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Facebook Businesses The Almighty Buck

The Cost To 'Promote' a Facebook Post: $200 To $500 117

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the really-expensive-syndication dept.
nonprofiteer writes "There's been talk in recent months of Facebook's 'promoted posts' option. In beta testing, it cost about $5-10 dollars to get more of your friends/fans to see your posts in news feeds. Now that it's live, it's a bit more expensive, at least for those with big followings. On the Forbes Facebook page, the cost ranges from $200 to $500 to get from 50,000 to 250,000 people to see a given post. Another lame attempt at monetization, or will Facebook users actually pony up?" This is what happens when everyone stops using RSS/Atom for syndication.
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The Cost To 'Promote' a Facebook Post: $200 To $500

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  • by gagol (583737) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @09:10AM (#40855613)
    Many firms have publicly stated they were pulling from facebook ads because of lack or return on investment and intensive bot clicking.
    • by dav1dc (2662425) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @09:16AM (#40855715) Homepage

      GM said it best the day before the FaceBook IPO: "FaceBook Ads Don't WORK!"

      http://www.minyanville.com/business-news/markets/articles/facebook-ipo-gm-advertising-pullout-ford/5/16/2012/id/41053 [minyanville.com]

      • What really irks me is that they just fired the guy responsible for pulling that ad money out of Facebook (and the 2012 super bowl). I think he was right on the money, but apparently there's no room in GM's marketing budget for common sense.
        • by krakelohm (830589)
          The way that went down it sounds like there is way more to the story then him pulling money from FB & the Super Bowl.
        • by Surt (22457)

          It's probably worth noting that he wasn't fired for pulling facebook ads. He was fired for getting in the CEO's face.

          • by milbournosphere (1273186) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @10:51AM (#40856907)
            Yeah, I saw the business story a few days ago. I think it's worth keeping an employee willing to dust things up and make bold moves every once in a while. GM of all companies should know the risks of a bureaucracy of yes-men; it nearly killed them. It sounds like he made some controversial decisions at his post, and wasn't afraid to mix it up defending them to his superiors.
      • Putting it in quotes makes it sound like that's the comment GM made. What they actually said:

        We regularly review our overall media spend and make adjustments as needed. This happens as a regular course of business and it's not unusual for us to move our spending around various media outlets - especially with the growth of social and digital media outlets.

        In terms of Facebook specifically, we are reassessing our advertising, but remain committed to an aggressive content strategy with all of our products and brands, as it continues to be a very effective tool for engaging with our customers.

        Of course you can take it as a polite way of saying "Facebook ads don't work". Or you could take it as a way of saying "we're trying something else to save money and that was bottom of the list". That same guy (before he got fired) also ended their relationship with ad agency Campbell-Ewald [nbcnews.com], who they'd been using for decades.

        And now GM is reconsidering [fidelity.com] their decision to advertise on Facebook. Why would they do this?

    • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @09:20AM (#40855779) Journal
      For firms, it might not be that much of an issue? But what about people who do what they do for fun rather than profit, like popular bloggers? "Pay or your followers may miss your post" sucks for those people. Perhaps FB ran out of ideas to monetize, and use this to shift the burden of coming up with a good way to make money for this kind of stuff to its more popular members.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        But what about people who do what they do for fun rather than profit, like popular bloggers?

        And what about the people who come to Slashdot for fun and knowledge and instead have to wade through reams of astroturf?

        Why don't you ask how much it costs to moderate posts to +5 on Slashdot? Microsoft and Burson Marsteller should be able to give you a budget breakdown.

      • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @09:52AM (#40856163)

        what about people who do what they do for fun rather than profit, like popular bloggers?

        Maybe they should not be trying to get their message out on Facebook. We still have an Internet that allows people to run their own system; it is not as though people have to go through Facebook to get to the websites they are trying to view.

        Facebook is a big corporation now, and they need to make money -- which means catering to other big corporations. At least they are becoming honest about why they exist (advertising) instead of continuing to pretend that they are on a mission to connect people to their friends. Popular blogs should look into being paid for advertising impressions rather than clicks as well -- it is a much better model.

        • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday August 02, 2012 @10:30AM (#40856637) Journal

          Yeah...one little problem? Its THAT attitude that killed MySpace. That's the problem all these net firms, FB, Google,Twtter, have in a nutshell in that people can just decide its not worth the bullshit and suddenly there's a new company doing it better and you're the next GeoCities ghosttown. Remember when yahoo was all that and a bag of chips?

          They have to walk a damned fine line here because there is zero loyalty on the net, MySpace found that out quick.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Surt (22457)

            Remember when yahoo was all that and a bag of chips?

            No. And I'm pretty sure that never happened.

            • by Hillgiant (916436)

              Remember when yahoo was all that and a bag of chips?

              No. And I'm pretty sure that never happened.

