With social media marketing becoming more and more saturated, social proof is become more and more important. We all know that a page with more like, and better engagement is much more likely to be a reputable source than one with little to no like and zero engagement. But what about your Facebook ads? Before a potential customer ever sees your Facebook page, they will most likely come in contact with your Facebook ad.

Post engagement is extremely important on your ads for 2 reasons. Social Proof and Relevant score. The level of engagement on your ad post determines how relevant your post is to your targeted audience.

Below are two identical ads. Which one do you find more attractive?

How Social Proof Effects Ad Performance

To clearly understand why social proof is so important, I need to first explain how Facebook’s ad auction actually works. When deciding which ads to display to an audience Facebook takes 2 things into consideration. First is the total bid amount and the second is your ads relevance score.

If two advertiser are both targeting the exact same audience with your ad and have entered exact same bid amount, the advertisers ad with the higher relevance score will be displayed more often as well as cost the advertiser less. A higher relevance score will lead to better ad delivers and lower ad cost, which will lead to a much better conversion rate effectively lowering your cost per customer acquisition.

Facebook determines a posts relevance score (scale of 1-10) by calculated positive feedback vs feedback. Now, Facebook does not give us an exact measure of what counts as positive and negative feedback, but what we do know, is that that engagement in general counts as positive feedback. That means likes, comments, shares, and clicks. When a user hides your ad, this counts as negative feedback and tells Facebook that your ad is not relevant to them.

Post engagement effect your relevance score in two ways. Since each engagement is considered positive feedback this show Facebook that your ad is more relevant to your targeted audience. A post will more engagement will usually attract a user, resulting in them engagement with your ad themselves. This, in itself will lead to a higher click rate which will in turn lead to a higher relevance score.


What is a “Dark” Post?

A dark post is specifically used for Facebook News-feed ads. Facebook officially calls them ‘unpublished posts’. They look exactly the same as a page post, however they are not displayed on your Facebook page and are only used for ads. This let a brand to create multiple ads without flooding their Facebook Page.

There are actually two different kinds of dark “unpublished” posts. The first is one which is created automatically by Facebook when you create a news feed ad, the others is one which is created manually by the advertiser. The only difference between the two is how the post is created.

When you create a stand ads on Facebook, you either go to your power editor or ad manager and click “Create Ad”. After you design your ad, Facebook automatically creates an unpublished post with a unique “Post ID”. You can see these posts in the “Page Posts” area in your ads manager. Every time you create a new ad, Facebook creates a new dark “unpublished” post even if you are using identical ad creative.

For example, if you want to test an ad across two separate ad sets with different audiences each. You create ‘ad set 1’ and ‘ad set 2’. In each ad set you create identical ads with identical images and ad copy. Facebook will create a new dark “unpublished” post for each separate ad in each separate ad set. Whenever someone engages on ad 1 in ad set 1, it will not reflect on ad 2 in ad set 2.

When letting Facebook create a new post for each ad, the social proof you receive on each ad will only accumulate on the post that is being displayed to it’s specific ad set audience. This is not optimal if you are trying to get the best possible relevance score. This is where “Dark Posts” come into play.

How to create a “Dark Post” Facebook Ad

Step 1: Creating an Unpublished ‘Page Post’

To create an unpublished page post, you will need to go into your ads manager menu and click on “Page Post” under “Create and Manage”.



In the page post manager click on “Create a Post” which will bring up a window shown below:


After you have designed the ad, you will select the radio button at the bottom that says “This post will only be used as an ad”. This will prevent the post from being displayed on your brands Facebook Page.

After you click “Create Post, your new ad will show up in the page post manager as well as its POST ID. You will use this POST ID to create a new ad with this unpublished post. Make sure to copy the ID or keep your post manager open in another window.


Step 2: Create a News feed Ad

After you have created an unpublished post, head on over to your power editor where you will create a new ad using your unpublished post. First create your campaign then ads set.

In the ad creation window click on the tab “Use Existing Post” and post your unpublished POST ID that you copied from  before.



You will then see a preview of the unpublished post you created earlier on right side of the ad creation window.



You are able to utilize the same Dark Post for as many new ads as you need by simply duplicating this process over and over.

Dark Posts Consolidates Social Proof

Rather than allowing Facebook to automatically create a new unpublished post for each and every new ad you create, manually creating unpublished posts  makes Facebook use the same ad across all your campaigns and ad sets. This will combine your social proof across all your ads with the same ad creative. Below is a visual of how this works.

Normal Ads

Dark Post Ads


If you are anything like us here at Branch Marketing, you split test like crazy. So you may be creating 25 ads within one campaign across multiple ads sets. Not only do dark post help boost your engagement and effectively lower your ad spend, they also allow you to only have to monitor and respond to one set of comments across your entire campaign.