A Dark Post is an unpublished entry that can be created with the Power Editor as part of Facebook business promotion. It appears in the news, but not in the chronicle of a Facebook page, which is maintained by a company. Dark articles are not allowed in the Facebook timeline and, in this way, they are also called unpublished messages. But they appear in the timeline of users who were previously defined as target groups. Dark articles are tagged as "sponsored" and thus resemble news announcements. The difference is that dark article publishing alternatives are more extensive than news announcements. When it comes to targeting and segmentation, both ads are by no means inferior.
The dark articles were originally a temporary solution. There are several commercial promotion options on Facebook. However, only domain advertisements can refer anyone interested to an external website, even though page posting advertisements also provide a way for users to navigate to an external domain. The targeting alternatives for marketers are limited. Page Post Ads and Domain Ads are shown to all users, cannot be delivered to target groups, and are partially tied to Facebook Page Media Planning. For precise control of the campaigns, many advertisers took the detour by means of unpublished pages. This approach avoids dependency on the content plan and increases targeting alternatives. Now it is possible to precisely control news announcements. However, dark articles still offer the advantage of different types of messages, which later appear as sponsored content on the users' timeline.
How dark articles work
If a message must appear in the timeline of Facebook users, it must be saved and tagged as an advertisement. This means that a dark article must be part of a campaign and have a maximum budget. Even though the power editor allows you to edit different messages throughout the entire campaign, you still have to create a campaign and an ad group. The next step is to create an ad group that is linked to the campaign. Now you can define factors such as budget and execution time. You then create the ad that is assigned to the campaign and ad group.
If a message has already been created or an old message is to be used, it must be linked to the campaign and the ad group. (The corresponding alternatives can be found under "Use previous ad types"). Now you can choose the characteristics of the target group. Dark articles can also be displayed on mobile devices. At the same time, there are also numerous options for specifying user demographics, interests, and categories. As a last step, you can make the most of the dark article. Maximum bids per click (CPC) or costs per hundred recipients (CPM) can be used. Once the dark article is posted to Facebook, it will be reviewed and securely released.
Improved tracking methods
An important difference between dark articles and other ads on Facebook is their following. After creating a dark article, a conversion tracking can be created. Individual tracking codes and tracking pixels can be linked to message URLs. In principle, a connection to Google Analytics is feasible. The conversions are also available at the same time from the usual Facebook data, including likes, comments and actions.
To finish, the procedure is as follows:
- Create the campaign and ad group.
- Create your ad.
- Set the target group.
- Make the most of prices and control efficiency.
Types of dark articles
There are different types of dark articles available. These can be selected and saved in the Power Editor.
- Messages with link: Link articles can be provided with call-to-action or call-to-action buttons. It is also possible to customize the text and image of the link. Different link contributions can be tested with the definitions of the target groups.
- Photos and videos: Photo articles offer similar options to link articles. The ad manager also includes the above alternatives for adjusting the position and the target group. In this way, the article in the photo can be used as an advertisement or made public on a page, which distributes it organically. The incorporation of call-to-action items would be sensible especially for the organic sector, given that user attention is high.
- Status updates: The Power Editor is not suitable for traditional creation of status updates. The same goal can be achieved with a post on the Facebook page. However, the selected status updates can be announced and controlled through the targeting alternatives. These types of positions are also intended to create a very high level of commitment.
- Offers: This type of message can only be created in the Power Editor and is suitable for events, sales, and limited offers. Posting alternatives also include promo codes to redirect potential customers to a website login form. This is the only type of message that cannot be created by other means.
Dark articles have some advantages over other ads on Facebook. The type of position can be selected with great precision and thus is relevant for sales promotion and events. There are other possible uses that, despite everything, can be replaced by news announcements with the exception of stalls:
- Segmentation by interests and other characteristics; promotion of products, services and brands; content curation of editorial articles with Facebook carousel ads, as well as AB tests of different articles.
- Micro campaigns for landing pages, branding and advertising campaigns.
- Visual marketing.
- Commitment and feedback; registration for newsletter, beta tests, as well as games.
Because Facebook sometimes changes its commercial promotion options and its user interface, dark articles may no longer be available as an advertising alternative. However, they can still be used in the context of inbound marketing, content marketing and content republishing, as well as word of mouth marketing.