Sneaky Facebook Ads

Posted by on Jun 7, 2012 in strategy | No Comments

Facebook recently launched several new features last week with the obvious intent of generating any bit of extra revenue they possibly can after their huge IPO debacle.

In trying to decipher their new offering to pay for promoted posts on fan pages, I went through the following experiment which resulted in some interesting findings.

For one of my fan pages, I paid to promote two separate post; one $5 post, and one $10 post.

Notice, it says it takes up to 3 days to hit the estimated traffic numbers – but I could see it working within 24 hours:

Basically, the Organic are people that have previously “liked” my page. The Paid come in a pretty sneaky way and I found an example of it.

Essentially, of the people who have liked my page previously, Facebook will repost that they “like” my page to their friends’ walls, and display the recent post I paid for with small text that says “Sponsored”. Here is an example of one I just found at the very top of my news feed:

The goofy thing is, this girl “liked” Ketel One a while back. Its like the whole paid system is based on repeating what someone has liked to their friends (who most likely never saw that update), and pushing to the very top of their friends feed until Facebook reaches the estimated traffic numbers for the promoted post – and bypassing Edgerank? Or maybe just giving it a super edge. Its all fun, games and algorithms until the money comes out.

Unfortunately for Facebook, this is kind of a fail in its current state. In the instance above, I had actually hid this girl’s updates like 2 years ago. I have no other alcohol company “likes” in my profile, and I have never visited or have any association with the Ketel One page.

So Facebook will make its “estimated reach” projection for promoted status updates with horribly unqualified traffic.

Which actually led to me to try and hide her and her posts (yet again), and I landed on the page below. It looks like they are going to push this widget as a sort of backwards way to fix the above problem. Except, even though I haven’t interacted with any of these peoples posts in a while I’m hesitant to want to delist them from my friends.

In this stepped process, you can put friends into an Acquaintance List. Facebook is now giving you a way to divide your friends into 3 global lists: Close Friends, Acquaintances, and Restricted. More on that here.

This is completely outside of the other lists you might already have and use; smart lists or custom lists you taken time to create. Thats right, all that time you spent organizing people – kinda meaningless in a way. Their new Acquaintance List system looks like a backwards way to figure out how to eliminate irrelevant promoted ads like the one I got above – but its obviously not working so well yet. Until then, expect to see a lot of extra noise in you feed.