When it comes to social marketing, Facebook is often seen as the best place to start, and for years it was. This might not be the case anymore, though, and that’s the topic of this week’s TM SEO Web Talk Radio Show.

In May 2012, Facebook announced the release of Promoted Posts for brand pages, which was the beginning of this whole mess. What the announcement did, was allow brand pages to pay Facebook to broadcast a specific post to a wider audience, giving the post (and page) greater reach. This sounded like a great idea, especially if there was a specific piece of content that a company wanted to get the word out about. But Promoted Posts are much more nefarious than that. Richard Metzger, of Dangerous Minds, wrote what could be called a manifesto about Facebook Promoted Posts, and what he saw as a very disturbing reality.

What Metzger realized was that when Facebook started to allow brands to buy reach on the network, it also did something else: it tightened up the natural or organic reach of all those same brand pages. In essence, Facebook turned the volume down on posts to the point where the posts by brand pages were only reaching a small percentage of the audience they previously did. Therein lies the problem: Facebook took away something it was originally giving to pages (and individual users) for free.

The math

In Metzger’s post, he did the math to see how much it would cost Dangerous Minds to promote every post they published on Facebook, and the total is astronomical. Here’s what it turns out to be:

To reach 100% of of our 50k+ Facebook fans they’d charge us $200 per post. That would cost us between $2000 and $3200 per day—but let’s go with the lower, easier to multiply number. We post seven days a week, that would be about $14,000 per week, $56,000 per month… a grand total of $672,000 for what we got for free before Facebook started turning the traffic spigot down in Spring of this year—wouldn’t you know it—right around the time of their badly managed IPO.

We also did the math for one of our clients as well and this is how the cost breaks down forn that client:

  • Facebook Promoted PostsPer post: $75
  • Per day: $225
  • Per week: $1,125
  • Per month $4,875
  • Per year: $58,500

If you’re like our client, Metzger and most other businesses, you probably can’t afford to shell out nearly $60,000 per year just to have your content on Facebook reach everyone it already should be reaching.

What’s the solution?

The solution is simple: post interesting, engaging material. It’s something we’ve talked about time and time again, but the most important thing you can do for your brand, Facebook page, website, etc. is to consistently churn out unique content that is relevant to your users. If you’re not doing that, you’re already missing out. Content is King and always will be. For more on Facebook Promoted Posts and some other great SEO information, make sure to listen to our podcast below. If you have questions, concerns, love or hate, leave us a comment below! Images courtesy of Dangerous Minds

One response to “Are Facebook Promoted Posts Hurting Small Businesses?

Posted by Michal Vilimovsky

In my opinion it is always about money. Facebook is about to reap the benefits of their huge impact and started to kill small business, which cannot afford investment into paid promotion. It is not a bad idea and it definitely works but for us – small business owners – it is nowadays a bit more difficult to get our content to public without getting smashed by rich multinational businesses.

Posted on November 25, 2012 at 3:25 am

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