Around the second week in May, Facebook began testing a new Promoted Post feature. This allows administrators the option to pay a fee to Facebook to enhance the reach of their business page’s posting. This seems to be a first for the social media giant, as traditionally it has not sought to make money directly from its user base. This feature has now reached the US, offering different price points for different users, and basing the fee on how many of the page’s fans it seeks as an audience. The bottom line is the more you’re willing to pay, the more of your current fans Facebook Promoted Posts will reach.
Facebook Promoted Posts: Increasing Exposure
According to the company, Facebook Promoted Posts feature is an effort to help increase the exposure of posts that can get “lost in the crowd”. The current model for Facebook’s EdgeRank computes three components for determining how large of audience your post will reach. First EdgeRank weighs an affinity score between a post’s creator and viewing user, or how much interaction the two users exhibit. It then adds a component for type of edge, basically number of likes and comments. The last factor adds a weight for shelf life; the older a post becomes the less relevant it is. By participating in Facebook Promoted Posts, administrators can circumvent this ranking system and ensure their post is seen by the intended audience. It seems these Promoted Posts give administrators an added ability to reach friends of their fans, but their is concern about how the results will be measured. As with many of the current advertising tools, the exact effect Promoted Posts will be difficult to determine.
Facebook Promoted Posts: What It Adds to the Business Model
From a business stand point, Facebook Promoted Posts help the company generate revenue from a different model. Users are increasingly accessing the platform through mobile media devices. One of the major concerns for Facebook as it’s become a public company is the lack of revenue streams from the use of Facebook mobile products. Facebook has no proven success in generating any consequential mobile revenue thus far, and needs to show it can overcome this hurdle.
So far the feature has been met with a mixed response, and many are casting doubt on its ability to be successful. It’s hard to imagine a non-business user having any reason to pay to have their post promoted. Others point out that this increased marketing activity will result in a decrease user trust. Advocates for Promoted Post tout its ability to effectively get relevant information to a business or products fans.
As differentiating between Posts and Ads becomes increasing difficult, will users begin to see Facebook as simply a marketing tool for big business? As for now the jury is out, and only time will tell if Facebook Promoted Posts can succeed in the social media sphere.