Reading Time: 9 minutes

Since Facebook realized that monetization was a crucial and key factor to survive (specially since its stock market entrance), Mark Zuckerberg teams have developed many ways to succeed. The main one is allowing companies to generate revenue through advertising. In deed, Social media becomes purely media now. Check our complete review about Facebook ad tools here and generally about Social media here. In term of best practice for Facebook advertising, the state of the art are the Unpublished posts.

Targeting is everything


Since Facebook allowed companies to talk to non-yet-fans about its pages, companies realized 2 things. The first one is that investments can be quite high and the second thing is that targeting is key. In deed, if you pay to engage with new people you better reach the right one, or let’s say the ones that interest your business. And Facebook became the king of targeting thanks to people’s Facebook personal profile. Every time you declare spontaneously what you like in terms of music, literature, movies, hobbies, etc.. you add more information to Facebook database that can be used by companies to better target appropriate advertising. So if you like to travel, you might get ads to join travel community pages or to benefit from travel agencies services. Targeting with Facebook ad manager is pretty much precise and fine. There are more than 50 different layers on your profiling tool, from relationship status, to education, age, interests or geographic topics. The goal being a perfect match between your company, your page and your message and the people you reach.

Fans acquisition vs Promoted Posts

When you are starting a Facebook fan page for your company, one of the first advertising actions you might do is what Facebook call fans acquisition. The idea is to tell to Facebook users that your page exist and that they should join your fan community. As Facebook will never do that without a financial reason behind, you need to start an awareness campaign. The idea is simple. The Ad manager will allow you to establish a potential audience and the build of an attractive message in order to recruit new fans.


With the Facebook tool, you can only play by the rules. Otherwise you can also find several companies that will provide you fake fans for a couple of dollars. It will be a waist of money and you might end up banned by Facebook. So you better play by the rules. And the rules are pretty simple. You decide your budget, you define your audience and what kind of person you wish to reach and you build an engaging message. This would display your message to thousands and sometimes millions of people. The ones interested by your message will click to your link and like your page. This phase is basically described as “Hello, I am this company and this is our official page. Join”.

Another tool very efficient is the promoted posts. As Facebook decides who should see your post or not, you often need to boost the visibility of your post towards your own fans. And the more it goes, the less people you reach without paying. 2 years ago, you could organically reach between 15 to 25% of your existing fan database without any problems. Today? You probably reach between 2 to 6% maximum. If you want to go beyond, you need to pay. So if you worked very hard to acquire a qualified fan base, lets say, of one million fans. Today, without any paid media, you can reach 20’000 to 60’000 people. And if you pay to push your post, then you might hope to get between 500’000 to 850’000. Of course you can go beyond your level of fans. Let’s say a page with 10’000 fans. You can boost a post you published to your fans and beyond. So depending on your budget, you can reach 30’000 to 400’000 fans. Depending on the message and the targeting, you might even end up with some new fans.

The unpublished post, paradox or real opportunity?

When you start doing a strong Facebook advertising strategy, you realize that all your messages cannot be published at the same time. While best practices proves that posting twice or 3times per week maximum is already a lot for a company’s page, advertising opportunities are growing. So how to place all your advertising messages in your timeline? Well, the answer is you don’t.  Facebook developed an option called Dark posts of Unpublished posts. This allows you to create ads that will not be published on your timeline. This allows to reach very targeted audience without messing up with your fan page. It might sound paradoxal placing content that will not be published in your timeline but actually this is part of the top best practices in terms of Facebook advertising. According to Facebook guidelines, the more you customize your message, the best results you get and the cheapest is your cost. The interest of the unpublished posts is in the fact that you can choose a very specific audience and offer a dedicated specific message without bothering your existing fans. You can use it for a recruitment process of a very specific new audience or to develop a specific theme. As you can imagine costs are also optimized and you might get a better return on investment. Here are some average results measured by InsideNetwork.

ROI-unpublished-posts-CTR ROI-unpublished-posts

The success of the unpublished posts is probably due to the evolution of Facebook users habits. Today, 1.2 billion people in the world have a Facebook account. 22% of total world population have a smartphone and 7% a tablet. Mobile is democratizing the usage of internet as it is cheaper to buy a phone or a tablet rather than a computer. In this sense, a majority of Facebook users access regularly their account via mobile. We also realize that in the past 2 years the average number of “friends and pages you like” per user went from 100 to 230. This increase of connections makes it harder to follow all the news in each people’s or company’s page. That is why the majority of Facebook users “consume” news updates directly in their newsfeed. Very few people visits the pages of their friends and of the companies they follow. visibility in the newsfeed is key because you might be simply invisible if you focus only on your timeline.


As we can see, the new habits of Facebook users brings an adaptation of advertisers to build their campaigns in a different way. And here how it works.

Unpublished posts, the tutorial

To create a Dark post or an Unpublished post here are the following steps. Fist of all you need to use Google Chrome or you need to download Power Editor from Facebook Ad manager. On the examples below, we used Google Chrome. In both cases the usage of the Power editor is crucial. If you are already a good Facebook advertiser, you are using Power editor anyway. If this is not the case, you might start now! Ok, first things first. When you get to the Ad Manager console, you have on the left sidebar the option “Power Editor”. You need to click on it (image below).


Once you are on Power Editor,  you might accept to synchronize your campaigns if it is your first time. You can do it as it does not change anything on your current settings. then on the top left side there is a drop down menu with the option Manage page. You click on it


By clicking on “Manage Page” you will need to choose which page you wish to use for your ad campaign. If you have several pages, you will be asked to choose one, if you have only one page, the choice is pretty straight forward :-).
The next step leads you to a “Posts” console. You can see all the posts you created. On top of the listing, you can see a button called “Create Post”. If you click on it, you have a new window that allow you to create a new post. You can Build your post with the different elements like texts, images and links. In the bottom part of this window, you have the interesting option about the unpublished posts. You can use the option: “This post will only be used as an ad” and it is said below “This post will not get organic distribution” (see below image).


Then, once you get the post ID, you can simply promote it via the ad manager method. This is a very interesting method for companies with intense and specific ads campaigns, or several product categories. It allows to keep the timeline “clean” and to manage the different messages among different target groups. According to Facebook, the tool might evolve in the future to become a super-ad-management system. It is definitely creating a new interest on the Power Editor tool, which professionalizes the advertising activity .

Please note that it is not only a money deal. If you wish to accomplished amazing results, your content needs to be highly engaging, interesting, qualitative and viral. The content quality is key to optimize your results, even on the advertising side. A last important highlight is about the engagement rate of your page. The less “interesting” a page is, the less the content of this page will be shown. So if you wish to keep your visibility high, you need to make sure your content is good and that you keep a high engagement rate.


Now you know how unpublished posts work and how you can go further in your Facebook advertising strategy.


Info sourced at Facebook website and Facebook blog. Images source here, here, here and here. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available.