Carsen is a digital marketer by day and a digital DJ by night. He has a great love for travel and adventure, connecting with new people, and spinning out only the funkiest of beats. No matter if he's marketing or DJing, Carsen has a talent for making people smile.

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Facebook Dark Posts: Embracing the Dark Side

There has been a disturbance in the force…

fb-good-darkThere’s been whispers of the Facebook “dark post” as of late. As a social media Jedi, I use my powers for good; but the power of the dark side cannot be denied! Thus, I have decided to share my knowledge with you so that you too, can understand this powerful marketing tactic.

Dark What?

Dark posts are simply unpublished Facebook posts that can be created in Facebook’s power editor. Dark posts (depicted with a moon in the editor) do not appear on your page’s timeline. Instead, your audience can only see them after clicking on a direct link or by clicking on an ad. This means that only people that you target with the ad, or that you provide with the link, will be able to see the post. It’s pretty powerful stuff, but there is a limitation in terms of targeting. With dark posts you are unable to target by interests and you cannot create custom audiences (like you can with the Facebook ad creator). Here’s how its done.

But… But Why?

Why on Earth would you not want posts to show on your timeline? The main benefit of the dark post is the ability to conduct a high volume of A/B testing without your timeline appearing to have a tonne of very similar content on it. Whether you’re testing copy, imagery, demographics, or conversions; dark posts have you covered.

Copy – Often slight tweaks in ad/post copy can make all the difference in terms of conversions and engagement. Dark posting allows you to test copy “privately”, so you only display the most engaging version on your timeline. This means that your posts will become more impactful without flooding your timeline with failed attempts.

Imagery – Facebook posts with an image can receive over 100% more engagement than the average status update. But finding the right image requires just as much testing as the post copy itself. You wouldn’t want the same post with several different images to appear on your timeline right?

Demographics – Perhaps you’re unsure which customer group to target with your latest promotion? You can use dark posting to split-test interest groups in isolation (before shelling out serious ad dollars) to find out which group will lead to higher engagement levels.

Conversions – Ultimately, dark post testing will allow you to optimize based on conversions, which is very attractive as you can find the best performing post/creative/target before taking it broad. Not only do dark posts save you ad spend, their insight can give you a better chance of beating the Facebook algorithm.

Is the Dark Side Really Stronger?

Dark posts, beyond targeting and testing, can be used for a variety of purposes with a multitude of benefits. Let’s look at a great example of how to use dark posts effectively:

Geo-Targeted Promotions – Perhaps you’re running a location-specific promotion on your Facebook page – “Free Timmy’s for Calgarians March 1st all day long” – You wouldn’t want your Edmonton Facebook fans to see that post and feel left out. Dark posting is ideal in this situation because you can target Calgary only, and the post will remain hidden from those that live elsewhere. Thus, no one feels like they missed out on your sweet promotion!

Come to the Dark Side…

Have I turned you? With dark side recruitment this strong, the Emperor just might need to get a new job…

The Force is Strong in This One..

Use the force. Harness the dark post. Learn from your A/B testing and you will be unstoppable! Not only is this a great way to target specific audiences, it will keep your Facebook page running light and fast – Might even be able to make the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs!

Have you used dark posts before? How about the force? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below!