              Get the HELL off my lawn. I remember when Yahoo! would let you submit links for them to index. Damn kids and their fancy webcrawlers.

              • by Surt (22457)

                Yeah, but even then the cool kids were making their own bookmark lists and sharing them among the elite of the web, so Yahoo still wasn't 'it' even then.

          • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Thursday August 02, 2012 @11:25AM (#40857317) Journal

            I think I disagree, Facebook might be different. Enough raw time has passed so that everyone has at least heard that "it's okay for normal housewives to be on Facebook", whereas I think what did Myspace in was the attempt to be edgy with the Under-25 crowd and bands.

            So I think Facebook is becoming the Lock-In of Ordinary Family social media, and if indeed something topples them, it will be business news in the making.

            • by mugnyte (203225)

              Hmm. I think I've heard this comment before. Usenet, then dialup hubs, then "blogging", then forums, each used to be in this position. They still exist. Yes, these populations were tech savvy and FB is drop-dead easy, but the next product will have to be even easier.

              I can't predict the future, but FB will leak members as the market fragments. Something will eclipse them entirely for it's core featureset, eventually. There's no way commercial companies can compete with the try-anything openness

              • Oh, I never said that FB was the holy site to last forever. Just that whatever topples it would "be a Business Story". So I agree that something will eclipse them, but it will be much harder to topple than some other things. Whatever we think of the Zuck, he hired at least one team of managers somewhere in room 347 that is using his wads of cash somewhat intelligently to cement themselves into everything.

          • by cwgmpls (853876)
            Which is why, of the companies you mention, Google is creating a hardware & software ecosystem where they can control what ads you see, and what data they collect, directly on your device. Apple and Amazon are doing the same. If Facebook doesn't get into the platform game, they are going down the same road that MySpace, Yahoo!, and several others already traveled. Microsoft, on the other hand, is getting by with fat profits from its legacy enterprise products, so I'm not sure they have the chutzpah to r
        • Agreed, and I certainly was not suggesting that Facebook should change their model; they can do whatever they feel best serves their interest. But if popular "amateur" producers of content decide to go elsewhere rather than pay FB to make sure they reach their following, then I expect this policy to hurt FB's bottom line rather than help it, since these bloggers will take their ad impressions with them.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by garcia (6573)

          Even though I get ~1+ million pageviews per month and referrers from numerous outlets, my FB page (with only 280 likes) is the single best referrer each month and has been since the first day I setup the page years ago.

          • by muridae (966931)
            How many of those facebook clicks to your website are people who are actually interested, and how many are bots from facebook simply crawling every link they find?
            • by Anonymous Coward

              For this week (week beginning Sunday) Google Analytics says I have 602 referrers from FB. I just did a grep of my Apache logs for Facebook referrers and I get a bit more than that at 784.

              A quick analysis of the grepped logs for residential connections (which still could be bots but less likely) and other known real IPs and dropping any records with crawl, bot, etc, etc shows 648 referrers from FB.

              Meaningless data really but it doesn't appear to be that many bots.

      • There are plenty of other "options" for people who have a "following". Twitter, Google+ among others. Hey guys, Facebook posts not being seen? Stop using it, as it isn't useful any more.

      • Right now if you post something and one of your followers doesn't bother to look at it, they don't look at it. How is this going to change? It seems like all they're doing with this is highlighting the posts of people or companies that pay, so that the post sticks out more in their followers feeds. I didn't see anything about blocking the posts of people who don't pay. Have you read another article that says this?
        • by Zordak (123132)
          By default, the Facebook news feed will only show you "important" updates (as decided by Facebook). And I'm not aware of any easy way to say "show me everything." You would have to go to each of your friends individually and tell it to show all of their updates. So Facebook is basically suffering from positive feedback. It will show you updates from people you interact with regularly, but you only interact with the people it shows you. This seemed like just poor engineering when it first came out. Now we se
    • Yeah but promoted posts are (as far as I can tell) a non-click-through sort of advertising. Much as I criticize Facebook, this sort of thing is a good thing for the web: monetizing by advertisement impressions rather than by clicks is how we should have been doing things in the first place. This is just a fancy form of impressions -- you are pushing your post to the top of a person's view, so that it comes before the posts from their friends etc.
      • Yeah but promoted posts are (as far as I can tell) a non-click-through sort of advertising. Much as I criticize Facebook, this sort of thing is a good thing for the web: monetizing by advertisement impressions rather than by clicks is how we should have been doing things in the first place

        Advertising by impressions rather than clicks on the web is what was done "in the first place" (that is, when web advertising was a new market, since impressions are the model used off the web for advertisement, and so it

        • by tompaulco (629533)
          Taking click-throughs into account was something that evolved as a way to reassure advertising purchasers that what they were paying for was proportional to effectiveness of ads in motivating behavior.
          I say they should take it one step further. They only get paid if somebody buys something on my website. This is the way Amazon compensated their partners. It gives the advertising companies more skin in the game and more of an incentive to promote sales, instead of promoting impressions or clicks.
          • I say they should take it one step further. They only get paid if somebody buys something on my website. This is the way Amazon compensated their partners. It gives the advertising companies more skin in the game

            The company with which you are placing ads has no control of the factors which determine whether people who arrive at your website decide to purchase once they get there. Your website's ability to convert people who actually arrive to buyers isn't in their control. Unless you are giving them contro

  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @09:10AM (#40855615) Journal

    To get first post. Perhaps I should have paid more?

