A blog about Facebook marketing

Facebook Posts - Unpublished, Scheduled, Promoted? (2/2)

Facebook-Page-Posts-Unpublished-Scheduled-or-Promoted-12

In our most recent blog post I went through the different states a Page post on Facebook can be in. In this post I’ll try to provide a few examples of how this can be applied to different marketing scenarios and objectives, based on my own experience and that of Facebook advertisers I come across and talk to.

First a quick recap:

A post can be in any of three different states: published, unpublished and scheduled. Moreover it can also be either organic or sponsored.

A post’s state determines whether it’s visible to Facebook users in their News feeds or not.

Lastly, a post can change from one state to another, and the possible changes depend on the current state of a post.

The below chart summarises these different states and their respective implications:

page-post-matrix-2

How to use Page posts - and when

You now know how a Page post can vary in behaviour, and what the difference is between each of the different states. For this to be interesting however there must be some practical implications of which state a post is in.

I like to think there is, and it can be summarised with the Page post matrix used previously:

page-post-matrix-3

I’ve given each state a name, except for unpublished organic posts and scheduled sponsored posts which I’ve never come across a use case for. If you know of one however, you're more than welcome to share it in the comments.

I’ll go through these one by one and discuss how they are typically used, which hopefully will give an idea of when you’d want to have a post in a certain state.

Baseline - Published and organic

Like the Mashable example in the first post on this topic, an organic published post is usually one of many posts from a Page in a given day or week.

Having posts in this state usually means they’re part of the Page’s ongoing communication effort, and in most cases their main objective is to remind the audience of the brand’s existence - in one way or another. This typically means trivia, questions to the fans, minor announcements, etc.

Usually no Baseline post is significantly more important than another. If they are they should belong in the next category:

Important - Published and sponsored

Allocating budget to a published post usually means that it’s important. Since it’s published it is visible on the Page’s timeline and its content should thus be representative for the brand.

Sponsoring it to increase its reach therefore means that it in some way is more important than the other organic and published posts. And, as we have discussed earlier in this blog: not sponsoring important content on Facebook is, well, nuts.

Furthermore, a post can end up in this state before or after the fact - i.e., before of after it has become important.

The post typically ends up in this state in one of three different ways:

page-post-matrix-4

The star indicates where the post is “born”, showing that the post can be

    1. Sponsored and published right away
    2. Published as a regular organic post and sponsored later
    3. Created as unpublished and sponsored, and published later

Common posts in the first scenario are announcements where the audience typically can take some form of action with direct relation to the company’s top line. This can be announcing a new product, a store opening or new content on the company website.

Posts in the second scenario have typically proved popular in their organic state and therefore receive a sponsored push to reach even more people. This is typical for posts where the comments have been overwhelmingly positive, putting the brand in a positive light.

Lastly, third scenario posts are usually tried out as sponsored to a subset of the target audience in order to see what kind of reception they get. If they prove to be popular they are published. This is useful if you’re cautious about publishing content you don’t know will be regarded as high quality.

Direct response - Unpublished and sponsored

The typical case for using an unpublished and sponsored Page post is when you want a message out there that you don't necessarily want visible on your Page’s Timeline.

This can be due to a rather “salesy” message, or if you’re experimenting with different variations of the same post and therefore don’t want semi-duplicates to be published on your Page.

These posts have gained a fair bit of popularity as of late, and from where I’m sitting it seems like unpublished Page post link ads are starting to replace Domain ads as the ad unit of choice for direct-response focused Facebook ad campaigns.

page post link ad - news feed desktop

Page post link ad in News feed on desktop

This shouldn’t be too surprising given the significantly higher click-through rates the News feed offers, due to a much larger creative placed at the center of attention.

Just like Domain ads, unpublished Page post link ads can (and should!) be A/B tested to find the optimal creative combination. Do this by creating different combinations of all the creative elements in the ad: message, title, image, etc.

But, link posts are not the only option here. Offer posts, photo posts as well as status posts can all be great options for a direct-response campaign. If possible I strongly recommend experimenting with the different types to see which one delivers the best results for the campaign at hand.

Except for the direct-response case, unpublished and sponsored posts can be used for trying out content that might become published if successful - which was the third case under the Important category.

Backlog - Scheduled and organic

Lastly we have the scheduled and organic posts, which I like to think of as the Page’s communication backlog. If you’re serious about your Facebook communication efforts you have some form of plan for what content to publish when, which makes it natural to start scheduling the publishing of posts.

Scheduling can be very helpful if you’re not working during times where your posts get the highest traction, or if you’re struggling with finding the time to publish every other day.

Scheduling also serves as a good insurance if it’s paramount to you that a post is published at an exact time - in the commercial break of the TV show you’re promoting for instance.


I hope this overview was useful, and I'm fully aware that there are tons of creative use cases for when you’d like to have a post in a certain state that I haven’t thought of or otherwise come across.

If you know of one or more it'd be great if you would share it in the comments below!

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Connect with Sven on Twitter: @svenhamberg

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