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Facebook Dark Posts: Why + How to Use Them

Here's a great little throwback fact: When Facebook advertising first began, the only way you could target by interests, locations, etc. was through dark posts. Now, those features are available with every ad. So what are dark posts in 2017?

Dark posts, or "unpublished posts," as Facebook calls them, do not post to your Facebook Page's wall or appear organically in the news feed of your current followers. The perks of dark posting are pretty obvious for big brands and e-commerce Pages, but every advertiser can benefit from experimenting with them too. But if you're new to the Facebook ad game, it can be a little abstract to learn. So, if you're a rookie or just need a refresher (like I sometimes do), let's shine the light back on the benefits of dark posts and how to create them.


Why Create a Facebook Dark Post?

Good question. The short answer is two-fold: you'll reach new people and learn more about your content. Here's why:

It's your chance to get super targeted and super personalized. Let's say you're a publisher who focuses on Hollywood gossip and entertainment news. You've got a great piece of content about Lady Gaga. You could put ad spend on this post, targeting your current followers in addition to other celebrity bloggers, entertainment sites, and fans of Gaga. In fact, that's probably what you are doing. But what if you wanted to create a post about that same piece of content that was only directed to Gaga fans and the entire Little Monsters fanbase?

Dark posts allow you to hyper-target those specific online communities without posting the same ad twice on your timeline, potentially causing your fans to see repetitive posts. Since your Gaga dark post is unpublished and specifically targeted, you can alter your copy and accompanying media to be even more Lady G-centric. This kind of personalization increases your chance for engagement and allows you to reach more potential followers.

A/B testing. Dark posts are a great chance to experiment with new strategies. Try out different messaging, imagery, and ad types to see if something performs particularly well. If a particular call-to-action is working well with narrower targets, start threading it into your larger strategy.

So, if the Gaga post is outperforming what you expected, maybe you should think about creating more Gaga content. Or, maybe you should use some of that messaging on other pieces of content. Dark posts can teach you more about what kind of audiences are out there that want to receive your content — and the best way to reach them.

No over-posting. The ability to not overcrowd your followers with the same posts is powerful. Not only can you stretch the legs of your content, but you get more opportunities to learn how that content is received across the Facebook ecosystem. Jon Loomer nicely articulates in this article: "You'll now be able to create multiple campaigns or ad sets that promote the same ad — not just ads that look the same. That way, each separate promotion of that ad will contribute to the comments, likes, shares and other engagement."

Now, let's shine the light on how this all gets done.

How Do You Create a Dark Post?

It's not the most intuitive of processes, but once you've done it a few times, it's easy to remember. Here's a how-to to get you started:

Create dark posts in the Facebook Power Editor. Use the hamburger menu to go to All Tools → Create & Manage → Page Posts.


Click the blue "Create Post" button in the top-right corner. An editor will pop up where you can create your post. You can do multiple formats: link, carousel, photo video, etc. Make sure you only select "This post will only be used as an ad."


Once you have created the post, highlight it in the queue, and click the drop-down menu for Actions → Create Ad.


You will be prompted to choose a new campaign. You could start an entire "Dark Posts" campaign with various ads and ad sets. You can also choose your ad type. Here's more on how the Facebook ad campaign structure works — it can be easy to mix up sometimes.


Once your post is created, copy the post ID.



You will be taken to a screen like the one shown below. You can either click "Create Ad Set/View Ad Set" from here. Or, just head back to the ads manager and click "Create Ad" like you would for any other campaign.


Either way, a familiar interface will open up if you've created Facebook ads before. Click "Use Existing Post."


When you're selecting the media for your ad, that's when you paste your post ID from earlier.

Once you've made it to this step, you can set up the ad, including locations, custom audiences, and interest targeting like normal.

Tip: If a certain ad does particularly well, you can go back to the "Page Posts" tab in the Power Editor and then publish it to your fans (making it no longer an unpublished post).


You may notice that your dark post campaigns have a higher CPC than your traditional ads. This could be especially true if you do a lot of video view campaigns and then switch to a URL traffic ad for a dark post. However, keep in mind that your reach will often be similar to published ads, and your results will often be more meaningful and targeted.

Happy dark posting! Hopefully it brings you plenty of new ideas. 💡

Publishers No Longer Have to Submit Their Site to Google News

Google's Publisher Center creates new opportunities for audience growth

Just before the start of the next decade, Google announced an important change to its Google News offering with the launch of Google Publisher Center. The new interface merges Google News Producer and Google News Publisher into one to streamline the partnership process for publishers.

Overall, the change should make it easier for publishers to manage their Google News settings, including updating themes, directing URLs to section pages, and configuring user permissions. Read the full list of features here.

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How to Find Work-Life Balance as a Remote Employee

Tips from our CEO on making the most of an office-free lifestyle

Working from home is becoming increasingly popular, with an estimated 66% of companies now allowing remote work and 16% operating completely office-free. RebelMouse is one of those fully remote companies, and over the years we've mastered how to stay close to each other despite being spread across more than a dozen countries. We believe working remotely is good for both our personal lives and our productivity. Read more about this here.

Still, working free from the shackles of an office environment doesn't mean every day is a dance party in your pajamas from 9 to 5. Working from home comes with its own set of challenges just like any other job.

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Inside RebelMouse’s Quality Assurance Operations

How We've Perfected Stress-Free Publishing

At RebelMouse, we like to refer to our enterprise publishing platform as "lean tech." Most publishers have a natural inclination to start doubling down on teams of developers who try to build unique experiences to help stand out above the noise. But they should actually be doing the opposite: Lean tech is the preferred way to cut through content saturation. By allowing RebelMouse to obsess over your product, content producers, editors, managers, and everyone in between can focus on creating quality content and taking advantage of opportunities to leverage distributive publishing strategies that create real revenue growth.

One of the major reasons we're able to maintain a lean tech environment is thanks to our approach to quality assurance (QA). We make updates to our platform daily to ensure our clients always have access to the most robust, high-performing, and secure version of our platform. Behind the scenes, this means having a solid QA structure that's efficient, creates less bugs, and catches the ones that do pop up before they go live. It's a system of checks and balances that's hard and costly to replicate on a custom CMS. Here's a glimpse into how it works.

Our Tech Stack Toolbox

  • Cucumber
  • Java
  • Junit
  • Maven
  • Selenium WebDriver
  • TeamCity
  • Zalenium (Selenium Grid)

Our Checks and Balances Workflow

Automated Regression Testing Cycle

The Lifecycle of a Product Update

When an update is first made to RebelMouse, TeamCity immediately triggers the start of automated tests to review integrity.

TeamCity Build

TeamCity Agent

The tests run in parallel on TeamCity's Build Agent. Next, Zalenium creates docker containers with browsers that matches the count of parallel threads. An Allure report is then generated from the test results, which shows the state of the application after the update.

Allure Report Pass

If a test doesn't complete successfully, the testing framework receives a video with a failed test and attaches it to the Allure report.

Allure Report Issue

Based on the report analysis, a QA specialist will create a "bug" ticket in our product management software to address the issue if needed. Then, information about the bug is immediately sent to the project manager and we begin the process of correcting the problem.

The media powerhouses we power can publish with confidence knowing that any product issues that arise are met with a tried-and-true process to fix the problem with little-to-no disturbance to their workflow. If you have any questions about this process, please email support@rebelmouse.com.

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