If you haven’t already heard, Facebook has rolled out a feature which allows posts by brand pages to reach more people… if they pay. There is a very negative reaction when people hear the word payment associated with a service they use for free, however it’s not as bad as it sounds.
Giving Facebook users greater control
Facebook analytics show that when a post goes up on a brand’s page, it only reaches a certain number of people who ‘like’ that page. This is due to an algorithm Facebook use to distribute posts to the people who would be most interested in the post based on things you share and the people you share them with.
This is actually a good feature, as it filters out posts that are less relevant to certain followers, and followers can also adjust their news feed controls to see more or less from a particular person they’re friends with or brand page they’re a fan of.
What about small businesses?
The promote a post fee has angered a lot of people using pages for small businesses, fan groups and brands who may not have the budget to ‘promote’ all their posts and are worried their posts will not reach their followers.
However, the new feature ‘promote’ is designed to extend that reach, not restrict what was already available. These promoted posts will be labelled ‘sponsored’ in users news feeds, so people will know which posts have been paid for.
The payment amount is also up to the page administrator – the more you want to pay, the more people it will reach. An example given on the Facebook help centre page shows that five dollars can extend the reach of a post to a further twenty people.
You can also target the post to people who live in a particular location or speak a certain language, helping marketers with a limited budget to make sure their post reaches page fans it’s most relevant to.
When a page administrator decides to promote a post it will get better placement in users’ feeds. Any post that’s less than three days old can also be promoted, ensuring a post reaches a wider range of users who may be logging on to Facebook at different times of the day. We would hope that there would be some discrepancy between spam (quantity) and interesting posts (quality), so that what’s promoted keeps news feeds clutter free. This would be beneficial as people would no longer have to hide pages they genuinely want to hear from in fear of the dreaded over posting syndrome.
So why are Facebook doing this?
The share prices for Facebook have fallen since the company became public in May, which puts pressure on them to grow their brand and business model to make them a more attractive investment. Since Facebook makes its money through advertising, it’s no wonder users are becoming wary of being charged for services. While having the ability to promote posts may be a positive thing, how far will Facebook go mixing payment and advertising with social networking?
What’s your take? Tell us in the comment section below.
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