What is a Dark Post: Exploring SaaS Marketing Post Tactics

what is a dark post

In our last blog, the Bay Leaf Digital Team covered everything you need to know about Dark Social. Once you know about dark social, the next concept to grasp is what is a dark post? Commonly employed by SaaS companies and other businesses as part of a well-crafted account-based marketing plan, dark posts give marketers a highly sought but rarely achieved level of control and specificity. Dark post marketing might sound “shady,” but it’s actually a useful and strategic practice that leverages a unique kind of advertising across various social media platforms.


What is a Dark Post?

Dark posts are specialized advertisements deployed on social media platforms, discreetly appearing on the feeds of a specifically chosen audience and bypassing the public display on an advertiser’s timeline or profile.

Dark posts use user data such as demographic details, behaviors, and interests to create targeted promotions. A dark post facilitates personalized advertising campaigns without inundating the advertiser’s profile with numerous ads. This preserves the feed’s content value and ensures consistent brand presentation while maximizing outreach to diverse audience groups. Dark posts are instrumental for effective customer engagement and conversion, particularly in the SaaS sector where savvy users expect rich social media content and spurn anything that seems like aggressive marketing. Dark post examples are plentiful across social media marketing for SaaS, each tailored to the platform’s specific dynamics and audience behaviors.


Why Your SaaS Business Should Try Dark Post Social Media?

Segmentation and targeted messaging are essential to customer acquisition and conversion in the competitive SaaS marketplace. Dark posts offer numerous advantages, ensuring the effectiveness of ad spend. Here are three you should consider:

  • Dark posts allow for precise ad targeting.
  • A/B testing is easy with dark posts. You can see which variations perform better, even among the most segmented audiences. A customer success story may have received a lot of engagement this month. Great! Try another one next month.
  • Dark posts lead to optimized content. See which performed best and use the insights you gain as you plan your next campaign.
  • You can load your company’s feed with valuable content and keep it from looking like a sales pitch.
  • Nobody likes spam. Dark posts will keep you from clogging your followers’ feeds with undesired content, keeping them happy and engaged.


What are Dark Ads?

Like dark posts, dark ads are visible only to a targeted audience. They are unsearchable and invisible to the public at large. This audience selection is often based on specific criteria, such as demographic information, behavioral patterns, and interests. Dark post social media strategies, including dark posts and dark ads, afford marketers more refined audience targeting capabilities, thus increasing the potential for conversions.

what is a dark post on social media


What’s the Difference Between Dark Posts and Dark Ads?

Dark posts and dark ads are both types of advertising that are targeted at a specific audience and do not appear on an advertiser’s timeline or profile. They are similar in many ways and are both effective marketing techniques. However, there is a subtle difference between them, and some marketers differentiate between the two based on the platform and the level of visibility.

As distinguished from a dark ad, a dark post is typically associated with social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, where the advertisement appears in the feed of the selected audience without being publicly displayed on the advertiser’s profile. On the other hand, dark ads are usually associated more with advertising on search engines like Google. They are advertisements that are invisible to the public, cannot be searched for, and only appear on the screens of the users that the marketer has chosen to target based on specific criteria.

It’s worth noting that these distinctions are not universally accepted, and the terms ‘dark posts’ and ‘dark ads’ are often used interchangeably. This may also vary at a particular company or within an industry.


What is a Dark Post on Facebook?

Given that 69% of American adults are on Facebook, it’s a good place to start your dark post efforts. On Facebook, a dark post represents a sponsored message strategically appearing in targeted users’ news feeds while remaining absent from the advertiser’s Facebook page. For SaaS companies, Facebook dark post examples offer the distinct advantage of allowing a business to display different value propositions or versions of their products to segmented audience groups.


What is a Dark Post on Instagram?

Instagram is the fifth most visited website in the world. Similar to those on Facebook, dark posts on Instagram appear in selected users’ feeds but not on the advertiser’s profile. Instagram dark posts provide SaaS marketers with a compelling strategy to reach fresh audiences without flooding their Instagram page with numerous advertisements, ensuring consistent branding while testing ad variations.


How to Create a Dark Post?

Creating a dark post requires access to the platform’s ad manager. For example, here are the steps you would take to create a dark post on Facebook:

  1. Navigate to Facebook Ads Manager and select “Create.”
  2. Choose an objective aligned with your ad’s goal.
  3. Define your target audience by setting the relevant demographic data, interests, and behaviors.
  4. Choose your ad placements. Opt for ‘automatic placements’ or ‘manual placements’ depending on your strategy.
  5. Set your budget and schedule.
  6. In the format section, select ‘Ad’ and not ‘Ad with a linked Facebook page.’
  7. Create your ad with engaging images, videos, text, and a CTA.
  8. Review your ad and confirm.


The procedure is similar on other platforms. Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok each offer unique advantages for dark post marketing to different audience segments. For instance, dark posts on Twitter can help SaaS companies to reach a more professional and tech-savvy audience. In contrast, dark LinkedIn posts offer opportunities to connect with business professionals and decision-makers. TikTok, a newer entrant to the scene, opens a massive, engaged younger demographic for dark post marketing.


Dark Post vs. Other Kinds of Posts

Dark post vs sponsored post? Dark post vs organic post? What about boosting? Understanding the difference between a dark post, boosted post, sponsored post, or organic post is crucial for successful social media marketing:

  • You know now that a dark post is an ad not visible on your timeline and targeted at a specific audience.
  • An organic post is content that you publish on your business page and reaches your followers naturally without paid promotion.
  • A boosted post is essentially just an organic post that’s promoted to reach a wider audience.
  • Finally, a sponsored post is a form of paid content that looks like a regular post but is labeled as ‘sponsored’.


Each has its place in a comprehensive SaaS marketing plan that includes other tactics such as great content marketing and an engaging personal brand.

For SaaS businesses striving to make their mark in a crowded digital landscape, leveraging dark posts is no longer optional—it’s imperative. With personalized, segmented marketing campaigns that do not disrupt your public profile’s branding, dark posts offer a unique advantage over other SaaS marketing tactics. As your company navigates the dynamic and ever-evolving digital ad space, mastering dark posts across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok can effectively drive customer engagement and conversion rates.

A targeted and strategic approach to dark post marketing can significantly bolster your SaaS business’s growth trajectory. If you need help leveraging the power of dark posts as part of your company’s SaaS marketing efforts, the experts at Bay Leaf Digital are ready to lend a hand.

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Author Profile
Terry Wolfisch
Terry Wolfisch Cole
Terry is a marketing content manager at Bay Leaf Digital. She holds degrees in writing from Binghamton University and New York University, and brings decades of sales and marketing experience to her work. Terry puts words to work for Bay Leaf Digital clients, generating long-form and short-form content across platforms. When she’s not at her desk creating awesome content, you can find her telling Moth-style true stories on stage or chasing her next Bruce Springsteen concert.