Facebook dark post ads: A beginner’s guide to dark posting!

Facebook dark post ads are one of the common ways to avoid addressing the wrong audience. Let’s explore the concept and see how it can benefit your next advertising campaign.
In contemporary marketing, personalization is everything. Social media users are constantly exposed to numerous ads, and they no longer have the patience for spam. What they want is content that resonates with their personal interests and needs. In times when more than 70% of consumers are irritated by non-personalized emails, cross-channel marketing is the future. This type of marketing focuses on reaching customers through multiple online channels and builds trust based on a relevant, hyper-personalized experience.

It was the rapid development of technology that enabled personalized marketing. Although social media were invented only a decade or so ago, we can hardly imagine our lives without them. Social media marketing is crucial for promoting businesses these days.

With the development of technology, people were able to share more information about themselves with the online community. In turn, marketing managers had more information and tools to develop more interesting and appealing campaigns.

Always seeking more efficient forms of promoting, we now use data collection and analytics to understand our customers better. Once we do, we will try to offer only what they need. This saves a lot of their time and a lot of our resources.

Facebook dark post ads are one of the common ways to avoid addressing the wrong audience. Let’s explore the concept and see how it can benefit your next advertising campaign.

Who’s in the darkness? Facebook dark post ads explained...

Put simply, we will think of a Facebook ad to be dark if it fulfills the following three criteria:

• Carries the label “sponsored”.
• Comes from a page the user didn’t like and doesn’t follow and
are visible only to particular users.
In other words, they are in a way “hidden”, because it is impossible to find them on the official page or site of the brand. Facebook dark posts are tailored for the specific targeted audience and are visible only to them.

Usually, people relate the term “dark” with something illegal or immoral. Here, it’s not the case.

The only reason dark posts on Facebook are called “dark” is the fact that they are visible only to the members of the target audience. They can’t be found elsewhere, such as the company’s official page or site.

Ad transparency...

Although dark post ads are a common way of publishing ads across many social media these days, the concept originally started at Facebook. As the company was in the public eye following the elections in 2016, they decided to work on their ad transparency. In May 2018, Facebook launched the Ad Library option, which enabled any user to check the origins of an ad. The purpose of this option is to allow users to know what they are being offered and by whom. In the Ad Library section, a user can access all of the information regarding the ad and the brand behind it.

A user can see all of the ads currently run by a company. Additionally, they can also find out more about the company itself and further browse its ads. The same goes for dark post ads, which means that they aren’t that “dark” after all.
Sometimes, people tend to confuse Facebook dark posts with dark social, while these two terms don’t actually have much in common. Dark social is about the portion of social media traffic that common social media tools can’t detect. In the political domain, this powerful feature had some touchy implications. However, in business, it is well accepted and extremely useful. It enables marketing managers to experiment with the new audiences, get feedback, better tune in with the customers, and further improve their ad campaigns. The fact that many brands prefer dark posting to traditional organic posting shows clearly enough how useful it can be.

Benefits of dark posting...

First and foremost, the primary purpose of dark posting is lead generation and, of course, conversion. That is to say, dark posting is very good at exploring and acquiring new market segments and customers. Dark posts are a great way to explore new ideas, audiences, and markets. Once they explore a new potential audience, marketing managers often perform a test to see how different people will respond to different content. Thanks to this series of trials and errors (a.k.a. A/B testing or split testing), they learn about the potential customers. This knowledge is, of course, precious for future campaigns, and dark post ads enable this learning process.
Furthermore, it enables clear-cut targeting. This means that the chances are much higher your ad will end up with people who are actually interested in it. In turn, that implies that less resources will be wasted in presenting ads to people who will never even click on them, let alone buy the product. The fact that we offer to people what they actually want reduces the frustration everyone feels when spammed. The idea is to speak to the audience with understanding, offer a product that will meet their needs and desires, rather than urge people to buy something.
Learning about followers will of course improve the overall quality of the content. The most important elements of any social media post are titles, text, and visual content (photos and videos). Dark post ads enable us to experiment with all these elements, in order to find those that work best.

All these assets will most probably provide a more organic news feed for the followers. That is, people will get more meaningful content, while businesses will manage to find relevant customers with much less effort than before.

