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.