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What are Facebook Dark Posts?

June 2, 2015

All digital marketers have a few social media marketing tips up their sleeves, and lately, more of them are using Facebook Dark Posts to get the job done. Want to get in on the secret? Here is everything you need to know about Facebook Dark Posts and how you can use them in your marketing strategy.

Why Use Facebook Dark Posts?

So what does this tactic involve and how can you use it for your marketing purposes?

Basically, a Facebook Dark Post is a news feed-style ad that does not appear on your timeline. Essentially, it’s like the Isle de Muerta in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie: it can only be found by those who already know where it is.

With Dark Posts, you can create an ad with a very specific message for an audience and ensure that it will appear on your timeline or their news feed. You can target those who have already liked your page or other new customers, but only those who you target will ever see the ad.

Let’s say you’re a digital marketer for a high education institution. Your Facebook followers consist of alumni, current students, new students and prospective students. You want to inform prospective students about upcoming class signups, and there’s a new alumni magazine recently launched that graduated students can pay to subscribe to.

Rather than sending out multiple messages about both events to everyone, you can use Facebook Dark Posts to target one group at a time. Once you craft your ad, you can decide which followers you want to send it to and avoid sending it to people who have no interest in the subject. The ad will not be posted like a status update to your wall, so most of your followers will never even know anything was ever posted.

This means that alumni won’t be bothered with messages about new classes, and prospective students won’t get constant updates about the new magazine. At the same time, current and new students who aren’t targeted at all will never see the ads clog up their newsfeeds.

So to sum it up, Dark Posts benefit you because:

  • They help you send your ads to those who are most likely to act on them.
  • They allow for easier A/B testing as you can send several versions of a more general ad to different sectors of your audience and see which one does best.
  • They stop you from overposting and annoying followers, which means fewer unfollows.

So theoretically, you could set up 10 different versions of the same ad, divide your followers into 10 groups and send one version of the ad to each group. Not only will you be able to see which version of the ad does best, but you’ll also avoid overposting. No group will see the other ads, so to them, you’ll have posted one ad when in reality you’ve posted 10.

Sounds pretty cool, right? Let’s see how this is done.

Facebook Dark Posts

How to Use Dark Posts

Follow these steps to create a Dark Post and get started with Facebook advertising:

  1. Log into your Facebook Ad Manager page and go to the Manage Pages section. Be sure you select the right page.
  2. Use Power Editor to create the ad you like. Make sure you check “This post will only be used as an ad” so you don’t accidentally publish it to your wall. Create the ad you want using clever copy and eye-catching images to get your message across.
  3. Once you’re ready to publish the ad, submit it and preview it to ensure it looks exactly as you want it to.
  4. Now go back to Facebook Ad Manager and create a campaign for each ad. Click “Create Ad” and choose the audience you want. Don’t forget, you will have to pay for these ads.
  5. Now publish it!

Your job is not quite done yet. You still need to monitor your ads and keep them well organized so you can see what is working for you and what isn’t.

When it comes to A/B testing on Facebook, no other type of advertising can compare. Remember though, this is not organic reach, so you will have to do that as well. If everything goes well though, your Facebook Dark Posts will help you choose the best headlines, copy and images for your organic reach ads and make them more effective.

About the Author

MichaelBird_HeadshotMike Bird is a co-founder of digital marketing agency, Social Garden, which specializes in data-driven lead generation & marketing automation to grow companies’ revenue in the finance, property and education verticals in Australia.

Mike is an influencer in the social media marketing & Facebook advertising space and contributes to Social Media Examiner, Social Media Today, Yahoo! Business Advisor and most importantly, the Social Garden blog.