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Promoted Posts: Facebook Brings Ads Front and Center Like Never Before

By Bridget Johnson | Account Specialist

Have you noticed a new figure below each of your brand’s page posts? You should have. It’s called “Reach” and gives an idea of the amount of users touched by each message shared on your brand’s Page. Ultimately, Facebook’s underlying goal of this new measure is to spread word – and adoption – of their new advertising offering, Promoted Posts.

These are a paid method of increasing the reach of a Page post. Facebook tell us that only between 10% and 20% of those who ‘Like’ your page will actually see your posts on their News Feed, due to the workings of EdgeRank, the algorithm that determines from whom, about what and how often you are served information on Facebook. Promoted Posts aim to bump up this percentage, for a cost of course.

How Promoted Posts Work

Who will see it? A Page’s fans will see the Promoted Post in their news feed on desktop or mobile.  If this post is interacted with (liked, commented, or shared), their friends will see the post too. It will not appear to fans that have unsubscribed from your updates, seen it organically, or in their top right news ticker.

Who can promote? Promoted Posts are available to Pages with between 400 and 100,000 Likes.

What can they promote? Any post that is less than three days old is eligible for promotion. This parameter exists to ensure the news feed only displays the freshest, most recent content, regardless of paid ad inclusion. A marketer can promote a post as they are creating it or select one that is already live on a Page. The post can be paused or resumed at any time.

Any kind of post able to be created in the sharing tool is able to be promoted. This includes text status updates, pictures, offers, videos and questions. The post can be promoted for three days total.

How much is it? Budget takes the form of a “lifetime” amount, not a daily cap, in various whole dollar increments. Facebook provides estimated reach metrics along with these budget options. A test conducted by AimClear resulted in a cost of $0.35 per click.

What does it look like? To the public, the post will labeled as “Sponsored,” but importantly won’t be shown in the right navigation column as other ads have are, but directly within the organic news feed.

What is measured? Analytics information takes the form of a marker at the bottom of the post itself. It first displays the quantity of users reached, which can be clicked through to show the numeral breakdown of this reach between organic, viral and paid. Also included is the percentage of those who like your page that have been reached versus the total likes. This can be clicked through to show the ratio of people reached via the promotion versus organically.

Different from the current approach

According to Facebook, a Promoted Post “will be shown in the news feeds of more of the people who like your Page than you would reach normally” and “friends of the people who have interacted with your post will also be more likely to see the story in their news feeds.” A quantitative definition for this “more” measure is not provided (Facebook only goes on to clarify that a “larger percentage” of each group will see it), so finding an exact measure of this discrepancy would require some testing.

Advertising-wise, this offering can be most closely compared to a Page Post Ad, an ad unit wherein a marketer designates a post to be featured, and Facebook creates the content of the ad using information from this Page post. Though both ad units use content on a Page’s wall to generate ad messaging, there are significant discrepancies. The Page Post Ad lives on the right hand column on the interface, while the promoted post lives in the central, high-visibility news feed. Also, Page Post ads can be managed on a cost-per-click  (CPC) or cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) basis, where as Promoted Posts do not necessitate setting a bid but is calculated based on the average CPM for any particular fan base.

Simple tips if you want to try Promoted Post

Use media: Social messages including photos and videos consistently garner higher engagement.

Offer something: Promote an offer that is not always available. Relaying urgency grabs attention.

Employ exclusivity: As with urgency, exclusive information or opportunity provides a reason to engage beyond the norm. Promote an RSVP for an event or a limited time daily special.

Ask a question: Not only is a question a direct path to engagement, but it conveys a personal touch as well as the fact that your brand values your audience’s opinion.

Use deep targeting: Specific location and language targeting narrow the scope of your delivery, thus increasing the likelihood for relevant user engagement. It’s also important to note that by default, several countries will be targeted, not just the United States. Make sure to check this setting before launch.

Rename your post: Use naming conventions similar to those in traditional search campaigns. This makes comparative assessments for optimization speedier and more universally digestible.

Final thoughts
Public response has been varied, from early evangelists to misconception that the new “Reach” figure represents Facebook now limiting the number of users who see a message. Another speculation covers the effect of the monetization element on smaller brands, which may not have the funds to up their visibility in this way.

For smaller businesses, perhaps not willing or able to allocate budget to these methods, Promoted Posts from big spending competitors could affect their news feed decay time. In other words, they could negatively impact the amount of time the EdgeRank algorithm deems the small business’ messages relevant enough to be served versus other messages constantly coming through the pipeline.

It’s important to note that this is the first paid presence in organic news feed results. Depending on public reception and marketer success, this could be the first of many.

1 comment

  1. Joe says:
    Jul 26, 2012

    Nice Topic

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