Ever ‘liked’ a brand on Facebook? Yep, lots of us have. A quick check of my own profile shows I like 200 or so brands. No biggie, right?

Well… no. A lot of people have been commenting lately on the number of promoted posts in the Facebook Newsfeed, and there has been a fair amount of speculation as to whether the Facebook Edgerank algorithm has been changed forcing brands to run more ads in order to reach their audience. As a result, we see more Sponsored posts associated with our friends in our Newsfeed – and often they are the top story, edging out posts from our friends and family about what they are actually up to. Infuriating, frustrating and often just plain annoying. It is also not unusual to see people commenting on the ad angrily asking ‘Why am I seeing this in my Newsfeed? I have never liked this company!’ It is probably safe to say that they wont be engaging with that brand on Facebook again.

A lot of my Facebook friends work in marketing or social media. So of course they ‘Like’ lots of brand pages to keep up to date with how market leaders, competitors or industry players use Facebook. This means I see a lot of Sponsored posts in my Newsfeed (and no doubt they see a lot from all my brand Page Likes too). Here is one from tonight:

It will be interesting to see whether this increase in advertising on Facebook will result in us putting pressure on our Facebook friends to limit the number of brand Pages they Like (to reduce the number of ads we are seeing), or whether we will just hide those people entirely and forfeit their personal updates just to reduce the number of Sponsored posts in our feeds.

Facebook are unlikely to reduce the number of ads you will see – they need to provide a return to their shareholders after all – and brands want to expand their reach into the Facebook communities so will allocate part of their media budget for Facebook ads alongside print, TV and radio. The ads will keep coming – the question is, what will you do? Will you become more conscious about which brand Pages you Like, knowing that your friends could be subjected to ads they may not find relevant or interesting? Will you prune back the number of Likes you have accumulated over the years by doing a mini audit?

If you run a Facebook Page for a brand then this recent blog by Facebook on how promoted posts work might be handy. Some of the comments are quite interesting too.

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Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. its less annoying than pre-roll ads on youtube, or takeovers on NZ Herald to be honest. I don’t mind them.

  2. One issue is that the promoted posts can go to friends of fans – which puts the sponsored story into timelines that haven’t chosen to engage. this is a double-edged sword – yes, you can extend your reach and build your fan base, but, wow, you can really annoy a lot of folks in the process.

  3. I spoke with Facebook about this a couple of weeks ago. They hinted that NZ is the test market for this, and if people complain enough they will pull back on the rollout. Only problem is people aren’t complaining to Facebook, they’re complaining to the brands who are running the promoted posts! My advice – use promoted posts sparingly. Its not going to be possible to deliver above average reach/engagement with EVERY post – pick and choose those that will do the best job for the brand, and average your reach/engagement results out across the month. We’ve had some success using this format sparingly – and targeting fans only – over the last few weeks.

  4. A workaround I’ve found for the “promoted-posts-gone-wild-in-Mongolia” issue is making sure you geo-locate it before you promote it. You can’t use targeting once posted though, so HAVE to decide before you post if you’re going to possibly promote it.

  5. I just started noticing this yesterday (I’m in Reno NV) so far I have hidden at least 20 pages that I never ‘liked’ or ‘followed’. I am getting one for every 4 or 5 newsfeed posts.

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Advertising, Brands, Facebook, Social Media

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