Facebook Advertising vs Boosted Posts

Most auto repair shop owners have heard that advertising on Facebook is a great way to drum up new business for their shop. Still, there is a lot of confusion around the topic, especially when it comes to Facebook advertising versus boosting posts.

Ask most marketers what the difference is between advertising vs boosting and you’ll probably get a blank stare followed by some rambling about one being more advanced than the other.

In this article, we’re going to get into the details of the difference between these two different ways of paying to promote on Facebook.

Boosting Posts Is A Simpler Way Of Advertising On Facebook

We are differentiating between “Facebook advertising” and boosting posts, but make no mistake, boosting posts is still Facebook advertising. In both cases, you are paying money to Facebook to have something seen by an audience of people.

I wanted to get that out of the way upfront. They are both advertising. But for the purpose of this article, we will be specifying them as either advertising or boosting.

One of these ways of advertising can be done by anyone with the most basic knowledge of Facebook, while the other is best left up to professionals, or at least those who have put in the work to become proficient working within the advanced interface and learning how to perform high-level optimizations.

Boosted Posts Live On Your Page

One of the most notable differences between a boosted post and a Facebook ad is that the boosted post started out as an organic (unpaid) post on your business page.

If you are an admin on a Facebook business page, you have no doubt seen the blue “Boost Post” button at the bottom of each of your posts.

When you boost a post there are basically four things Facebook needs to know from you. Those are:

  • What is your goal – more engagement, more leads, more website traffic?
  • Who do you want to reach?
  • What is your max budget?
  • How long do you want to boost the post?

You click on that boost post button, give Facebook those 3 pieces of information, enter your credit card info if it’s the first time you’re boosting a post, and you’re done.

Facebook ads are different. A Facebook ad was never a post. People can’t go to your business page and see your ad. A true Facebook ad originates and lives within Facebook’s Business Manager or the Meta Business Suite.

Facebook Business Manager and the Meta Business Suite are more advanced interfaces that allow you to do much more with both your organic posts to your business page, and paid advertising.

The Meta Business Suite is the newer of these two interfaces and at this time, may or may not have been rolled out to your page.

The Purpose Of Each Of These Types Of Advertising

At Shop Marketing Pros, even though we are professionals and produce high-performing Facebook ads every day, we still boost posts all the time.

You’re not stuck with doing one or the other. Both have their purpose and are used in different situations.

When And Why You Would Boost A Post

There are a few different reasons you would boost a post. Those would include:

  • You have a small budget to work with
  • You simply want a post to be seen by more people
  • Your primary audience is people who like your page
  • You have a short time frame that you want the promotion to be seen (you can still do ads in this case)
  • You want to advertise on Facebook yourself but don’t want to become a professional marketer

Small Budgets – Boosted posts are much better when working with small budgets. It is perfectly acceptable to pay as little as $5 to have your post seen by a larger audience. If you attempted to run a Facebook ad with a $5 budget, it would be a complete waste of your time. We don’t even think about doing ads without a bare minimum $200 budget, and that is a TINY ad budget.

You Want Your Post To Be Seen By More People – This is the most common reason to boost a post. A typical organic post on your Facebook page will be seen by 2% of the people who like your page. So if you have 1000 people who like your page, that post will on average be seen by 20 of those people.

When you boost a post, you can spend a relatively small amount of money to have your entire audience see that post, and even get people who don’t like your page to see it as well.

Your Primary Audience Is The People Who Like Your Page – We partially covered this in the previous example, but boosting posts is highly effective at reaching the people who already like your business page. If your goal is reaching those people, boosting a post is the thing to do.

You Have A Short Timeframe To Get Something Seen – First let me say that you can run Facebook ads for short time periods, and if you have a specific audience you need to reach, doing ads may be the better choice. But let’s say you have a slow day at the shop and want to put out an offer quickly, you can boost a post for as little as 24 hours and you can do it in a matter of minutes.

You Want To Advertise And Not Pay A Professional To Do It – Boosting posts is something anyone can do. It is incredibly intuitive and is a great way to dip your toes in the water and see how effective Facebook can be for driving new business. I know shop owners who boost posts every day and have good results doing it.

