Facebook Marketing

Facebook to Marketers: You’ll Have to Pay to Promote

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Krista Neher

Nov 17 2014

Facebook changes: Marketers must pay to promote

Today Facebook announced yet another change in how businesses can market on Facebook — starting on January 1, promotional posts will have reduced visibility in the newsfeed. You can read the post from Facebook on their blog here.

Facebook claims that this change is based on what people want to see in their newsfeeds…. however if Facebook was REALLY concerned about this they would probably reduce all promotional posts (including ads) vs. only the organic reach. It is relatively easy to read through the lines to see that this is more about making $$ vs. the user experience as Facebook claims in their post. While Facebook says that users complain about promotional posts in their newsfeed, they are probably complaining about the paid posts, which are from businesses that they don’t care about.

Yes, this is VERY ANNOYING, especially for businesses that have invested time and energy to grow organic interest for their business (including their sales).

What the Change Means:

Any post that is obviously promoting something (click here, join out list, sale, etc) will get even less visibility in the newsfeed vs. other Facebook posts. So, if you don’t promote on Facebook, this won’t matter to you. If you do promote, you’ll probably find that very few people will see your posts.

This means that you’ll have to be prepared to pay to use Facebook as a promotional tool. If you’ve worked hard to build organic reach to earn your way into the newsfeed with your promotional posts, forget about it. You will not have to pay to participate. At the same time, advertising rates on Facebook have been rising as more businesses begin to advertise on the platform. You may need to start looking at your ROI.

What Can You Do about This:

You have a few options to address this change:
1) Become an advertising pro: Accept that Facebook will ultimately charge you for everything and get really good at using it as an efficient advertising platform. If you can create impactful ads, harness the right type of targeting and drive action from your ads you may find that Facebook ads are an efficient way to reach your target audience.

2) Figure out how to game the algorithm: Facebook will have to use some sort of signal to determine a “promotional post” and will probably look for trigger words. You can attempt to test-and-learn your way to game the system and not get tagged as a promotional post.

3) Re-evaluate your social media marketing: The initial approach for Facebook was to create great content that people really cared about to increase your visibility. Now, even if you create great posts and earn the attention of your customers, they won’t see your promotions. ARGH. If you use Facebook for promotions, this will probably reduce the ROI of your Facebook marketing efforts. Re-evaluate your social media marketing plan and determine if Facebook is still the best place to spend your time, or if you can generate a bigger impact from other social networks.

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