I heard that facebook was trying out a “Promote” option on personal posts for a small fee back several months ago (on personal accounts, not fan pages). At that time it was $5, but was not being offered in the US.
This previous week on October, 3rd 2012, facebook guru; Mari Smith made this post* about the feature now being available in the US (at a cost of $7). I’ve had mixed feelings about how this Promote feature would be received by the general public, but none the less decided to give it a try once it was offered to me (option became available to me on the evening of 10/10/12).
I had just made a blog post and put up our new video about our Shih Tzu song (a custom written and performed song that we made to promte and engage our community). Just after I had made that post was when I noticed the Promote button was available for my account.
I wanted to show off the new video I made and many of my 833 friends (and about 100 subscribers) are also small dog owners. The video wasn’t directly promotional and was unlikely to be seen as SPAM by any of my friends, so I decided it was a good post to show all my friends with the Promote post feature.
Below is a screen shot of the post* at the time that I promoted it, it had 9 likes at that time.
Just 18 hours later I’m told that my post has been seen by 2.9X as many people because I promoted it, with 34 % being “Regular Views” and 66 % being Paid Views.
At this point in time (taken the same time as the above screen shot, early afternoon on 10/11/12), my post had a total of 22 likes.
I should also note that late morning (just a couple hours prior to when the promote post was finished, I re-shared the photo without promoting it, it gained 9 likes as of the time of this writing (5 hours later).
In summary, the post I promoted gathered more views but only about the same number of likes as my typical post of this nature gets. Of course I realize this statement is very subjective and it would take a lot of analysis across a wide sampling to know how true this is.
In the end, what are my thoughts on this? Based on this initial trial, I’m a little disappointed in the response I got. To explain; it is very common for photos I post on my personal account to receive 30 to 50 likes, so in fact the number of likes on this Sponsored post are a little below average for me. I suspect there may be an explanation for that; people may have clicked the link to view the video without clicking Like on this post.
The page that the link in the Sponsored post went to has 175 likes at the time of this writing, which tells us very little since the same link was also shared via my fan (business) page. If I try this again in a similar fashion, I will make sure to use a tracking URL for the post I Sponsor.
At this point, I would say that further experiments are necessary before I can determine if this feature is worth it or not. For users that are less engaging or for messages that are more promotional in nature, this “might” be of more value, though I can easily see users who abuse this for commercial purposes lose friends over it.
*= denotes a link that goes directly to a facebook post which was public at the time of this posting, you may still need to sign into facebook to view some posts even though they are public.