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How to Decide Between Dark and Boosted Posts

With the average social media user seeing thousands of ads each day, marketers are consistently challenged with finding unique ways to break through the noise. One of the main questions we as advertisers ask ourselves when planning out a campaign strategy is whether we want to run Boosted Posts or Dark Posts across social media platforms. Dark Posts are custom-built to target specific audiences while maintaining the general appearance of an organic social media post. Boosted Posts, on the other hand, feature existing organic content promoted with paid media dollars to reach a wider audience. To decide which type of post is best to help you achieve your campaign goals, let’s take the below points into consideration. 

About Dark Posts

Dark Post ads are highly customizable, so advertisers can tailor creative and copy specifically toward their target audience and goal. There’s opportunity to include a stronger call to action in the creative and copy than you might otherwise have in an organic post. There’s also an opportunity to A/B test different messaging to see which resonates best with those you reach. Advertisers can test video vs. static image content, one image vs. a carousel, or shorter vs. longer copy against their KPIs. 

Since messaging can be more tailored to drive users to click on the ad, Dark Posts frequently drive a greater volume of conversions than Boosted Posts.For this reason, link click-through rates (LCTR) and conversion rates are often stronger when using this approach.

All in all, brands and artists care about showing their audiences authentic content. Since Dark Posts are not posted organically to followers, they are a great way to get a message in front of the right people without having sales or advertising-related content in their main feed.

About Boosted Posts

On TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram Reels, organic-feeling content tends to drive the strongest performance since it feels more native to the platform. Ads that immediately present as ads will be detected by users as such, so Boosted Posts allow advertisers to promote shorter-form, more personal feeling content that will resonate better with users.

These posts generally drive more engagement, since users are more likely to feel that they are interacting with organic content rather than an ad. Engagements will aggregate to the original post, which can further facilitate virality. In addition, users more often engage with and pay attention to a post that has more engagements, creating somewhat of a bandwagon effect. This is why boosting is a useful tactic when you’re working to get a song or concept trending and want users to repost and recreate your content. 

By this same logic, boosting an existing post typically drives more follower growth compared to Dark Posts. Existing engagement makes users take notice and eventually convinces these users to follow your account. On TikTok, specifically, ads must be tied to a real profile to drive follower growth. Campaigns optimized for follower growth on TikTok can only utilize boosted content. Since these ads tend to drive more impressions and engagement, boosting an organic post can be cheaper on a cost per link click (CPLC) and cost per mille (CPM) basis.

The Bottom Line

Utilize Dark Posts when aiming to test different forms of copy and creative or drive conversions while still keeping advertising content out of the client’s feed. These ads are more beneficial for your bottom line, as their more targeted nature is better optimized to drive user action, such as clicking through to the client’s landing page or making a purchase. Utilize boosted posts to drive brand awareness, follower growth, and virality. These ads feel more authentic, and perform well on platforms where we see organic creators posting less polished, short-form content.  

A holistic strategy will utilize both tactics to achieve separate goals within the same campaign. Advertisers can build up a clients’ follower and engager audiences by utilizing Boosted Posts, and can later push these audiences down the funnel by serving them more intentional Dark Post ads optimized for link clicks, landing page views, or conversions. It is worth leveraging both types to break through the noise and achieve your campaign goals.

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