what are facebook dark posts

What Are Facebook Dark Posts and How to Use Them for Marketing

Alright, let’s first clear the air around what exactly Facebook Dark Posts are.

Facebook Dark Posts sounds a bit evil. Yes? But they’re not some voodoo ads doing the rounds on the internet or on Facebook. They are called dark posts because they are targeted pieces of content for a select audience. Dark posts are one of the categories of digital advertising that defy transparency and are first known to have been developed by Facebook.

“They’re for when you don’t want to mess with the character of your core timeline because it’s content for a specific audience.” — Tom Edwards, CDO of Epsilon.

Dark posts came into play when targeting options were primitive and challenging on Facebook. These days they’re simply known as unpublished posts because these social media posts are not published on a Facebook page for all to see. Dark posts allowed marketers to promote content to a specific demographic within their page followers.

Why Facebook Dark Posts

Imagine this—you have 5 different products you sell under one brand name. Each product appeals to a different kind of audience. Facebook encourages businesses to create ads. It’s quite evident from their recent revenue reports. Ideally, you would create 5 separate ads and then publish them. Guess what just happened? All 5 different ads for each of those 5 products and audience type landed in the same news feed. You probably made it worse with A/B testing which means more than 5 ads landed in one stream.

But, Facebook dark posts can save you some embarrassment and page unlikes. With dark posts, you can run ads for each product for the specific audience without overwhelming the news feed. You can also A/B test them and no user will see any other ad apart from the one meant for them.

By now, you’ve recognized the advertising possibilities of dark posts. So, without wasting a minute more, let me show you how you can create a Facebook dark post.

How To Create a Facebook Dark Post

  1. Go to Power Editor.
  2. Click Power Editor at the top of the page
Power Editor-Facebook
Power Editor-Facebook
  1. Select Page Post.
Facebook Dark Post Creator
Facebook Dark Post Creator
  1. If you manage multiple Pages, select the Page you want to create an unpublished post for from the top left drop-down menu.
  2. Click Create Post button.
  3. Choose the type of post you want to create and fill in the details you want to include in the post.
  4. Choose how you want the post to appear – as an ad or on your page.
  5. Click Create Post.
  6. Check the box next to it and select an option from the Actions drop-down.

How To Use Facebook Dark Posts

Wasn’t that easy? There are 4 different ways to use Facebook dark posts to your advantage.

1. Target Audience Based on Interests

Target Audience Based on Interests

Customers of any brand are diverse. Though they purchase from the same brand, their tastes, choices, and interests are distinct. The best way to target individual interest groups is by using selective content that speaks to each of the groups directly. For this, you’ll be creating multiple variations of a post to target different user interests. However, you would not want all of them showing on your page. That’s when you can use Facebook dark posts. It makes A/B testing and targeting possible at the same time without overwhelming the user. Agencies especially can make use of dark posts. They already provide multiple digital marketing services to their clients. Dark posts can be an effective tool to improve their client’s social performance.

You’ll not only be gathering data on users’ engagement with posts, you’ll also be able to decide which ones worked best. Based on that information, you can share the best posts on the page for all to see.

2. Micro Campaigns

Every time you want to launch a social campaign, you want to test to see how it reaches the audience. You want to test the ads on a smaller group of people to see whether it will have the desired impact on your audience. This calls for micro-campaigns.

With dark posts, you can run micro campaigns to see how each of the sample group in the target audience respond to the ads. Based on their response, you can decide whether or not you wish to show the ads to all of the target audience. In this way, you can reduce the risk of breaking your overall social strategy.

3. Relevant Images

Relevant Images

We all know that relevant images add value and reach to an ad or post. Similar to keywords and headlines, use images that speak to the target audience’s sentiments and interests. This will ensure better engagement with ads and posts.

Use multiple images for the same headline or different images with different headlines. All this can be done easily through Facebook dark posts without making your page overflow with so many public posts.

4. Get Feedback

It’s common knowledge that Facebook is one of the best places to get feedback and find people to beta test your products. However, finding the right audience can be tiresome. Moreover, setting up demographic criteria for this task and posting it on your page for public view can alienate some of your fans.

That’s right! Facebook dark posts can solve that problem for you. You can create individual feedback forms or invites for beta testing and share them with the target audience alone. This way no one outside the target group is aware of these posts. It also saves a great deal of time sorting through your page followers for the right target group.

A Final Note on Facebook Dark Posts

By now, you know Facebook dark posts can work wonders for your social media strategy. With so many creative ways to use them, the possibilities are limitless. But do remember that Facebook is not a private platform. The purpose of Facebook is for users to network openly. This means sending out too many targeted messages may break the momentum of your fan following. So don’t overdo Facebook dark posts; use them wisely.

You need to also keep in mind that, too much A/B testing and niche targeting can make you stray away from your brand image. Your page should be a place where your fans can gain value as a community.

Having said that, it’s time for you to explore Facebook dark posts as part of your Facebook marketing. Give them a try!

Hero photo by Melanie Deziel on Unsplash

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Nikhil Premanandan
Nikhil Premanandan

Nikhil Premanandan is an expert on Video Marketing. Nikhil is the head of marketing currently at Hippo Video, a video personalization, and distribution platform. He likes to experiment with videos consistently and document his experiences in his blogs. When he's not working you can find him digging through the latest exploits of Tom Hanks and Steve Carell.

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One comment

  1. Great Post. Not a lot of small businesses (in my location) know about this. I see a lot of cluttered timelines with many sakes messages. They are very useful!

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