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December 1, 2014

Engaging Customers on Facebook With Dark Posts

Lori Wilson | UWEBC Marketing & Communications Manager

There are a dizzying array of social media channels, strategies and tactics for marketers. On Facebook alone, you can create, promote and boost posts, ads, pages, events and more. At the November 13 Web and Multichannel Marketing Peer Group meeting, UWEBC members discussed social media strategies that have worked well for them.

Sara Gomach and Chris Uschan, with Acumium, introduced a Facebook tactic that is still relatively new and unknown. Even its name is shrouded in mystery: the dark post.

What is a dark post?
A dark post is an unpublished page post that does not appear on your profile’s Timeline. However, it is posted to News Feeds and can be promoted. A dark post looks identical to a regular page post, unless you promote it.

Promoting dark posts is similar to Facebook advertisements. You can adjust targeting and segmenting, set a budget and campaign length, and select your objective (such as clicks to website or page likes). Once promoted, a dark post will be labeled as “sponsored,” but will still appear in News Feeds.

When would I use a dark post instead of a regular post?
Because a dark post does not show on your Timeline, it is ideal for promotions. If your traditional posts are focused on content marketing, you can streamline your Timeline to only show engaging or educational content. By keeping promotions off your Timeline, your profile page is clean, meaning it’s less overwhelming and more useful to visitors.

You can conduct A/B testing against traditional Facebook ads or other dark posts by controlling the dark post’s budget, audience and other factors.

What are the advantages of using a dark post instead of a traditional ad?
Acumium has found it to be an effective way to test and advertise on Facebook while lowering the cost-per-click.

“Marketers are learning that not all ad types are created equal,” Sara Gomach, Content/Social Marketing Specialist with Acumium said. “The main intent of a dark post is to A/B test ad content before promotion, to ensure that the content posted is the best bang for your buck. We have found success recently using this strategy to test before promoting the most successful version of an ad. It takes a little more time, but the results are well worth it.”

How do I create a dark post?
Sara recommends using Facebook’s Power Editor to create dark posts. Power Editor is an advertising tool that has all of the same features as the Ad Create tool, but is tailored for advanced users who generate and manage many ads in bulk quantities. Using Power Editor, you can create and set budgeting and targeting parameters for your dark post.

There are a variety of helpful resources to help you learn more about and create dark posts, but because the subject isn’t as well-known, you may need to link together different sources for a comprehensive education. Acumium has found jonloomer.com to be a valuable resource for learning more.


Member companies can access Acumium’s presentation and dark post tool here.
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