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With more than 900 million members worldwide, the social networking giant has quietly begun offering users an opportunity to be better noticed among their fans by testing a “pay-to-promote” option.
KSL reported two weeks ago that Facebook was testing a new feature in New Zealand, dubbed Highlight/Promote. The feature allows users or brands to “highlight” or “pay to promote” an individual post on the social networking site. This paid feature enabled users to post more prominently on Facebook and on their friends’ newsfeeds.
With some tweaking, the feature has now arrived in the U.S. but is available for Facebook Pages only.
Page administrators are now able — for a price — to promote specific posts via a new button on the Page composer. When users promote a particular post, it will be shown in the newsfeeds of more than just the people who “Like” the Page. Friends of the people who have interacted with the post will also be able to see the story in their newsfeeds for up to three days from when the post was initially created.
Promoted posts will be labeled as “Sponsored” in the newsfeed and not be shown in the right-hand column of Facebook on the instant feed.
Recent studies show that only 12 percent of Facebook user’s see an average update. The “Promote” feature promises to make a user’s post more prominent by allowing it to appear higher in the newsfeeds of fans as well as appearing in the newsfeeds of friends.
The new feature includes several different methods of promoting a particular post. While some highlighted posts are very inexpensive, others can cost up to $100 each. Payment can be made instantly via PayPal or credit card.
For a payment of $15, Facebook assures Page administrators an estimated reach to 11,000 users, while $100 can provide a reach of up to 70,000 users. Any post that is less than three days old can be promoted. An administrator can pause and resume promotion anytime. Facebook also suggests that promoted posts be pinned to the top of their Pages Timeline.
Based upon the need for attention and a user’s budget, the decision whether to “promote” a specific Facebook post and to what extent is left to them.
Last time KSL reported on the subject, Facebook was charging up to $2 for promoting a post in New Zealand. Now that the service is available in America, they are seeking a minimum of $5 and a maximum of $100 for promoting a specific post.
“We’re constantly testing new features across Facebook,” Mia Garlick, a spokesperson at Facebook, told KSL at that time. “This particular test is simply to gauge people’s interest in this method of sharing among their friends.”
While “signing up will always be free,” has been the Facebook motto since the start, promoting your status now comes at a price as Page administrators are being prompted with the new feature when entering their status updates.
The key phrase here: “Signing up” will always be free. Being “promoted” among more of your fans will cost you.
If you want to learn more about Facebook's Promote feature, visit www.facebook.com/help/promote
Bill Lewis is the principal of William E. Lewis Jr. & Associates and host of the Credit Report with Bill Lewis — a daily forum for business and financial news, politics, economic trends and issues on AM 740 WSBR in south Florida.