Facebook piloted the promoted post –format already last spring and now rolled out the feature in US in the beginning of this month. Basically it allows normal Facebook user to get more exposure for her post when paying money for it.
Sounds great from the Facebook standpoint. They are in desperate need for new ways to monetize the vast user base. The initial cost for rolling out this advertising format is probably quite low. And it might be hit. Judging from the reality tv shows, there are lots of celebrity-seeking self-promoters around wanting the attention at any cost. On Facebook product site for the Promoted posts, there is linfo about practicalities of the function. One crucial piece of information is however missing:
Why would anyone want do that?
The example Facebook uses is engagement announcement. But I find it hard to believe why anyone would pay for that? If you really have to make sure that people now that you are engaged, there other communication vehicles to ensure that message goes through. Also the virality of those announcements is already high and it is likely that you get hundreds of likes and comments for announcements like that naturally. How many likes will it take that you are satisfied? Of course the situation might change if Facebook decreases the reach of non-paid status updates. That has already happened with brand pages.
There seems to be only one inevitable result from this. Your newsfeed gets bombarded with marketing messages. The promoted post function seems suitable for only small-business owners, politicians, bloggers, company spammers commmunity managers, event organizers, social media con artists consultants and other narcissistic egoists. For those people, the promoted post will probably be good addition to advertising toolkit among other Facebook advertising solutions.
What will it do for the user experience?
There will be municipal election this weekend in Finland. Thus I have avoided checking my newsfeed lately because I just cannot bear all that election advertising from all “Facebook friends”. The newsfeed is almost unreadable. Especially because I do not currently live in Helsinki and I am not even eligible to vote. How worse the situation will be when these annoying self-promoters can pay for more wider reach for their propaganda?
Or maybe this is just clever marketing and the next product Facebook announces is: Unpromoted Post. By paying certain fee, you free yourself from those self-marketing promoted posts.Facebook Premium, without ads?
Someone might pay for that as well.