Facebook Promoted Status vs. Facebook Ads — Which to Use?

Facebook Promoted Status vs. Facebook Ads — Which to Use?

Jun 26, 2012

Earlier this year Facebook announced that the average brand status update only reaches 16 percent of its audience.  The Girardbrewer.com team thinks there’s something that can be done about that fact.

To address the issue of paltry reach, Facebook has introduced a new feature for business pages that can help page administrators monitor their effectiveness and affordably increase their reach.

Facebook Promoted Status Updates

“Promoted status updates” is a new Facebook feature that allows you to see your reach and buy more “attention.”  Promoted status updates are a way for a page administrator to ensure greater exposure to a specific status update.  This would equate to purchased affinity.

If you have an important announcement, a big sale or a significant event, promoted status updates might be an affordable option to consider.  The feature is only available to pages with more than 400 likes so, as your page grows in likes, it will cost more money to reach more people.

Facebook Ads & Sponsored Stories 

Promoted status updates compares with Google AdWords, Google’s main advertising product and main source of revenue.  The Google AdWords program (the ad SELLING system run by Google) enables you to create ads that will appear on relevant Google search results pages and Google’s network of partner sites.

With Facebook Ads or Sponsored Stories, you can define your target audience based on location, sex, age, likes and interests, broad categories, relationships, etc.  There’s no set cost for ads or sponsored stories, and as an advertiser, you can control how much you spend for each campaign.

Which is better–Facebook Promoted Status Updates or Facebook Ads?

For help, we turned to SEO expert Steve Wiideman’s That Training Guide, a destination website for keeping up with marketing tactics, advanced online promotion strategies and industry secrets in SEO, affiliate marketing, PPC advertising, email marketing, banner/media advertising and more.   Steve’s response: he’s recently been asked about that very issue.

From Mike H.:

“This promoted post thing on Facebook is unnerving me.  I can’t be understanding this correctly – that they’re limiting exposure to your fans unless you pay… please tell me that’s not what’s happening. I ALREADY PAID FACEBOOK TO GET (some of) THE FANS!!

Wiideman’s answer:

The general opinion of business folks is that Promoted Status is a trick Facebook has had in their back pocket for awhile.

When the “Oh Sh**” moment happened during the Facebook IPO, where investors were concerned about lower estimates due to ads not appearing for tablet (app) users, someone at the top said, “Raise our projections!”  This caused someone at the bottom to pull out the Ace of Spades from Facebook’s bag of tricks.  Ergo, Facebook Promoted Status was born.

So it’s here now, but what’s the difference?

Facebook Ads are much like AdWords and AdCenter, where you pay per click (PPC) or per impressions (views).  Tracking parameters can be used on external URLs, A/B and multi-variant testing can be performed, and the campaigns can be managed by third-party tools to help optimize and improve results from your advertising strategy in Facebook.

Facebook Promoted Status is a completely different monster and much easier to use.  Click here for a video (no sound) of me creating a promoted status in a few seconds for $10 flat.

There’s no campaign involved, no recurring fees, no third-party tools (at least not yet) to manage with, and not much in terms of analytics outside of how many views (percentage of your audience) your status received.

Status updates (promoted or not) are only seen by users who Like a Page.  The difference is that the status will be shown to a greater percentage of Likers than it otherwise would have been if based on their “magic box algorithm.”

Facebook Ads, on the other hand, are displayed to whomever you’re targeting within Facebook.

By the way, Promoted Status updates only work on Pages, not profiles.  For those of you who setup a different Facebook profile for your business instead of a page (you know who you are), this feature will not help you, but it should encourage you to move your friends to the business page instead of having them “friend” your fake or duplicate profile.


Do both Facebook Ads and Promoted Updates as appropriate to the campaigns you’re working on.  For example, you don’t create an ad when you have an awesome post on the blog you want to share, but you could definitely benefit from more visibility after you share the post via your Facebook page.

My Content Marketing Checklist only has ONE change: Where I previously had “Update Facebook Status with a Link to the Content,” it now says “Promote Facebook Status with a Link to the Content.”