    • by gagol (583737)
      Go to the firehose, easy to get first post there. Not much people will read it though.
      • by KhabaLox (1906148)

        Go to the firehose, easy to get first post there. Not much people will read it though.

        "Much" if you can't count it; "many" if you can.

        Sorry, but I've been going over this again and again the last couple of days. With my 4 year old.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      maybe, considering you're second.

      if the users want to see your post they're going to see it anyways, I don't see point in paying for the placement - it interferes with what the users want to see anyhow.
      suppose people are fanning forbes - and these are the people it should be shown anyways to - shouldn't they get to see forbes posts because they're already subscribed to it? and they are seeing it anyhow, provided that it gets liked by their friends and/or they don't have gazillion liked pages so that their f

      • by Urza9814 (883915)

        suppose people are fanning forbes - and these are the people it should be shown anyways to - shouldn't they get to see forbes posts because they're already subscribed to it?

        They should, but they don't. Not anymore anyway. I've personally verified that -- it's not about my feed being too full, there are times when nothing hits my feed for an hour or two even though when I actually go to pages I'm subscribed to, they're making posts during the time. I believe it's a recent change where Facebook only shows the most popular posts from a page you subscribe to unless they pay to have others promoted.

    • by Bigby (659157)

      You should have paid $501...

  • by Nerdfest (867930)

    RSS is sill used by a huge number of people, and the same kind of paid postings can happen there as well, although their visibility is the same as any other item. Also, in terms of advertising, it seems like a pretty good deal.

  • I often wondered why fb wouldn't allow user preferences to control their timeline. You are right. It is lame.

  • by Palestrina (715471) * on Thursday August 02, 2012 @09:14AM (#40855695) Homepage

    Blasting it out indiscriminately, like spammers do, has a very low conversion rate. It looks like Facebook is going for a more targeted model based on what it can gleam from user profiles. But it all comes down to cost per conversion. $500 could be cheap, if your post is promoted to the right audience. This remains to be proven, of course. But I wouldn't automatically say that the price is too high.

  • by rodrigoandrade (713371) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @09:18AM (#40855735)

    The writing was on the wall. Everyone saw it coming since FB decided to monetize the site with FB credits, in-app purchases, etc.

    Next: for a premium fee, select customers (i.e. advertisers) will be able to publish "stories" (i.e. ads) on everyone's wall, regardless of friendship status.

    For a super premium fee, they'll be unblockable.

    • isn't this what the "trending" stories already are?

    • But, see, marketeers have discovered that people who are interested in your products are actually better to advertise to per marketing dollar spent. I'm not saying that facebook won't shit on everyone's wall and call it wallpaper, just that there's not as much money in it as there is in the ads to "fans".

    • "The writing was on the wall." Really. Can't decide if this was unconscious or deadpan at its best.

    • When you invest in a company, that capital goes to expanding the business including hiring new employees. Those employees also have to be paid with a reoccurring stream of revenue. Obviously. So it comes to no surprise that FB is expanding above and beyond its original scope. What's next? Facebook tablet (yet another device)? Facebook phone? Oh, how about Facebook teeshirts, mugs, special blended coffee. How about a Facebook movie? Oh wait. How about...a Facebook game, religion. How about a Facebook mini TV

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @09:25AM (#40855841) Homepage

    $500 to promote a post? Of course companies will pony up.

    At that rate, $30,000 will get you 60 promoted posts. Say you post twice a day -- and we're assuming that you're not just posting the same thing over and over, here, but you have an actual strategy. $30,000 buys you an ad campaign that lasts an entire month.

    Depending how you play it, it beats an ad in a magazine, which could easily run you $30,000 (or more).

    • by King_TJ (85913)

      Yeah... that's sort of what I was thinking too. If companies actually start taking Facebook seriously (as in hiring someone with a specific job title that involves taking charge of Facebook marketing as a duty), this expenditure would make perfect sense. If you've got to pay a person's salary to go online and interact with potential and existing customers, why wouldn't you invest a little in the "back end" of that strategy too -- ensuring what was posted gets more eyeballs?