Create dark post ads on Facebook: A short guide

Making dark post ads is very easy. Just like any other ad, we create them by accessing the “Facebook Ads Manager” option. From there, by navigating through “Page posts” and “Ads”, we reach the “Create ads” selection. Finally, the place to create dark post ads is the “Create unpublished page post” option.

Then, we will configure the post by filling in the required information about the target audience. A call to action option is available as well. It is possible to be very specific about this matter on Facebook. Based on demographic characteristics (various age groups, gender, locations, styles, interests, languages, and many more), marketers have numerous categories to choose from. It is of course possible to change these settings, and it’s actually desirable to do so. Resizing and/or relocating your target audience is something we usually do after reviewing social media metrics. These crucial data are available on either Facebook itself or in some external tool.

There’s one essential thing to remember here. In order to create a proper dark post, we should choose the “Only use this post for an ad” option before publishing. It’s what will keep it from being shown anywhere else except on the walls of suitable users.

How to be more effective?

There are several ways to further increase the effectiveness of dark posting and make ads perform even better. There is a possibility to target audiences similar to those a brand already interacts with. With this option, the algorithm will send your unpublished posts and calls to action to those whose online presence indicates potential interest in your product. This will lead to new people seeing, liking, and commenting on the post. If a brand stays present and responds to interaction from this audience, this will most probably mean new customers in the future. It is possible to do this both manually or automatically. Usually, in cases where businesses are very active on social media, they opt for post-scheduling software that will automate the process.
Creativity is very important in social media marketing, and creative individuals will always be best at making authentic content. That’s why crediting content creators is one of the ways to promote authenticity and trust online. However, the regularity of posting and data analytics are crucial for ad performance as well. Therefore, many businesses agree that it’s the best solution to leave the latter to social media publishing software.

Dark posting on Instagram and other platforms...

On Facebook and Instagram, dark posting functions in a similar way. The only difference is that on this platform dark posting is practically a default way of publishing. The first step is to create an Instagram story or post with pictures, videos, or a photo/video carousel. Then, we choose who to target by selecting the standard categories based on demographics and online behavior. Most social networks provide dark posting option, such as LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.


Targeted ads are an invention of Facebook, but in the last couple of years they became a standard for most social media. Instead of calling them dark or unpublished ads, it would be better to say that targeted ads are exclusively dedicated to particular audiences.

Dark posts can be a very handy instrument of every brand strategy. Not only do they provide customers with personalized content, but they also allow experimenting with branding tactics. Thus, they provide an opportunity for marketing managers to learn from experience. One should keep in mind that dark posting is not only about creating calls to action and posting but also about data analytics. Learning from the feedback contributes to the more effective use of algorithms in marketing campaigns. This can only benefit both customers and businesses.

Simplify your social media publishing...

Plan and publish your content for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn from one simple dashboard. Save time and get results by optimizing and publishing content across multiple channels at the same time.

Social Media Scheduler

Simplify your social media publishing and save time.
A social media scheduler is a feature that lets you schedule your posts and will automatically publish them at a particular time or date on your specified social media accounts, whether that be Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Twitter. Learn more.
With RADAAR, you can create a post and schedule it to be published on Facebook (pages), Instagram (business accounts), Twitter, and LinkedIn (company pages) for now. Soon you'll be able to schedule posts on Pinterest, YouTube, and Vimeo. Learn more.
Yes! But you need an Instagram business account connected to a Facebook page. Unfortunately, multiple pictures, stories, videos, and IGTVs are not supported due to API limitations. Learn more.
Absolutely! You can reschedule, copy, or move any of the posts by using the drag & drop function. Learn more.
A powerful social media scheduling tool allows your team to work together and ensures your content is published without delays, even outside of office hours. That means you can streamline your workflow, stay focused, and save time. Learn more.
RADAAR supports all important post formats such as single pictures, videos, multiple pictures, and text at the moment. Limits are based on each network's API. Learn more.
Yes. You can easily collaborate with your team members and even invite your clients as guests to review, accept, reject, or give feedback on your scheduled content. There's no limit on invitations. Learn more.
Yes. You can easily export your scheduled posts in PowerPoint, Excel, or CSV format. Learn more.