Many brands that have a Facebook page have noticed in recent months that their posts don’t seem to be getting their usual reaction from their viewers. Fewer comments, fewer likes, and fewer shares are being seen across the board. This isn’t because the pages are posting less intriguing stuff, it’s because Facebook is now limiting the exposure rate of pages to their opted-in/subscribed followers – only 15% of their subscribed followers – in an effort to promote their ‘sponsored posts’ business model, which involves paying Facebook to have a post shown to the full subscriber list.
At first glance, the obvious issue with this is how you can only reach 15% of your Page’s audience if they are already went out of their way to opt-in. And to add insult to injury, Facebook offers you the option to advertise your page so that you could gather new subscribers, in essence making you pay to get new Likes. So now they want you to pay to get subscribers, and then pay to be able to reach those subscribers who have already said “I want to receive this page’s posts on my Facebook news feed”. Pages can now be required to pay hundreds of dollars per post just to reach their full subscribed audience, sometimes thousands of dollars depending on the amount of subscribed followers.
From Facebook’s perspective, it is totally within their right to do this, and existing in a capitalistic nation you could even argue that this is the evil money making scheme that might solve their poorly performing stock issues. But I’m here to argue that the sponsored posts model is a lose-lose situation for both Facebook, brand pages, and even Facebook users…
Why It’s Bad For Brands
Let’s say that that the company/brand is willing to fork over the expensive fees to reach their full subscribed audience on every post they publish – well now they are spamming their followers. Because sponsored posts always appear at the top of a news feed, the brand will now be dominating the news feed of their followers, instead of just casually appearing in chronological order like they used to. So now instead of reading a few friends’s statuses, then viewing a few photos, and a brand page post, it’s now always going to be a brand page post at the top as the first thing you see. Good luck not pissing off your entire fan base with that, I’m sure they love feeling like you are advertising down their throats every time they log onto Facebook.
Why It’s Bad For Facebook
Facebook is essentially turning its amazing service into a spam machine for those willing to pay. Users want to be able to customize their feed to their exact desires, they don’t want to be told what should be given their primary attention. By allowing sponsored posts to have priority over things they actually care about, Facebook becomes less personalized and the whole experience goes against what made Facebook successful in the first place.
This sponsored posts business model is just a bad idea on all fronts. It will fundamentally change the experience for users on Facebook, and it will anger the majority of the brand pages that can’t afford to pay astronomical fees every time they want to post something and actually have it reach their subscribed followers. If Facebook wants to remain top dog and keep Google+ at bay, they need to figure out a better way to generate revenue without angering everybody in the process.