When And Why You Would Use Facebook Advertising

There are many reasons you would use Facebook’s advertising platform. Those would include:

  • You have specific actions you want users to take
  • You want to be able to measure the ROI (return on investment) of your marketing dollars
  • You want to reach audiences based on their demographics or interests
  • You want to use more advanced layouts
  • You are working with a larger advertising budget

You Want Users To Take A Specific Action – In marketing, there is usually an outcome that you desire from each advertisement you put out there. For an auto repair shop, those actions are usually something like:

  • Like your page
  • Make an appointment
  • Join an email list
  • Register for a car care clinic
  • Call now

In Facebook advertising, there are features that allow you to optimize the ad for these specific outcomes. Facebook calls these “objectives”. So if you want to run a page likes ad, Facebook will intentionally show the ad to people who meet your criteria and are also known as probable to like a page. If you are running an ad designed to get people to click a link, they will show the ad to people who both meet your criteria and are also likely to click a link.

You Want To Measure ROI – Facebook ads have an advanced set of insights (analytics) that allow you to see how effective your ads are performing. These insights are driven by the Meta Pixel. This pixel is code that you place on your website or landing page that allows Facebook to see what happens once people leave Facebook and go to your web property.

An example for an auto repair shop is this. A Facebook user is scrolling their feed and is presented with your ad. They click on the ad and are taken to a landing page on your website that has more information about your promotion. There is a phone number on this page as well as a form where they can make an appointment.

Because the Meta Pixel is on your website, you can see if the user left the page without taking any action, if they successfully completed the appointment request form, or if they called to make an appointment.

Pixel events can still be measured when boosting posts, but not at the same level as Facebook ads. Also, most people who only boost posts don’t have the pixel installed on their websites, making the tracking impossible.

You Want To Reach Audiences Based On Their Demographics Or Interests – Targeting inside of Facebook ads has much higher capabilities than boosted posts.

With Facebook ads, you can target people based on their age, gender, interests, and more. You can upload an email list and Facebook will match emails up to users to build a custom audience. You can create audiences based on the pages they have visited on your website. You can even advertise to people that have watched a certain amount of a video you posted.

Boosted posts are great for marketing to the audience you already have (and a little beyond it), while Facebook ads are great for marketing to the audience that you don’t have but want.

NOTE: It’s worth noting that interest-based targeting is now very limited because of the iOS 14 update. We’ve seen analytics drop a ton because of this update.

You Want To Use Advanced Layouts – Facebook ads allow you to use more dynamic layouts like carousels. They also have more text areas than organic or boosted posts.

With Facebook ads you can also place your ads in locations other than the main feed. You can determine whether they display on desktop, mobile, feed, sidebar, or even off of Facebook on partner websites.

When boosting posts, you can choose to display them on Instagram as well, but Facebook ads are much more suited to and customized for the two different networks.

You’re Working With A Larger Advertising Budget – If you have a larger budget to work with, you may as well use the more advanced features available in the Facebook advertising platform. Having a larger budget and only boosting posts would be like aligning a car with a tape measure and a level. It will accomplish the task to some degree (no pun), but it could be so much better when using the right tool for the job.

There are brands that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per day on Facebook ads. The ads platform is built for this. Larger volume shops that can allocate $1000+ per month to their Facebook ad budget will benefit greatly from running full-featured ads.

The Lines Are Getting Blurry

In this article, I’ve shown you the differences between Facebook advertising and boosting posts as they stand today. That being said, Facebook is constantly improving both platforms.

Boosted posts have many more features today than they did not long ago, and they keep getting more advanced, as does the full advertising platform.


As you can see, both platforms have benefits and can be used simultaneously. The thing you must do is make sure you’re using the right platform for the right purpose.

If you have questions about advertising or boosting posts, reach out to us. If you are looking for an agency to help you with these services, schedule a discovery call.

About The Author

Brian Walker

Brian Walker is the Owner and CEO of Shop Marketing Pros, a marketing agency specializing in marketing independently owned auto repair shops. Brian is a Mercedes Benz Master Technician and has owned multiple shops and served as the Mechanical Division Director for ASA-NC.

He's a mechanic at heart who loves fixing things that are broken, which is why he loves marketing so much.

"Digging in and figuring out why a business' marketing isn't working is a lot like it was when he was elbows deep into a car that no one else could fix. When you figure it out, there's nothing else like it."

To get to do this for auto repair shop owners combines his passions, and he couldn't be more excited about helping shop owners.