Monday, 11 June 2012

Facebook....what's the story on paying to reach your fans?

Do Page Owners Now Have to Pay to Reach Viewers?

Rumours have been circulating over the last few weeks that Facebook will be making page owners pay to have their posts reach their fans. Is there any truth to the claim? As with many rumours floating around Facebook this one has derived from a real Facebook feature but does not tell anywhere near the whole story. We explain what is really happening here and hopefully it'll help to allay some fears.

After their recent IPO Facebook have inevitably been looking for new ways to maximise their revenue stream. Despite a successful last few years the social network giant are still under pressure to “deliver the goods” to their new shareholders and potential investors.
So they have introduced a new feature called paid promotional posts, where Facebook users can create status updates and pay to get them seen by as many friends (and friends of friends) as possible. This feature is now both available for both personal profiles and Facebook page owners. Essentially it’s Facebook’s latest form of advertising.
However much confusion lies in the implication that if page owners decide not to use the paid promotion post service then their posts will receive less (or no) views from their fans. This is not true.

Depending on your experience and knowledge of how Facebook works you may or may not know that when you make a status update – regardless of if it’s from a personal profile or a business page – it hardly ever reaches all of your friends or fans newsfeeds. In fact the percentage is often very small. Why? Because of EdgeRank. EdgeRank is Facebook’s “cutting edge” algorithm that decides what stories will end up on a Facebook user’s newsfeed by trying to anticipate what that user will want to see. You see, once a Facebook user gains more and more friends it is going to be a tremendous effort for them to sift through the inevitably endless amounts of updates, photos and other stories from all their contacts every time they log into Facebook. EdgeRank tries to pick out what is important, so for example EdgeRank may decide that new photos of a kitten belonging to a friend you have not seen or heard from in 2 years may be less important to a user than let’s say a family member changing their relationship status. Thus the pictures may not end up on the user’s newsfeed but the family member’s relationship update will.

    Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm chooses 
          what you see on your newsfeed

Many factors play a part in determining a stories success and visibility on Facebook. For example if you regularly interact with a page or a person on Facebook their status updates are more likely to appear on your newsfeed. The level of interaction on a specific status update (i.e. likes and comments) will also increase the chances of it appearing in a user’s newsfeed as well because EdgeRank takes that increased interaction as a sign that the story is more newsworthy. An inevitable by-product of EdgeRank is that page owners will attempt to produce more engaging and higher quality posts to increase interaction and thus post visibility

Facebook are always going to be fine-tuning the EdgeRank algorithm to make it as effective as possible but it has been around much longer than paid promotional posts, meaning a user’s regular (non-paid) status updates have been subject to EdgeRank for some time now. The introduction of paid promotional posts has not affected the visibility of regular posts and updates at all, thus the rumours stating that page owners now have to pay to get their fans to receive their updates because of this new feature is misleading. Well actually it’s just plain wrong.
Also worth noting is that rumours like the one below that advise users to hover over the Like[d] button on a fan page and check “show in newsfeed” does not mean that all a pages posts will appear in their newsfeed.

Facebook is now requiring page owners (us) to pay to have their status updates read by every subscriber. If we don’t, status updates only show up in less than 10% of news feeds, even though you have “liked” the page indicating you want to see posts from this page. However, there is a way around it! Hover over the button on this page where it says “Like” and then make sure you are check marked to “show in news feed” if you want to get all the updates from us. Thanks!

In  fact this will make little difference at all, since pages you Like will be checked to show in a users newsfeed by default. This does not bypass the EdgeRank algorithim. It’s a false rumour and should not be circulated.

If a Facebook user does not wish to allow EdgeRank to determine what they see (or don’t see) then this can be accomplished by using Facebook lists and organising friends and pages in these lists to make sure you receive all of their updates. Lists are like alternative newsfeeds but you get all of the updates from the people and pages you have included in that list and you can have as many different lists as you like.  here's a link to an article by Mashable that gives you a good insight into setting up lists

So no, your posts don’t go to everyone, but then again they never did. Paid promotion posts are entirely optional and will go to more people because they are not subject to the EdgeRank algorithm like regular posts are.

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