The Price of Marketing on Facebook is About to Go Way, Way Up

The Price of Marketing on Facebook is About to Go Way, Way Up

Facebook Money 310x

Unless companies shell out cash, post visibility is expected to drop to 1-2%.

Facebook, for all its positives and shortcomings, exists as a free space for you to connect with friends, family, games, and companies. Up until this point, any money you spend on the site -- buying gifts for people on their birthdays, or spending real currency on virtual in-game items -- has been completely elective. And that seemingly won't change for those of us who use Facebook on a personal/consumer level.

But the cost of doing business on Facebook is reportedly going through the roof.

Valleywag and Time are both reporting that Facebook is in the process of diluting how Pages are organically pushed towards consumers. In the near future, a brand's/Pages posts will be pushed to roughly 1 to 2 percent of that brand's followers, a major drop from where the figure sits now.

If you follow a brand or company on Facebook, that entity's posts are typically pushed into your News Feed about 20 percent of the time. The same goes for posts made by friends and family. This is why you don't typically see every single post made by a friend, relative, or (if you follow us) The Escapist. Depending on how the new policy shakes out, this means about 1,300 of The Escapist's 67,000-plus followers on Facebook would see our posts, as opposed to the 13,000 or so that potentially see posts now.

Of course Facebook will be supplying a view boost, assuming your company is willing to shell out the cash. For larger businesses like, as Valleywag points out, Nike, this will be but a small bump in the road. But smaller businesses, be it a local restaurant, tax accountant, or doctor, will feel the same squeeze.

Up until now, Facebook has been a free marketing tool for companies big and small. That free lunch is seemingly ending, and while it's sure to cause headaches the world 'round, we are talking about a business charging for its services here. I'm hoping some sort of tiered service comes from this shakeup (assuming it all proves to be correct) -- higher visibility fees for larger brands, while still potentially offering free services to smaller companies.

[Top image via bubblews]

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I'm not facebook savvy in the least, but from what I understand, when you follow someone you are essentially opting in that you care about what that person or entity has to say, and are literally asking for updates from them etc. So I don't quite understand why they would artificially gate off the updates that people are asking for, for any reason. Wouldn't it stand to reason that if people want these updates and aren't getting them that traffic would just migrate to a service that offers unfettered access to the content people desire?

This is also operating on the assumption that these 'updates' are substantially different than just advertisements. If they are, for the most part, just ads that are devoid of any real substance beyond "just buy our product", then I can see them being commoditized just as any other adspace is, but the way it's being talked about makes things seem more like a hostage situation.

I fully acknowledge that I'm stabbing in the dark on this one, with no real first hand experience in any of it, but I guess you can just take this as an outsiders perspective.

As running a small page I have to say this push will kill out any page with less than A hundred thousand likes. It seems to me that with this, there is no room to grow at all and that only big fan pages like Coke-a-Cola or AMC will be surviving this.

Mark my words, this is the beginning of the end for Facebook.

This is getting disconcerting... A lot of small businesses could suffer from this.

I don't have a Facebook profile so this is a uneducated guess, but this:

Devin Connors:

If you follow a brand or company on Facebook, that entity's posts are typically pushed into your News Feed about 20 percent of the time. The same goes for posts made by friends and family. This is why you don't typically see every single post made by a friend, relative

seems like the exact opposite of what a news feed is supposed to do.

That would be like Youtube not showing new uploads of channels your subscribed to ...oh wait

Adam Jensen:
Mark my words, this is the beginning of the end for Facebook.

We should be so lucky.

Veritasium did some interesting videos about Facebook, talking about this sort of thing and similar failings:

It feels like Facebook is sacrificing what scant functionality it has for the sake of greed. I can only hope people start to notice this neutering of the end user's feed and either generate enough backlash to get Facebook to see sense or move on, en masse, to a new less hostile social network, if one exists...

So you have a sevice that allows people to connect to each other, this being its main point. Later on you add businesses, who are advertising on the platform (and bypassing possibly buying your adspace), but only in an opt-in fashion.

Then you decide "Oh noes, we're missing out on dollars here", so you start forcibly disconnecting people from the things they want to receive updates from, to try and con some businesses out of money. The fact that they already do this to people for some bizarre reason is just plain stupid too. I don't think my aunt, or buddy in Lousiana are particularly gonna be shelling out for their cat pictures to get to me more often.

I run a small webcomic and most people who regularily read it, get updates via facebook. I do not get at all, how some postings are read by 30 people and some by 180 - posted at the same time every week. And every time I log into that account, i get a huge red warning, how my "ratings drop", that I only need to pay 10 bucks to have advertisings of my postings shown and that the "next goal to reach" are 100 likes.
I always find it weird, that "likes" (aka people being interested in the comic and wanting the updates) are presented as a currency. These are actual people. People are not a "goal" on the very small scale i do this project in my free time. These followers enjoy the updates and reminders, that the comic is running amongst all the other things they read and follow.
I hesitated for a long time to set up such a page, because I'm not comfortable with facebook, but other comic artists told me: Why not? It's free and some of your readers will appreciate updates on that channel. Well - aparently not anymore. It would be like writing newsletters that go straight to the spam-filter.
I understand, that a company who provides an infrastructure is allowed to do with it, what they like. But i don't like not to get every update of a feed I expressly signed up for.

Businesses I don't want to hear from on one side! Facebook on the other! I have no idea who to root for because I don't like either of them! What the buggery hell am I gonna do?!

justtowatchfilms:
I don't have a Facebook profile so this is a uneducated guess, but this:

Devin Connors:

If you follow a brand or company on Facebook, that entity's posts are typically pushed into your News Feed about 20 percent of the time. The same goes for posts made by friends and family. This is why you don't typically see every single post made by a friend, relative

seems like the exact opposite of what a news feed is supposed to do.

That would be like Youtube not showing new uploads of channels your subscribed to ...oh wait

More or less. However, at least they can do something about it without paying extra.

See, you only see the sponsors' posts at all if you "like" their page. It's not going to hurt small businesses as much as people think, since their stuff is only seen by people who have "followed" the brand page.

The only difference is that they'll show up at random on your feed 10 to 20 times less often than they currently do. A savvy business on a budget can just output much more "updates" and "questions for fans" (five a day would work) and their coverage will stay the same without any money changing hands.

This could be VERY annoying to the likes of, say, "Best Vines", but to counteract, they just have to put a bigger emphasis on "You should share this video if you liked it".

BlumiereBleck:
As running a small page I have to say this push will kill out any page with less than A hundred thousand likes. It seems to me that with this, there is no room to grow at all and that only big fan pages like Coke-a-Cola or AMC will be surviving this.

Which is exaclty the strategy of facebook to begin with. so all according to plan.

gabrieldevue:

I always find it weird, that "likes" (aka people being interested in the comic and wanting the updates) are presented as a currency. These are actual people. People are not a "goal" on the very small scale i do this project in my free time. These followers enjoy the updates and reminders, that the comic is running amongst all the other things they read and follow.

What do you mean people are not currency? You do know this is facebook were talking about. They exist because they sell your personal data. People are money for them. nothing more.

I'll stop wasting any of my time on Facebook then. It was already fairly useless, and our attempts to "boost" were self-defeating and wasteful.

 

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