Dark posts are targeted ads on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media. Unlike boosted and organic posts, however, dark posts don’t appear on your timeline. Nor do they show up in the feeds of the people who follow you. Instead, dark posts show up as sponsored content in the feeds of users you are specifically targeting. They’re not published like organic posts, so they’re more formally known on Facebook as unpublished posts. A lot of marketers use a combination of boosted posts and dark posts because of their effectiveness in encouraging conversion. A survey from Curalate shows that across all social media channels, 76% of consumers buy products discovered through social media. According to SocialPilot, however, the average reach of an organic Facebook post is at only 5.2% of the page’s total likes, highlighting the need to invest in boosted and dark posts on Facebook to increase reach.
1. How do Dark Posts Work?
They’re called ‘dark posts’ because they’re not officially on your page and only exist for the users your brand is specifically targeting. To be clear, however, dark posts are completely unrelated to dark social, which refers to traffic from social media to your website that isn’t detected by analytical tools. Dark social refers to traffic to your website from social media that isn’t detected by analytics tools. Dark posts, on the other hand, are simply social media ads that don’t show up on your timeline. Facebook invented dark posting, but it has since existed on various social media platforms. It continues to be an effective format on most social media. Whether you’re advertising on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, or another social platform, you can choose to either boost organic content or create a dark post.
2. What Are The Benefits of Dark Posting?
Part of creating a rock-solid social media strategy for a brand, involves being able to accurately, flexibly, and reliably garner data that influences your audience – without directly impacting your organic content. Some of the ways in which dark posting accomplishes this are:
It Allows You To Work Around Content Schedules. With dark posts, you don’t have to tamper with your existing content publishing plans – if you have some hot, relevant content, and want it to hit audiences without breaking up your schedule, dark posting can get the job done.
It Allows You To Push Sales Content Without Compromising On Your Feed. As dark posts aren’t part of your feed, you can use them to push more CTA-style content to your audiences. This allows you to grab quicker sales, but without turning your social media feed into an unnecessarily pushy hellscape.
It Allows For Quick A/B Testing. Let’s say you’re testing out two content variations – one that’s text-heavy, while the other focuses on images. Regular posts will simply crowd your page with copy variations, while dark posts allow you to track each post’s performance individually and make key decisions about your copywriting style and design choices.
3. Facebook Dark Posts
A Facebook dark post is also called an ‘unpublished page.’ It’s an ad that isn’t published on an advertiser’s feed or Business Page. Rather, it shows up on the feeds of targeted customers only. To advertise via Facebook dark posts, you can use Facebook Ad Manager and choose how you want to distribute them. Facebook dark posts are great for testing out results for A/B testing because you can test out ads with consumers and decide on what to send out to new audiences. Dark posting allows you to control how many times specific audiences see certain posts. Essentially, you can manage how the ad is seen, scheduling it for a future date, or making it part of a promotion under a larger set of campaign materials.
4. Instagram Dark Posts
Instagram dark posts are similar to those of Facebook. They don’t appear on the advertiser’s timeline, page, or stories. They instead appear on the feeds and stories of targeted audiences. A ‘sponsored’ tag likewise appears at the top, as well as a call to action at the bottom. Essentially, if you think of it this way, all Instagram ads are dark posts. If you run an Instagram page, you can use your own brand for dark posting. You can also use your brand ambassadors’ pages, as well as those of other influencers who’ve agreed to promote your brand.
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