Facebook launches the test of the promoted posts option and the user majority doesn’t seem interested. Always free to use, Facebook still finds a way to bring in the big bucks with paid ads and other promotions. This past week, Facebook launched an option for promoted posts. Users can pay to have chosen posts and pictures promoted to their friends and network. However, Facebook has found their decision challenging, as some users have not noticed, and many others simply don’t care to pay for promoted posts.
The Facebook Pay to Use Debate
While Facebook has always been free to use and the company claims this will never change, rumors that have circulated on the internet over the past few years have resulted in many users adamantly stating that they would never pay to use Facebook and would willingly stop using the site should they be forced to pay a fee. Facebook makes its money from paid ads and other paid options that enable users to maintain free profiles and pages. While the company should, without a doubt, profit in some way, users balk at the idea of paying for many services via the FB website. Businesses and non-profits benefit from the paid ads, but others simply want their free profile or page to connect with others, and to have some fun on the internet.
Paid promotion of posts does not make a lot of sense. Most users feel that friends who pay attention or happen to be online at the time of their post, or those who deliberately visit their page will see what they have posted. In fact, this is one of the fun things about Facebook – seeing who has read, liked, and commented on a post. Paying to ensure a post is seen seems like a pointless waste unless you are a small business or organization trying to get a message out there.
Facebook is not the first social networking site to offer paid promotion of posts. Other social networking sites do and have offered such an option; most notably is Netlog, who offers a “Spotlight” option for posts, blogs, photos, videos, and more. However, users have to pay to get their item in the spotlight. Most users don’t bother; everyone knows it is just a money making scheme for the social network. Unlike Facebook, where promotions are to existing friends and networks, the only benefit on Netlog is that putting something in the spotlight could bring more people to your profile and result in additional friend requests. With FB security, it is doubtful that this would be a benefit of promoted posts.
Facebook users fall into two categories: those who pay little attention to ads and paid options, opting for interacting on profiles and pages and using apps, or those who have noticed the promoted posts option and are not the least bit interested. In fact, a recent Sterne Agee survey revealed that only 16% of Facebook users showed any desire to pay for promoted posts. Considering the number of Facebook users out there, 16% is a minority number that makes promoted posts seem like a wasted effort for FB founders. Facebook already rakes in billions from advertising partners and other paid promotions. There’s no need to nickel and dime users by offering to promote their posts for a fee when the fees are likely to outweigh the benefits.