Facebook Promoted Posts
Facebook recently started testing a new service where Facebook users can pay $7 to promote a personal post. This means it will be more likely to show up in friends’ newsfeeds. Sharing photos is one of the most popular uses for Facebook, but would you be willing to pay Facebook to make sure your photos are seen?
Won’t your friends see your posts anyway? Not necessarily. Facebook doesn’t automatically display your status updates in all of your friends newsfeeds. At the top of your newsfeed, you see “Sort: Top Stories” which is the Facebook default view of your news. Facebook decides which stories to show you. According to Facebook, the average Facebook post you make only reaches about 12% of your friends.
How EdgeRank Works
How does Facebook determine what shows in your newsfeed? Facebook has an algorithm called EdgeRank that determines what is displayed and how close to the top of your newsfeed it shows. Facebook does not disclose the details of the EdgeRank algorithm, but it is generally accepted that there are three main components:
- Affinity between you and the creator. The more you interact with the person posting the content, (posting comments, visiting timelines, etc.), the higher the score between the person or brand, and you.
- Weight is given to each type of interaction – photos score more than words, comments more than likes for example. How many other people interacted with the content also is considered.
- Time is the third component. The older an item is, the lower the score it receives.
Many people don’t realize they are missing those new baby photos posted by Cousin Mary because they don’t interact with her very often, or that the brand page you “Liked” to see notifications of events doesn’t automatically show you all the posts by the brand.
Facebook tries to guess the things you will be most interested in, but you can also change your newsfeed to “Sort: Most Recent” and you will see all posts with the latest first. This change doesn’t stick however, and you’ll have to keep changing it back.
More Ads Ahead?
So if Facebook chooses which of your posts to show or hide in your friends’ newsfeeds, and then offers to show your posts to more people for a fee, where is the platform headed?
Facebook reportedly has already made changes to the algorithm in September for business pages, and many brands are seeing decreased reach even when following Facebook best practices. The change may allow more space in users newsfeeds for paid advertising.
While a business Facebook page can be a good component of an online strategy for many businesses, I caution my customers not to build their entire web presence around Facebook. You don’t own the platform, can’t control the publication or terms, and Facebook is moving increasingly towards paid promotion for businesses.
With personal promoted posts for a fee being tested as well, it is likely over time your business or personal posts will continue to reach less fans and friends. The best strategy for getting your posts seen without paying is to get engagement with your posts – post photos, get shares, get comments and get likes. But will that be enough? What do you think? Will you pay Facebook to show photos to your friends and fans?