Friday, October 5, 2012

Is Facebook Getting Desperate with Promoted Posts?

Research last year revealed how narcissistic many Facebook users are, with many using the site for no other reason than to show off.  With the company desperate to find new ways to raise money following the desperate performance of their share price since flotation, they seem to have decided that tapping into the inherent narcissism of their members is the way to go.
The new money making idea is called 'Promoted Posts' and it basically allows users to pay Facebook to ensure their status updates have higher visibility in the news feeds of their friends.
It will cost $7 per post and Facebook hopes it will be used for garage sales, parties, wedding photos and other important announcements.

Promoted Posts had already been available to users from around 20 countries globally, but this week has been the first time American users have had access to the feature.  It's available to users with under 5,000 friends and subscribers.

Facebook promoted posts
Facebook first began testing the product, then called Highlight, in May in New Zealand. It’s still testing price points for the U.S. so it could go up or down from $7, and cost varies across international markets to sync with what’s appropriate for local economies.
Using the new feature is really simple.  You make your status update as usual, at which point a button appears asking if you'd like to promote it higher up the news feed, and to a greater number of your friends.  The logic is that a standard status update will only be seen by around 15% of your friends, so promoting your post will be seen as worth doing.

Once the post has been promoted however it's marked with a 'sponsored' tag, which you can use to see how many extra views it's received because of your promotion of it.

Whilst I can see how there may be some uses for this service, those instances represent a tiny minority of the overall status updates shared on a typical news feed.  It kinda creates the impression that Facebook are so desperate to generate extra revenue that they're turning to the segment of their users that are so very desperate to appear popular on the site.
Of course from Facebook's perspective any revenue generated would be pure profit, so you can understand why they consider it worth trying, but it seems a way to commercialize the network without making it more useful for members.

No comments: