Over the past few weeks there has been a lot of buzz over the new Promoted PostsÂ feature for Facebook Fan Pages. I haven’t seen these many feathers ruffled up since Etsy introduced Relevancy vs. Recency. In the EcoEtsy team forum, several team members have been posting about this change. The general consensus is that Facebook has not been clear on how promoted posts will impact our Fan Pages and whether at some point in the future we will all be forced to pay in order to have our posts appear on the wall of the fans who like our page -Â Insidious, right?!
All these posts and all the questions put me into research mode. I’ve been digging for as much reliable information as I could get and I hope that I can shed some light on this whole “Pay to Promote Your Posts” Deal. Â Here’s what I’ve found:
Facebook rolled out its Promoted PostsÂ over a month ago and it went live for some pages in the USA on May 22, 2012. At this point it appears that the rollout is gradual and not available on all pages. If you haven’t seen this feature on your page, just wait, it’s coming. Â Here’s some general information on for promoted posts:
The starting price for promoting individual posts is $5.00 and the highest price $300.00.Â The promotion stretches across a 3 day period and according to to Le Facebook,
â€œWhen you promote a post, it will be shown in the news feeds of more of the people who like your Page than you would reach normally. Friends of the people who have interacted with your post will also be more likely to see the story in their news feeds for up to 3 days from when the post was first created.â€
What Does This Mean?
Ready for this? Â It doesn’t really mean anything because nothing is really changing – veryÂ anticlimacticÂ of my, I know.
People who like your page determine how they interact with your site and how posts are shared with them. Â If you use the Promoted PostÂ feature for a special posts, yourÂ post will appear as aÂ “sponsored” posts in the news feeds of people who already like your page Â as opposed to appearing in the “ads” column on Facebook. Â Additionally, if your fans interacts with your promoted post it will be seen by their friends. Â Promoted posts have the added benefit of appearing in mobile news feeds, which ads don’t.
Simply put, Promoted Posts are just another form of Facebook Ad and an additional way for Facebook to generate money -Â plain and simple. I mean Zuckerberg got married andÂ Facebook stock hasÂ plummetedÂ 25% since going public they need to make up the difference some how.
So I Can Keep Posting As Usual On My Fan Page?Â
YES! Your Fan Page and posting to your pages are still free and remain free. Facebook is just giving you the option to make your messages go further, by literally extending their reach, just like a traditional ad.
I think the shocker comes in learning that all the posts you have on your Fan Page only hit SOME of your fans at any given time, they’ve never really reached all of your fansâ€” the average reach is around 16%.
Hold On I’m Only Reaching 16% of my Fans?Â
Before you get all worked up, continue reading. Â There are tons of factors that affect how many fans your posts actually reach.
First,Â when someone likes your Fan Page, they decide if they want your Fan Page posts to appear in their news feed -Â if they clicked “show in news feed”, then your posts will appear in their news feed. I personally have chosen not to allow some Fan Page posts to appear in my news feed because they tend to be too, for lack of a better word, “spammy.” It’s hard enough to keep up with my news feed as it is.
Second, your fans aren’t on Facebook 24/7 (if they are they need to get a life), so when you write your posts those fans who are on Facebook at that same time as you are when you click “post” will see you posts and are more likely to click on it and read it. Â For those who aren’t on when you click “post” (and who have chosen to see your posts in their news feed) will have your post on their wall, but there is a chance that your post will be lost in the veritable sea of post made by their more important FB Friends and other posts from pages they’ve liked. This is a big factor in the whole “reach” deal.
Third, there is thing called Facebook EdgeRank. Â According to EdgeRank Checker,
“EdgeRank is an algorithm developed by Facebook to govern what is displayed (and how high) on the News Feed.”
Since I can’t really explain EdgeRank in plain English, I can at least explain what Facebook considers an Edge. Â An Edge is everything that happens on FB: posts, images, comments, shares, likes and a long list of other things. You can read more on this whole EdgeRank atÂ http://edgerankchecker.com/blog/2012/04/what-is-edgerank/. Simply put, if your fans aren’t engaging on your fan page, you may suffer from a low EdgeRank.
For the sake of research, I decided to run a test. Â I posted two similar post on my Fan Page to run simultaneously, one was a regular post (non-paid) and the other was a Promoted Post. After about 24-hours, I took a screenshot of the results:
The top post is a regular post and the bottom is a promoted post. Â I grab this image after the posts has been up for about 24-hours. My free post reached 9% (140) of my fans whereas my Promoted Post reached 14% (215) fans. Â However, when you over over the number of people reached you get this nifty report which displays the number of people reached organically and the through your paid ad. Â The results:
About 30% of the reader’s of the Promoted Post viewed it as a”sponsored” post, whereas about 69% viewed it as a regular post. For my regular post my reach was 100% organic. Â I’ll let the numbers help you form your own opinions.
Let’s face it…
I personally think that the bigger question to this whole “Promoted Posts” deal is what happens when everyone decides to start paying to promote their posts? Will regular updates suffer and not be seen at all? Will the EdgeRank of a page that does not pay to promote their post go down?Â and finally, how unbearable will my news feed become when all these pages I subscribe to begin paying for a top stop on my news feed?
We all watched the Facebook movie (and if Â you didn’t you should – it provides a great story and great insight), we know that Zuckerberg is not one to openly offer up too much information on anything – he let’s the rumor mill fuel his success and build his reputation. Â I think the Facebook pose actually uses all the buzz that users like me tend to create to their advantage, so I don’t that they we will be hearing any official news from Facebook on the whole Promoted Posts deal.
So the best advice I can offer you as of right now, if you’re against promoted posts, don’t use it. If you want to experiment with promoted posts be sure to share your success and failure stories with me.