      My only question would be whether

    • Exactly what I was thinking. How much does it cost to buy a single quarter or half page ad in a major newspaper with a PAID circulation of 250,000 to 500,000? Never mind something like the New York Times. Does anyone remember when Firefox was asking for donations so that they could promote the fist major release with a full page ad in the NYTs? I think it cost in the tens of thousands for that. And we're not even talking about the Sunday paper (the big day for newspaper circulation in the United States). Fo

    • by Zadaz (950521)

      This will mean that soon most of the posts people see will be promoted posts. (Mom isn't going to pay $200 for her friends to see photos of her darling and Jr. isn't going to pony up so everyone can see how artfully he's skipping class.) This will drive users away, ultimately driving down the value of the promoted posts. Facebook's random post filtering already drives up the noise (I have to post 10x so everyone will see it!) this just amplifies a particular part of the noise, buying the signal that much

  • by Conspire (102879) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @09:28AM (#40855885) Homepage
    Well I called FB stock at 10$ by the end of the year. Let's see if I hit the nail on the head.
    • by Dan667 (564390)
      you can still short facebook, it is not done dropping.
    • And I called $9.99. Just remember I called it first!

    • I think long term facebook may turn out to be a good investment. I mean, 1B users are not going to disappear overnight, they have plenty of time to figure out how to monetize, or their long-term strategy for that matter. Most likely, Zuck won't be the one who figures it out, so he will be forced to step down and somebody else will turn it into super profitable business.

      May be they will just continue to exist as they are, because after all they are profitable. The only problem is that they won't look cool an

  • by N1AK (864906) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @10:03AM (#40856315) Homepage
    Facebook has a fundamental issue. It has allowed/encouraged users to build a large 'friend' list. This inevitably means that users get overwhelmed; so Facebook does some analysis and tries to cut the chaff and guess what you don't care about seeing. The problem is that with it's tight one size fits all friends model it has a good chance of hiding stuff I do want to see.

    We were almost reaching the point where it was normal to announce big events like weddings etc on your wall. Now the people who may have done this are likely going to rely on other communication forms that they know will reach everyone.
  • ETA on FB becoming replaced?
  • For fear that if I fail to comment on this subject, I'll be automatically labeled a terrorist by Authoritarian Intelligence, I half suspect that facebook can now predict the future of its many children. They will comply. And if they don't, well, they can advertise for free on their wall at Guantanamo bay.
    Be sure to "Like" this comment.
  • by supertrooper (2073218) on Thursday August 02, 2012 @10:25AM (#40856563)
    Here is what's happening right now. Investors are not happy with poor performance and they are demanding more money. This idea was on a backburner probably for a while, but now that FB is showing not as profitable as they thought it would, they are trying this. They have dozens of other similar ones if this one works. This whole company has this one "product" and nobody saw the risk in that? It was a trendy thing to do, for a while, now it's less trendy, and in 10 years it won't be trendy. Don't get me wrong, I see the value in social networking: stay in touch with friends and family, creep on some hotties every once in a while, maybe read an interesting post here and there. But it has become the biggest shouting match in the world, and it's all nonsense. I don't even notice the ads any more. If somebody is posting too much and it becomes annoying I block their posts. You pay 500$ so your posts come up more often - I will block you. You pay more - I will remove you from my friends. You override that and I will stop using FB altogether.
  • not sure if i've ever seen one of these sponsored posts ... does facebook have to disclose that the post is a paid advertisement ?

    http://mashable.com/2009/10/05/ftc-blogger-endorsements/ [mashable.com]

  • really now.. dont have to pay to #tag that #FaceBookSucks
  • Sponsored stories might increase placement in the News Feeds of people that are already fans of the sponsoring page, but an important part of their use is that they increase the placement of stories in the news feeds of friends of your fans. When a company pays for these, friends of people who have liked the site, shared the page that is being promoted, etc., are more likely to see an item about the liking/sharing/etc. in their news feed.

  • Another lame attempt at monetization, or will Facebook users actually pony up?

    A lot of column A, and a lot of column B.

  • > This is what happens when everyone stops using RSS/Atom for syndication.

    This is what happens when stockholders with pockets $100 billion lighter start asking about return on investment.

  • Facebook has all kinds of data analysis capabilities - I'm sure they didn't just pull this price out of their butt, but if they did, or if they are being pressured into these prices by investors, they need to nut up and let their data lead the way. What's a couple hundred bucks to a company selling a gigantic multi-million-$-revenue product - especially if facebook can use their data to target it and verify it?

    Problems with bot clicks? Whatever, build that into the price. Also, I've never once clicked on

  • Unfortunately, Charlie Sheen has enough money to pay to promote every single one of his posts to the entireity of Facebook. With a pay-for-views option, Charlie could soon top George Takei as most viewed celebrity... :P

  • If people want to pay this, fine. pay. All it does is undermine facebook's already thin legitimacy. Reminds me of when when digg sold off her front page.

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