The US Facebook site started testing a new money spinning feature yesterday. A new Facebook function allows you to promote one of your posts, for a fee, which will make it “sticky” in your and your friends’ newsfeeds. Facebook says that the new ability, which will cost you $7 per promoted post, will help prevent your friends and family missing out on one of your important social news postings about an engagement, birth or “a garage sale”.
“Every day, news feed delivers your posts to your friends. Sometimes a particular friend might not notice your post, especially if a lot of their friends have been posting recently and your story isn’t near the top of their feed,” explained Abhishek Doshi helpfully, on the Facebook Newsroom blog. “When you promote a post – whether it’s wedding photos, a garage sale, or big news – you bump it higher in news feed so your friends and subscribers are more likely to notice it.” The promote function will cost users $7 per post.
Facebook previously tested the promote feature in New Zealand this May and the feature was then rolled out in 20 further countries at various prices ranging from $1 to $12 per promotion. The trial has obviously helped Facebook strategists settle on the figure of $7 for US users, as the pricing sweet spot. Analysts say that the scheme has good potential to make money for Facebook, which investors want to profit more from its huge user base. Rebecca Leib, an analyst with the Altimeter Group, told the FT “This is consumers becoming advertisers. It’s also an interesting way for Facebook to get more data out of their users, because anybody who pays to promote a post will supply their credit card information.”
However there could be some annoyance to users. Currently posts are promoted in a kind of meritocracy, Facebook algorithms promote posts based only on merit; likes and comments – interesting stuff for social networkers. There are already a few opposition groups on Facebook itself, complaining about the promoted posts scheme.
The markets were muted about the promoted posts experiment launch within Facebook’s largest potential money making market. Shares hardly budged, just down about two per cent yesterday. There has been no announcement about when or if the scheme is to be implemented in the UK.