As if their recent stock market performance wasn’t bad enough, social media giants Facebook are facing new outrage at their recent addition of a Promoted Posts feature for company pages.
Now, fury at Facebook updates is nothing new – whether that’s privacy policies, visual updates or the dreaded Timeline, they seem incapable of keeping anyone happy. Indeed, they could offer a free Creme Egg for every status update, and I’m sure people would still complain.
But this time, people may just have rushed for their indignation too soon.
So what are they?
Put simply, Promoted Posts are like sponsored listings in Google. By adding a small budget to a post, you can ensure that your post, picture or special offer reaches more users than it normally would.
Currently, it’s only available to pages with over 400 and under 100,000 followers. Now, this might seem a little strange, but when you realise that the pricing for these posts is scaled, it makes a bit more sense. So for a page with around 1,000 likes you can expect to pay around £4 per Promoted Post and for 100,000 followers, considerably more.
The minimum limit seems to be there purely to make sure that it is actually worth your while buying the promotion. Paying 70p to show your first introductory post to your mum and girlfriend makes as much sense as buying a radio jingle for your jumble sale.
Similarly, the upper limit is cleverly in place to stop huge brands such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s saturating the market with Promoted Posts, when they can just buy the ads on the right hand side of your news feed.
Even cleverer, you can only add a promotion retrospectively to a post that has been in existence under 3 days. Meaning companies won’t be able to go through their back catalogue and promote everything.
So, if they have thought it all through – and it looks like they have – what’s the problem?
There’s a line in the overview above that has the internet shaking its collective fist into the air – “By adding a small budget to a post, you can ensure that your post, picture or special offer reaches more users than it normally would”.
Wait…you mean, my page posts don’t reach all my followers? That’s a dirty trick Facebook – limiting the scope of my regular posts so I’ll be forced to buy your promotions. And they’re right. Each post from a company page is estimated to reach only 10-20% of its followers.
But what the internet, in its infinite wisdom, has yet to realise is that Facebook have done this for years.
They’ve done it on company pages and they do it on personal pages. You may have even noticed that you only see regular posts from friends you have contact with. Gone are the days you have to trawl through the inane daily happenings of Tanya the teenage mum from school deftly debating the pros and cons of using a Lidl carrier bag on a stick as an umbrella.
Now, like Google, Facebook are only showing you posts relevant to you. And it makes sense too. If you have over 500 friends all posting statuses, you’d never be able to keep up with it all.
It also means that Promoted Posts, rather than being a slimy tactic, are actually a real benefit. Facebook is an amazing social advertising tool anyway and if you can increase the range of followers you reach from 20% to 40, even 50%, surely that’s worth paying a measly £4 a time.
The bottom line
If you can get your head round their methods, this new feature from Facebook stands out like a rescue ship amongst the ocean of previous update wreckages. It appears to have been planned to the finest detail in order to provide the maximum benefit to medium-sized pages and not big businesses.
I’m sure that, once the outrage has died down, people will start to sing about the real benefits these Promoted Posts can offer. Just remember though – you heard it here first.