WHY YOU SHOULDN’T BE FREAKING OUT ABOUT FACEBOOK’S NEW “PROMOTED POSTS” FEATURE
When Facebook rolled out their “Promoted Posts” feature last week allowing bands (and other brands) to pay money to ensure their posts are seen by more fans, a huge backlash erupted against the social networking titan. “Why should I have to pay to have people that already “Like” my band see my wall posts? Why are such a low percentage of my fans seeing my posts? Is Facebook burying my posts on purpose in an effort to make me pay to have them promoted? What the fuck, Facebook?? Fuck you!!”
Settle down, folks. Facebook is not screwing you. Nothing has changed other than that Facebook is now offering you an opportunity to reach more people than you were previously. Here’s why.
When we post a MetalSucks story on the official MetalSucks Facebook wall, according to Facebook’s stats we typically reach between 20% and 40% of the 23,000 people who “Like” MetalSucks. Here’s a screen shot of the Facebook action on yesterday’s “Lowest Breakdown Ever” post:
35% might seem low, but is that really such a bad number? Let’s look a little more closely.
Consider this: pretty much everyone I know has a Facebook account, but a large percentage of them don’t use it at all or only sign in when they get a notification. I have no way of measuring how many people fall into this category, but let’s just say it’s 25% (that’s a conservative estimate — I’ll bet it’s more). These are people that you are never going to reach via a Facebook status update from your band, even with a paid “Promoted Post.”
Of those that do actively use the site, how often do they use it? I’d qualify myself as someone who’s an extremely active Internet user — I sit in front of a screen all day fer chrissakes and use Facebook to promote MetalSucks — but I only really log in and look at my wall once, maybe twice a day (and sometimes not at all). I’d wager that most users fall into this category. There are tons of people who live on their Facebook pages all day long, but they’re in the minority; most people have jobs, school, family, and other shit to do.
And then there’s this very important fact that most people who have criticized Facebook’s “Promoted Posts” feature are overlooking: our news feeds are customized to show only the status updates and posts most relative to each of us. This is the default setting:
Facebook used to show EVERYTHING in everyone’s news feed, but as the service grew and friend counts accumulated this became cumbersome. Facebook now has an algorithm that uses a number of different factors to determine the posts that show up in your news feed: friends whose posts you often comment on, friends with whom you frequently message, friends whose statuses you like, bands whose statuses you share on your wall, bands whose pages you often look at, how many friends you have in common with other friends/likes, how new something is, etc. Just because you “Like” a band doesn’t mean all their posts will show up in your news feed; that would be insanity and it’d be impossible to keep up with. Facebook’s relevancy algorithm does a pretty fine job of sorting out the stuff you don’t want.
Taking all that into account, 35% doesn’t seem like a bad number; it actually seems like a great number. We haven’t tried out “Promoted Posts” yet, but I’ll bet that even with a decent budget we wouldn’t be able to get that number much above 50%.
So… don’t believe the hype, bands. Facebook is not intentionally burying your posts to extort money from you. Keep calm, carry on.