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Boosted Posts vs. Ad Campaigns: Which Option Is Right for Your Practice?

Published on
March 13, 2024
Last Updated
March 13, 2024
minute read
Ruby Lezon
Ruby Lezon
Social Media Team Lead
/ Founder

The world is expensive. Inflation is hitting just about every area of our lives, and businesses are pinching pennies to keep their margins in the black. If you’re a business owner with a social media presence (and you should 100% have a social media presence), you’ve probably wondered lately if spending some of your resources on social media ads or boosts is worth your time and money. 

The short answer? Yes. The long answer? Yes… and no.

The climate of social media marketing has changed a lot in the last few years. Heck, it’s changed a lot in the last few months. More and more practices are popping up to compete with you, and the saturated market means that social media engagement is down across the board. 

Not to mention attention spans are down, and your prospective customers’ feeds are being flooded with the weird and wacky, all fighting to gain just a few seconds of viewers’ time. 

(Example: Yesterday, I didn’t know that kangaroos can be jacked like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but here we are.)

It can be hard to stand out in this landscape and compete with bodybuilding marsupials. It can be overwhelming to even try. But your content can absolutely still reach your audience. It’s just that the reality of our current world is that social media has become an increasingly pay-to-play market, and you may need to open your wallet to avoid getting lost in the crowd. 

But what should you do? Boost a post or run a new ad campaign? Deciding is where things get tricky, but to help you get a better grasp on things, we are going to break down both options.

Boosted Posts

Boosting a post means that you’re paying money towards a previously shared organic post in order to give it a “boost” in the algorithm. It will show up in the news feeds of people who match your target audience, meaning more eyes on your content. 

One of the benefits of boosted posts is that they’re simple; you don’t have to be Mark Zuckerberg to figure out how to start boosting posts on Facebook or Instagram. Creating them is pretty straightforward (the ‘Boost Post’ button is literally on every single piece of content you share), and in just a few minutes, your chosen post can be headlining your audiences’ news feed alongside hilarious cat memes and Barbie award drama. 

When boosting a post you’re given a handful of options that you can customize in order to reach your target audience. (Note that not all options are available across all platforms, and your targeting options may change based on where your boosted posts are placed.)

If you do not have a Business Manager connected to your Meta account, your targeting options will be significantly limited. For example, if you are boosting posts directly through the Instagram app, you may only be able to target based on age, gender, location and interests. If you do have a Business Manager, you can select other specific personal characteristics such as:

  • Age: Target users within specific age ranges.
  • Gender: Choose to target men, women, or all genders.
  • Location: Target by country, state, city, or even specific areas within a city.
  • Education: Target based on education level, fields of study, schools attended, etc.
  • Work: Target users based on their job title, industry, or employer.
  • Relationship Status: Options like single, in a relationship, married, etc.
  • Parental Status: Target parents, often further segmented by the age of children.
  • Interests: Target based on interests such as hobbies, favorite entertainment, sports, etc.
  • Income Level: Target based on estimated household income.
  • Life Events: Target users around specific life events like anniversaries, birthdays, new jobs, etc.
  • Connections: Target users who are connected to your page, in your local area, etc. 

You can set the duration of the boost, your budget, and what you would like the call to action button to say. All in all, you have a lot of ways to narrow down who you want your boosted post to be shown to, and what action you want them to take when they interact with your content.

Boosted posts can help grow your social audience, increase your reach, encourage engagement, and foster brand awareness. The shorter lifespan of boosted posts means they tend to be cheaper, too. If your goal is to get more eyes on your content, your social profile, or your brand, boosted posts could be a great choice for you. If you’re working with a small budget for social media marketing, boosted posts are also a perfect option.

Sounds like an easy button, right? So what’s the catch?

Boosted posts do have their limitations. While they’re great for visibility, they fall short when it comes to long-term advertising. If you’re looking for more customizability, unique content, lead generation, and testing capabilities, meet Ad Campaigns: Boosted Post’s slightly older, slightly more sophisticated, and slightly more attractive cousin.

