29 November 2016

Not a Shot in the Dark: How Dark Posts on Facebook Can Improve Your Advertising Strategy

  • Dark posts on Facebook
James Ashe, Managing Partner

We’ve officially gone over to the dark side! Dark posts on Facebook offer a fantastic way of targeting multiple audiences without confusing them with conflicting messages.

Although there’s a lot of chatter about dark posts on Facebook at the moment, we’ve actually been using them for a few years to help our clients advertise their events and offers. Dark posts are also known as unpublished posts, and are Facebook adverts that appear directly on a follower’s News Feed but aren’t published onto your page’s timeline.

So, why is this so important? We think that there are three major reasons for incorporating dark posts into your Facebook advertising strategy.

A subtle shift in message

There is very rarely a ‘one-post-fits-all’ scenario when marketing your latest product. Whether you’re promoting an event, an offer or a brand-new product, you are bound to have multiple audiences that will be interested, but will be hooked by different criteria.

When marketing a comedy night for Chateau Impney, we had to reach out to a variety of different people in the local area – from ladies looking for a laugh to couples going out on a date night. In order to do that, we segmented the audience local to the Chateau and used dark posts to create ads that featured the same graphics, but contained a different message to compel them to book. Therefore, you could have two people in the same family seeing totally unique adverts.

Chateau Impney Facebook campaign by Alias, a social media agency in Cheltenham

This strategy proved to be highly effective – following the introduction of separate ads, there was an 80% increase in clicks to the event page, compared to when we used one advert that targeted everyone in the local area.

Testing the water

The other huge advantage of using dark posts instead of boosted posts is that you have ample opportunity to test what works and what doesn’t without bombarding your entire follower base.

By targeting different ads to unique segments of your audience, you can test which advert is more effective. Thanks to Facebook’s targeting tools, this could mean that you present two different posts to the same demographic, but located several miles apart – allowing you to effectively see what that audience responds to best.

Exclusive offers

What if you’ve got a great offer planned to entice new customers, but you don’t want to upset your existing ones? Dark posts are a great way of ensuring those existing customers won’t see that new offer on their News Feed. As well as being able to target your ads to specific demographics, you can make sure that certain groups are excluded – perfect when you need to push that new sign-up bonus.

According to the Facebook 2017 Advertising Budget Benchmark Index, more and more businesses are shifting away from boosting existing posts and allocating their budget to dark posts. In return, the dark post ads tend to receive engagement for a much longer period of time – around 14 days longer than a boosted post. Maybe it’s time you joined us on the dark side!

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# Facebook, Social Media, Advertising, Social Media Advertising

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