Friday, December 8, 2017

Ads Versus Posts on Facebook and Instagram

Difficulty Level: 

Ever scrolled through your feed on Facebook or Instagram and wondered why some posts look a little bit different? If that's the case, you're likely looking at advertisements! Now that social media is a major force for advertising, companies will often use both posts and ads to reach the audience they want. So, if you've seen posts and ads from the same company, you might be a little confused as to which is which. Here are some key differences that will help the average person be able to tell what they're looking at!

Firstly, if you're already familiar with boosted posts, then you might be a little bit more advanced than the intended reader for this guide; we're strictly talking about organic posts. 

Posts are created within the Facebook page and continue to live on that page unless they are deleted. They are marked by the time and date they were published. Beneath that is an area for copy. That might be all that is included in a certain post. Whoever is posting has the option to include a photo, video, or link, which will appear below the copy. The primary function of posts is to generate engagements (likes, comments, and shares).

On the other hand, ads do not live on the Facebook page; ads only exist in the Newsfeeds of those you choose to target. Ads can also only be created in one of Facebook's two platforms: Ads Manager or Power Editor. They are clearly marked by the word "sponsored." This pops up underneath the page name. Below that is an area for copy, followed by the image or video for the ad, and finally the headline. In the bottom right corner is the "CTA" (call-to-action) button. This can be a variety of messaging like Learn More, Shop Now, Sign Up, etc. This means the ads will often be prompting the Facebook user to do more than just like, comment or share. They are trying to accomplish a goal which, again, can be a variety of things such as click to an external site, watch a video, start shopping and so on.

Posts on Instagram are similar to posts on Facebook in that they both are seeking to achieve social engagements like comments and likes. The biggest distinguisher between posts and ads on Instagram are two key things. One, on ads, it will say "sponsored" beneath the Instagram page's name. Second, the CTA button gets moved up look like a banner beneath the image or video. So, if what you're looking at does not say "sponsored" and does not have the CTA button, you're looking at a post!

Hopefully, these key differences will help you in being able to distinguish between ads and posts as you scroll through your Facebook and Instagram feeds. Stay tuned for more detailed videos on these topics. We highly recommend checking out the video below to accompany what you've read here. 

Video resource: