Promoted Posts – a decline of Facebook or a reflection of a shift in marketing? 21st November, 2012

In recent weeks Facebook has come under increased scrutiny over its introduction of charges on fan pages to promote posts. Charges on these pages – used by businesses to interact with potential customers – have caused widespread anger against the social media giant. From tech billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban threatening to leave the NBA teams fan page neglected to George Takai’s claims he will dedicate a whole chapter of his new book to the matter, Facebook has come under fire for their commercial shift. Is this profiteering?

Behaviour targeting

Effective in January, promoted posts work in conjunction with wider changes made by Facebook regarding what users see on their newsfeed. Facebook has created an algorithm to filter the content that reaches people. This behaviour targeting reacts to how people engage with posts and other people and will feed marketing and behaviour information accordingly.

Promoted posts

Promoted posts provide the new option of paying to promote specific posts. This change bypasses the behavioural targeting mentioned above to guarantee a certain amount of a targeted audience (and at a price, their friends) are guaranteed to see a specific post. Payment for this service is scaled.

The advantages – Business

While many are outraged at this new model, there are a number of commercial advantages for brands:

  1. Analytics – when a post has been promoted you are now able to receive a breakdown of post views and viral capabilities.
  2. Fan Appz – provides instant measurement of any advertising campaigns in real time and works to help you convert fans into advocates.
  3. Affordable – the scaled system of payment means promoting posts is a viable option for all sizes of business.

The advantages – Consumer

  1. Better creative – payment to promote posts forces brands to consider the quality of their advertising far more. While before pages could churn out posts with little thought for content quality, the introduction of charges should encourage companies to be more thoughtful in their approach.
  2. Targeted information – as internet users currently fight a war on noise receiving millions of marketing messages online, targeting ads ensure that you are served ads that are relevant to your purchase behaviour.

A wider shift

While Facebook’s promoted posts for many will always appear part of its wider decline since capitalisation, it in fact marks a larger shift among social media companies into being viable businesses. From Twitter’s ‘Promoted Tweets’ to Tumblr signing agencies to bring in advertising revenue, Facebook’s model both fits a growing trend while offering clear advantages for both business and consumer.