With Facebook’s recent announcement, companies are literally in the dark. In brief, Facebook has further reduced the ability of your business to be visible on Facebook.

This means a complete mind shift on how a start-up or an established brand can benefit from continuing to manage a page on Facebook. To get back in the game, it starts with figuring out how to leverage Dark Posts.

What are Dark Posts?

Dark Posts are a way for you to reach a focused audience set using Facebook’s targeting tools. That means your posts do not appear on your brand page, but are only visible to a targeted set of users who you want to reach.

This is a powerful tool and the good news is that Facebook has hundreds of variables to target users. The bad news is that these infinitesimal options can be overwhelming. I’ve outlined a few strategies when setting up Facebook Dark posts.

Clearly define and segment your audience

  • Keep your audience targets lean so you can isolate variables. Audience groups over 500,000 start to get muddled with Facebook’s throttling algorithm. When in doubt keep it small.
  • Figure out what devices and platforms your primary demographic resides on. If you are a mobile application, stick to mobile devices and if you don’t have a mobile site/app turn off mobile. Its easy to bleed money on unqualified leads.
  • Start your campaigns by breaking out ad groups by age and gender. (i.e 13–24 female). Based upon your user research and google analytics you should have already identified these groups to make these as specific as possible
  • Create specific categories to reach a subset of that audience i.e. competitors, complementary products and so on. Again keep those groups tight, so you can see which target group is working
  • Start with a specific set of 3–5 cities to test your targeting hypothesis. This can help to keep your budget in check and prove your copy.
  • Generally, right hand side ads have been poor performers, start with only newsfeed ads to ensure your users have seen your posts.
  • Use the call to action options which Facebook has a few to choose from like Sign-Up or Buy Now.

A model framework for Facebook targeting

Provide clear and effective messaging

There is a lot of noise in a Facebook’s users feed. The copy has to stand out in order to be noticed.

  • Have a voice and be consistent. You should by now have identified a voice for your brand. It can be comedic, aspirational, intriguing but whatever it is it should be consistent in your copy and the landing page you send your users. Examples of brands doing this well include Bonobosand Dollar Shave Club


This ad has clear call to action and defines the benefit

The headline should call out your product or category in some form but more importantly the text should be succinctly addressing a key benefit your business solves for a user. The more specific the better.


  • Keep a fine balance in making your copy not too salesy. Users will catch on fast and start to ignore/block your posts.
  • Use google search suggest to see how users are searching for your products/services in your category. Look at your competitors AdWords ads. It can help put some direction on what keywords to use

Create a compelling visual

  • Real photography generally performs better. Take the time to hire a proper photographer. Use taskrabbit or find a local college student to stay in budget.
  • Make your ads feel personal. With all the targeting groups you have worked to create, there needs to be an equal payoff on the image to match it.

Message and image align with beautiful photography

  • Minimal copy on the photos. Facebook has 20% text rule, but it can also take away from the visual. Keep it to a watermark of your company or at most one text call out.
  • Keep your images fresh. Ad blindness/fatigue can occur quickly. You should utilize Facebook’s 6 image limit to cycle images.

Overtime, you will start to see patterns and further hone your targets, copy and photography. Once you feel you’ve exhausted a group subset it’s time to explore a new one and do the process over again. Hopefully with these tips you can be on your way to reaching your audience again and growing your business.


  • Define your targeting hierarchy and ad structure
  • Develop messaging with clear call to actions and the key benefits your company offers to align with the selected target market
  • Create a visually stunning payoff with compelling photography or graphic creative
  • Continually explore and test targeting, copy and creative to improve click-through and conversion rates.