Facebook announced last Friday (11/14/14) that it would be phasing out free promotional posts. (See article in the Nov. 15-16, Wall Street Journal, page B3).
The reality is apparently a bit more complicated, and we won’t find out the true impact of their algorithm change until it goes into effect in January. Apparently blatant “buy now” will be discouraged in Facebook posts.
I have great sympathy for Facebook – businesses often seem to expect Facebook to provide its services for free; it is paid for by advertising after all. Facebook can’t show every post that a person might be entitled to, so they have to winnow to what Facebook feels / knows is most likely to be appreciated by the user.
I do hope that the non-profits I help out are not hurt by this change. Posts about shows (especially with video clips) are extremely popular.
An analyst for Forrester Research was even quoted yesterday on CNBC that businesses should even consider stop advertising; according to him, most ads did not perform well. According to him, Facebook should know by now what ads worked, so he was blaming Facebook, not the advertiser, for the poor results. This seems strange to me – I see a lot of bad print ads in magazines and stupid TV commercials; I don’t blame the magazine or TV Network – I blame the advertiser.
At the end of the day, have your Facebook posts be interesting to real people, and design them to be good promoted posts, because that may be the best way to insure reach in future. While some posts go viral for unknown reasons, the basics are clear – a good hook of interest to readers, a good photo, a good video and a simple and easy call to action. Need anything more?