Though the terms are often used together, there are some clear differences between the two. Facebook Ads, are designed to target specific predefined audiences, with the goal of driving action, be it clicks, conversions, or brand awareness.

Facebook Posts are designed for conversations with your existing page audience. While Ads are all about delivering results, posts are used as a way to connect with your page followers.

Balancing both in your social media strategy is a fundamental part of digital marketing. It’s about employing Ads to efficiently spread your message to a wider audience, while Posts cultivate a loyal following by nurturing relationships and building trust.

Purpose and Intent

For Facebook Ads, objectives and goals should be highly focused. They are your opportunity to deliver precision targeting, guiding users toward specific actions. Whether it’s driving traffic to your website, boosting app installs, or increasing conversions, ads are your strategic partners in achieving tangible results. For example, you may be promoting a new line of fitness gear. With Facebook ads, you can zero in on a defined audience, choosing relatable interests and behaviors, with a call to action to encourage viewers to click on your ad and purchase on the website.

Facebook Posts are used as a way to publish relatable content that your page followers are likely to find interesting (hence the reason they choose to follow the page), This could be information on company culture, latest developments, new products, or promotions. Unlike Facebook Ads, the purpose of the Post is to talk to existing customers, not to potential new ones.

Targeting and Reach

With Facebook Ads, you have the opportunity to target specific demographics, interests, behaviors, and even life events. For example, if you were about to release a sustainable training shoe, with ads, you can aim at urban joggers aged 25-35 who love eco-friendly products.

Example reach planner
Facebooks Campaign Planner allows you to see Reach and Frequency metrics

The reach of the Ad campaign will be determined by size of the target audience, and the allocated campaign budget. Facebook Ads are charge per impression (CPM), so the larger your budget, the more times (and people) the ad will reach.

Unlike ads, organic Facebook posts generally reach a small portion of your page followers, usually between 10 – 30%. This can also fluctuate based on the post engagement. A well-designed post, which encourages users to engage and share has a higher chance of reaching an extended audience (beyond your existing page followers).

Format and Creatives

To craft a killer Facebook Ad, it’s all about the harmony between visual and copy elements: including a stunning image or video and words that pack a punch. Take that new fitness apparel line you’re launching. By pairing a snapshot of your sleek activewear with compelling copy, that’s how you make thumbs stop scrolling.

Crafting engaging content for your organic Facebook Posts is a more personal message to your followers. Share stories that resonate. Whether it’s behind-the-scenes glimpses of your team’s camaraderie or user-generated content showing happy customers, authenticity is the key. In this context, it’s not just about selling products; it’s about creating a community.

Let’s look at some of the most popular Facebook ad formats and find the perfect fit for your advertising objectives.

Image Ads:

A single striking image can be a simple and effective way to showcase your product or service. Perfect for various ad types and placements, these ads are easy to craft and effective when it comes to brand awareness or driving conversions.

But remember, you’ve got just one shot to captivate, so ensure your visuals are high-quality.

Video Ads:

Video ads provide an opportunity to craft a captivating narrative. They bring life to your marketing, drawing in audiences with dynamic storytelling.

Example FB Video Ad
Video Ads on Facebook dont cost anything to run and can be much more engaging.

While they demand more time to create, their power to connect and engage may be worth the extra effort. Keep them short and snappy, under 15 seconds is ideal for mobile, and up to 99% of Facebook users access via mobile.

Stories Ads:

These full-screen experiences pop up in between your audience’s Stories on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. You can experiment with videos, images, and carousels, while adding effects and augmented reality.

Keep in mind that Stories are not placed on the popular Facebook feed, and creating tailored content can be a bit more work.

Instant Experience Ads:

Instant Experience ads are interactive, allowing swipes, tilts, and zooms for an immersive experience. Speed is their main strength, loading 10 times faster than standard mobile web apps. While they are impressive when done right, they might involve a learning curve for newcomers to Facebook advertising.