Ad Campaigns

An ad campaign is created in Meta Ads Manager, which offers you increased control versus the Boost button you’ll see on your posts. Through Ads Manager, you’re able to create a fully unique piece of content to advertise with, and can even create a set of ads within one larger campaign. 

This allows you to perform multivariable tests with your content in order to track what your audience responded most favorably to. Are people more likely to click on your ad when you show Emsculpt treating the abs, or when you show it toning up a booty? Is your audience more interested in a 50% Off or a BOGO filler promotion? Ad campaigns can tell you.

Your targeting capabilities expand inside of Ads Manager, allowing you the ability to more precisely recognize and reach the people within your desired audience. Through this venue, you can provide Meta with a set of data, and ask it to seek out people who are similar to those listed. 

  • You can ask it to target people similar to the subscribers on your email list. 
  • You can ask it to target people similar to those who already follow your social media profiles. 
  • You can ask it to target people who have previously interacted with your ad campaign. 
  • You can even ask it to target people who have complained to their friends about their wrinkles today.

(Just kidding, we haven’t reached the listening-in-on-your-conversations level of shared information required for that last one yet. Though, I do find it odd how the Taco Bell ads seem to pop up at the exact same time I’m craving a Crunchwrap…)

Running an ad campaign is something that takes patience and commitment. As the ad runs, it can be optimized, both automatically and manually, and will continue to optimize your best targeting solutions. You should expect to run an ad campaign for multiple months. And you should be prepared for the fact that results or leads will likely not be immediate — the algorithm needs time to figure out your audience.

Boosted Posts vs. Ad Campaigns: Which Is Right for My Practice?

In order to identify which solution is best for your business, it’s important to first define your goals. When it comes to social media marketing, what does “success” mean to you? 

Are you looking to reach a high number of people and increase brand awareness? Then boosted posts are for you. 

Are you looking to generate leads for a specific procedure or service? Then ad campaigns are the way to go. 

Are you looking to take a week off and hibernate while an adultier adult covers all of your overwhelming responsibilities? Well, get in line, the Help Team hasn’t gotten back to us on that one yet.

Jokes aside, there are three major considerations when choosing between your two options: budget, bandwidth, and buy in. 


Budget is an important factor to consider when deciding which tools to use to market yourself on social media. Boosted posts require less financial commitment overall. A budget of $100 to $300 will serve you well with a boosted post. For an ad campaign, you should be prepared to spend $750 to $1500+ each month.

Keep in mind, though, that there is a difference in outcomes, namely in the ROI that comes in from a well-executed ad campaign.


What is your business's internal bandwidth or capacity for spending time on the management of your marketing? If you’re a small team or a solo entrepreneur, a set-it-and-forget-it boosted post would fit well within your capabilities. If you are partnered with an agency or have a dedicated marketing staff available, ad campaigns could be a hit for you. 

When running a lead generation ad campaign, it’s also essential that your business has internal processes in place to follow up with and convert the leads that come in. Do not start collecting leads via a social media ad campaign until you have this process solidified — you’ll just be wasting your time and money!

Buy In

And finally, how much are you willing to put into either of these programs? Are you just looking to dip your toes into the wild and wonderful world of social media marketing, or are you ready to jump in head first? 

If you don’t believe that ad campaigns can be beneficial, then you shouldn’t run them — odds are you will pull out too early or invest too little to actually see a positive return. 

Conversely, if you expect to see conversions from every dollar you spend, stay away from Boosted Posts — they are notoriously bad (read: not optimized) for lead generation. 

Whatever stage your practice is at, there is a solution to be found in either boosted posts or ad campaigns — the trick is just to figure out which one most closely aligns with your goals. But even figuring out those goals can be a tall order. So reach out to us if you find yourself in need of some guidance. We’d be happy to walk you through the process.