing as well as it possibly can be.

If this podcast has worked, you're going to be super keen to go and test out adverts manager.


Your next steps for creating a Facebook ad


What are your next steps? Well, the first thing I would do is go and have a look around ads manager, go to don't worry I'll put a link of that in the show notes. Then that's where you're going to be able to have a look at setting up your first advert.

However, if you need a bit of help to get started I can highly recommend Rick Mulready, he is a Facebook adverts expert and knows everything there is to know about Facebook ads. He also has several courses and loads of content that you can take to understand ads better. So please go check him out, I'll put a link to him in the show notes.

Ads manager can be a bit technical and sometimes you'll just want to have a bit of guidance walking through it. If you take a look and think you know what, this isn't for me. Then by all means go and find someone who knows what they're doing in order for them to do it for you. There are lots of agencies out there and they will be able to manage your adverts for you.

I really hope this has helped you understand the main differences between just hitting that boost button and creating an advert from scratch within ads manager. Thank you once again for listening to the podcast, it is so appreciated. As always, if you have any questions then I would love to hear them. Why not come along to my Facebook page, Teresa Heath-Wareing and I would love to help you out. Until next time, take care.