The following examples from Facebook show some of these strategies in action.

Carousel Ads:

Carousel ads are a tool for multimedia storytellers. They’re perfect for showcasing products, guiding users through processes, or multi-layer narratives.

Example Carousel Ads

Each element has its own headline, link, or description. The cards can also be fixed in position, if the design has been made around a specific sequence.

Collection Ads:

Collection ads are a more advanced version of carousel ads, ideal for online stores with a range of products, offering a seamless journey through your catalog. For smaller businesses, there might be other formats more tailored to your needs.

Slideshow Ads:

These condensed videos, composed of images or a single video, save data without sacrificing impact. They’re perfect for markets with limited connectivity and an excellent starting point for video novices.

Analytics and Performance Measurement

As with all areas of digital marketing, analytics and performance measurement are critical to the success of your campaigns.

With Facebook Ads, you have access to detailed metrics. From click-through rates and conversion rates to impressions and cost per click, analyzing these carefully will boost your campaign’s performance.

Example FB Ad Data
In 2023 Facebook released an updated Reporting feature which makes analyzing data much easier.

For example, it is possible to tweak your ad copy based on the exact moment users drop off by using these insights.

Facebook Posts don’t provide quite the same level of detail. They focus on engagement metrics such as likes, comments, and shares.

You should consider the campaign goals. For Ads, it’s all about the numbers – sales, sign-ups, downloads. Posts, however, often play the long game by building brand loyalty and sparking conversations.

Placement and Visibility 

Facebook Ads offer various choices for strategic placements, giving you a chance to strategically position your content for maximum impact. Sponsored Placements strategically pop up in users’ feeds, catching their attention without being obtrusive.

Facebook Placement Options
For most performance-based campaigns using the Advantage+ will automatically manage the placements based on performance.

Ad Placements, on the other hand, provide you with a range of options – from in-stream videos to instant articles – to seamlessly integrate your message into users’ browsing experience.

Comparatively, Facebook Posts play a distinct role through Timeline Visibility and Shareability. Your posts live and breathe within the timelines of your followers, capturing their attention organically. The more engagement they garner, the more their visibility grows, reaching a wider audience beyond your immediate circle.

Both have their merits, but understanding where they appear is key. While an ad typically has higher reach, a well-crafted post can ignite meaningful discussions and inspire others to share, expanding its reach. 

Regulatory and Policy Considerations

Facebook Ads also involve complying with the Meta Advertising Standards and optimizing for the algorithms. Make sure your ad content complies, is relevant, your images are eye-catching, and your text is concise yet impactful. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different formats – such as carousel ads, video ads, single image, etc.

Meanwhile, for organic Facebook Posts, it’s about embracing authenticity while keeping an eye on Facebook Community Standards. Sharing a behind-the-scenes snapshot of your team? Fantastic. Spreading false information? Not so much. The goal here is to foster engagement, so ask questions, tell stories, and reply to comments like you’re chatting with friends.

Integrating Ads and Posts for a Comprehensive Strategy 

Leveraging both ads and posts will ensure you can attract new customers, but also nurture your existing ones. Your ads can be used to spotlight moments—showcasing promotions, product launches, or special deals. Posts are your narrative thread, weaving your brand’s story over time. Share user-generated content, behind-the-scenes peeks, and relatable stories that humanize your brand.

Align your ad and post themes for consistent messaging. For instance, if your ad shouts about a summer sale, your posts can subtly amplify the excitement with beachy tips or customer testimonials. Blend their tones, too. If your ad is witty, let your posts share the same approach.

If you are looking for some help or advice on Facebook ads or social media in general, contact Phoenix Media today for a free consultation.


  • Published on : Tuesday August 29, 2023

About the author

As the managing partner for Phoenix Media, Rob brings over 10 years’ experience in digital marketing and running successful agencies in the UK, Australia and Thailand. Starting in a sales role he has covered all aspects of the agency from sales and service to technical ad operations. Reach him directly on

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