Did you know that your ability to reach Facebook followers has been declining since at least 2014? If you’ve noticed that your fan engagement has been dropping, it’s not your imagination. In February 2012, organic reach was approximately 16% before dropping off drastically. You can thank changes in the Facebook News Feed algorithm for fewer clicks, comments, and shares.
Current estimates put the average business’ organic reach on Facebook’s Newsfeed at about 5.2%. That means if you have 1,000 followers, only 52 will see your unpromoted post. If none of those 52 engage with your post, it will essentially die there, and no one outside of your following will see it.
Regardless of your following size, they also don’t want to be bombarded with advertisements for your goods and services. However, lead generation is significantly more difficult with purely organic posts. Luckily, there is a solution that is not as overt as traditional promotional ads. The answer: use Facebook Dark Posts.
What Is a Facebook Dark Post?
A Facebook dark post isn’t the social media giant’s answer to film noir. A dark post is essentially an unpublished page post. While it never appears anywhere on the advertiser’s Facebook page, the sponsored ad does show up interspersed with the organic posts in the news feeds of a select group of users. Because dark posts are hyper-targeted based on interests, they result in higher engagement.
A Facebook Dark Post is different than a boosted post. While a boosted post will organically appear in a user’s timeline, dark posts only appear to the targeted recipients as sponsored ads. Boosted posts are an effective way to build community and generate website traffic. However, dark posts are the better strategy if your focus is lead generation.
Why Are Dark Posts Growing in Popularity?
Wouldn’t it be remarkable to be able to send specific messages directly to the people who have the exact personality traits you are seeking? Perhaps you have a service that you want to advertise only to certain patients. For instance, if you offer LASIK surgery, you’ll want to eliminate anyone under the age of 18 from your pool of potential patients, as well as those who have had the surgery recently. With dark posts, you have much more control over what ads your audience sees, allowing you to test audience reaction in new segments before expanding more widely.
1. Reach Your Target Audience
Dark posts take advantage of Facebook Ad targeting capabilities to reach prospects who are likely to be interested but may have never heard of your services before. It works by narrowing down the target audience based on interests. You can also tighten the scope of who sees the posts even further to show it only to a specific group of followers. Though the target group is comparatively small, the specificity increases the likelihood of interest and response.
2. Segment Your Offerings
Different services appeal to different demographics and psychographics. If you are looking to increase your prospective patient pool for a treatment or surgery, you will want to target recipients that will not only be interested but will be the best candidates for the surgery. Advertising the right service to the right market segment has a markedly greater impact, returning up to a 43% higher clickthrough rate, 30% lower average cost per acquisition, 22% higher conversion rate, and 15% reduction in cost per click.
3. Minimize Follower’s Exposure to Ads
Social media users have a finite tolerance for ads. Marketers must walk a fine line between promoting brand awareness and creating leads without inundating users with promotional messages. Without dark posts, your newsfeed will be flooded with ads that will turn off existing leads and clients. Instead, only the users you have identified as the most open to your message will receive a dark post.
4. A/B Testing
Before investing fully in a marketing campaign, many marketers conduct A/B or split testing to see how different variables impact audience reaction or engagement. It is a controlled experiment that enables data-backed decisions to drive specific metrics. With dark posts, you can conduct your testing with a small group before making expensive decisions.
5. Appear More Organic
When your newsfeed has no ads or sales-related messaging, it looks more organic to anyone that happens upon your social media profile. Because dark posts are unpublished posts, they don’t show up in your page’s timeline. Instead, they are served up as sponsored ads only on specific users’ news feeds in a format that allows them to blend in with organic posts.
Combining Boosted Posts and Dark Posts
While consumers want to know about the latest or greatest products or services, they don’t want to be sold. Anyone who has been online understands that merely clicking a promotional post by mistake can trigger an avalanche of ads that may be irrelevant to the user. That isn’t necessarily the best introduction to your brand. Nor is it the most effective use of your marketing budget.
Social media is a powerful marketing platform. The most compelling and impactful social media campaigns are a blend of marketing tactics. Boosted posts are ideal for building and engaging a following by highlighting your most popular organic content. Dark posts do the heavy lifting when it comes to generating leads and advertising services.