What are Facebook dark posts?

Just in case you had your hopes up – creating dark posts on Facebook is neither spooky nor Star Wars related. I know, I was also a little disappointed. Facebook dark posts are a type of news feed ad that actually doesn’t organically post on your timeline and therefore not on your followers’ or fans’ news feeds. Dark posts are segmented to different audiences and followers. These dark posts can be anything from photos, videos, and status updates, to offers and promotions via links.

Facebook dark posts vs. traditional Facebook ads

Apart from dark posts, there are 2 other well-known advertising techniques on Facebook. The first would be banner ads than run on the side of your screen. Recently, banner ads have seen a decline in effectiveness – CTR are now an estimated less than .1%.The second method for advertising would be your classic “booster” ads which can seem spammy so people are definitely less likely to click on them – they may even unfollow or unlike your page. Dark posts are a great alternative in the sense that content is curated to your targeted audience without making them feel bombarded with ads. Additionally, dark posts don’t appear as banner ads on the sides of screens – dark posts actually appear as part of your audience’s feed.


Here’s why you should use these stealth posts:

1. Segment your audience by targeting

Within your group of fans or followers, there are sub-groups with specific interests. Since these groups identify differently, they won’t all respond to the same content in the same way. By targeting these sub-groups with keywords that relate to their specific interests of your product or brand, your followers will feel like your content has been tailored to them, and take value from those posts.

2. Run micro campaigns

Creating a sure-fire social media strategy can be tricky when it comes to creating a strategy that’s attractive to your audience as a whole. Dark posts allow you to cater to different campaigns at the same time, also allowing you to see which ones perform better if you would want to launch one of your micro campaigns on a mass scale.

3. You won’t annoy people (which could lead to unfollowing!!)

Elaborating on the first point, there’s nothing that makes followers want to hit that lethal UNFOLLOW or UNLIKE button like content they can’t relate to or with which they can’t identify. The whole point of a dark post is to segment posts according to audiences, ensuring that nobody feels swamped in a) too many posts or b) posts that don’t offer value.

4. Great for A/B testing

Say you’re not even testing different campaigns – dark posts can still help you perfect that post. Dark posts give the flexibility of changing fonts, colours, pictures or even the type of content. The results from which variations receive higher engagement, like CTR, can help you plan when it comes to mass campaigns and other Facebook Ads.

Gary Vaynerchuk talking about why you need to be using dark posts!

Steps to Creating Dark Posts on Facebook (aka unpublished posts)

  1. If you haven’t already, visit Facebook Ads Manager to create one for your Page (which you’ll also need, of course!) From Ads Manager, click the link to “Power Editor” , and then select “Page Posts” from the top dashboard. Then choose “Create Post” – you now have the power to choose content and any CTA, among other details. The key thing to remember here is the bottom setting – choosing this post as an ad or being published on your page. In order for this to be a dark post, choose the post as an ad – this ensures that only those you’ve chosen will see the post. Then hit “Create Post!”

step 1 dark post

2. Now, head back to the Manage Ads section. You need to ensure that a targeted ad set for each post is created. Select the “Create Campaign” button – from here you can choose to create a new campaign and ad set and name them.

step 2 dark post


3. Once you’ve done that, check the box next to the campaign you’re working on and click the pencil (edit) icon. A new window will pop open – you now have the power to choose which lucky people will get to see your awesome posts. Click on “Edit Audience” to make these alterations. You can also make any changes as to where you would like the post to appear. Once you’re happy with changes made, select ” Create an Ad”.

new dark post edit

You’re so close! This is last step!

4. Once you’re happy with your completed post and changes, select the campaign and hit “Review Changes” on the top right-hand corner to upload and launch your ad!

Review changes button

Your first Facebook dark post – done! You’ll need to repeat this process for every dark post! So, what do you think? Have YOU used dark posts before? With all the advantages to these spooky posts, why not give them a try yourself!


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