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My Experiment With Facebook’s Promoted Posts

So, a while back Facebook introduced sponsored posts on business pages (even in some cases, personal posts). For a small fee $5, $10, or $15 you can help get more eyes on your posts.

First, let’s talk about how Facebook has rigged the game so FEWER people are seeing your posts. New Media Rockstars lays it out:

“The beauty of Facebook previous to promoted posts existed in the public’s preternatural ability to separate the wheat from the chaff. With everyone on the same promotional level, compelling content rose above the dreg that would be typically found on free promotional services. Yeah, free promotion led to a ton of bullshit posts on Facebook, but at least great posts had an equal opportunity to stand out. Facebook at one point provided a free marketing tool to the struggling and financially-strapped that worked so well that big business soon jumped into the fray.”

So, how did my personal experiment go?

The first post I tested it with was a minor post, one of those “Oh hey, I have a blog I’m neglecting” post. As you can see, the post didn’t generate much in the way of a response, but a lot of people “saw” it.

The second post I promoted for $10, and was the type of post that would normally be of great interest to my readers. Political and angry, I would normally get a lot of traffic from Facebook for this post. But as you can see, while I got more “views” I had fewer clicks than I did on the nothing post.

The last post was a fun one about how you’re more likely to die from flaming pajamas than a pit bull. A simple infographic, I thought for sure this one would really go nuts with some promotion.

Nope.

So, yeah. In my opinion, a big ol’ fail.

But don’t just take my word for it. An online friend (who wants to remain anonymous) with a more “friendly” blog than mine had similar results.

Here’s a great case study from eConsultancy that not only found that the promotion wasn’t particularly successful, it also showed some rather startling results, such as many of the new “likes” on their page involved fake profiles. After their experiment, they came to this conclusion:

In effect, we’re left needing to constantly promote posts, otherwise we have:

  • No long term traffic increase
  • No long-term on-page interaction increase
  • No long-term conversion increase

and crucially no increase in brand evangelism or overall engagement from relevant customers.

This has always been the absolute core of Facebook’s value proposition for businesses: The ability to easily connect with engaged customers. As things stand, if you want more Likes, then keep posting pictures of fluffy toys. If you want actual customers… it may not pay to advertise.

I agree. At this point, it simply isn’t worth it.

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