Hot Topics:

Should You Promote Your Facebook Posts?

What Facebook's promoted posts feature means for online sellers

Facebook can be a great marketing tool for online sellers. It can increase your interaction with buyers, put you in front of a new audience and give you another avenue to tell customers about your business.

But with so much activity on news feeds, Facebook posts can get lost in the noise, as your Facebook Insights, or stats, might have already shown you. The powers that be at Facebook know this, so in May, a new feature called promoted posts was introduced that lets business page administrators pay to ensure more fans see their wall posts.

The new tool is nothing if not controversial. Some say you shouldn’t be able to pay to be included in news feeds. Others say it’s a good marketing tool. Here we take a closer look at promoted posts, so you know what this feature entails, should you consider giving it a try.

Who can use promoted posts?

Promoted posts are only available to business pages that have between 400 and 100,000 likes, Facebook reports. They’re not for personal pages.

Promoting a post is fairly easy. Administrators of Facebook pages just have to post an item on their wall, as they normally would, then click the Promote drop-down menu on the bottom right of the post. Then they can specify a budget for the post.

Promoted posts will show up in people’s news feeds, unlike Facebook ads, which appear off to the side

To qualify to use the feature, Facebook posts must be less than a few days old. If you don’t see the Promote menu and you have the required 400 likes, your post could be too old to promote.

“[The] news feed is a place for people to see the most recent and popular content from the people and pages they’re connected to. To make sure [the] news feed is filled with the most relevant stories, you can only promote posts within three days from when they’re created,” Facebook’s Help Center explains.

Promoted Facebook posts get more views

Promoted posts will show up in people’s news feeds, unlike Facebook ads, which appear off to the side. The fee you pay to get posts into the news feed can be as low as $5, or as high as $20, notes Lauren Drell, the campaigns editor for Mashable. Posts are promoted for three days, and the budget you set covers the lifetime of the campaign.

It may seem odd to pay to be included in news feeds—especially those of fans who have liked your page in order to get your updates. You may wonder if you really need to promote your Facebook posts. After all, posts you don’t promote will still get posted on your wall and be included in others’ news feeds.

Ah, if only it were that simple. You see, fans and friends post a lot of new things on Facebook every day, so, naturally, some posts—actually, a lot of posts—get buried.

“[Friends] may miss things when they’re not on Facebook, or they have a lot of friends and pages, which results in too much activity to show all of it in their news feeds,” Facebook reports.

Frank Emanuele, the community manager of Likeable Media, a social media marketing firm, writes that traditional Facebook posts reach about 16 percent of a page’s audience.

You see, Facebook’s algorithm, EdgeRank, determines who will see your traditional wall posts based on affinity, or how often someone interacts with a page, on weight, or whether a person has commented, liked, tagged, or shared something on your page, and on how old the post is, reports David McBee, the author of the blog Let’s Translate. Making Sense Out of Internet Gobbledygook.

Paying for a promoted post will get you in the news feed of several more fans. In fact, your post could even be included in the news feed of someone who doesn’t know your page. This is because if one of your fans likes, comments or interacts with the post you promote, their friends will also see the promoted post in their news feeds, Facebook reports.
Promoted posts are seen by more fans than a regular post is, so the strength of the content chosen needs to be attention grabbing

Now, not everyone who likes your page will see the post you promote, but promoting your post could greatly increase the number of people who do see your post. Facebook will give you an estimate of how many people will see your post when it’s promoted, though it emphasizes that this figure is just an estimate.

Once the post is promoted, Facebook will provide you with stats about how many people saw the post organically, and how many saw it because you paid to have it promoted.

Promoted Facebook posts should be worth promoting

We can hear you getting excited at the idea of reaching more people, but before you start promoting items on your wall, keep in mind that when you promote a post, it should be something that is truly worthy of promotion.

“[Promoted] posts are seen by more fans than a regular post is, so the strength of the content chosen needs to be attention grabbing,” writes Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation, an online legal filing service for entrepreneurs.

These can be videos about your latest product, questions, photos of the latest seller group meet-up event you attended, special offers, etc.

Promoted posts or Facebook ads?

Promoted posts are similar in some ways to Facebook ads, for instance, in the way you pay for them. But there are some differences as well.

You’ll need to add a payment method (credit card, PayPal or a debit card) to promoted posts, as you would to create a Facebook ad. You can do this in your Facebook Ad Manager. Facebook notes that, just as with Facebook ads, you may be billed every day of your promoted post’s three-day run. But you can suspend your promotion, and you’ll only be billed for the time your campaign ran.

Again, the budget you specify for a promoted post will be for the entire duration of the promotion. On the other hand, when you create a Facebook ad, you can choose to enter a budget for the lifetime of the campaign, or you can pay per day. You can also have a Facebook ad run longer than three days. You can even choose the start and end date and time for the ad.

Facebook ads also let you target a particular demographic by specifying the age, gender, relationship status, interests, etc., you want to target. Promoted posts don’t let you get that technical, but you can specify the language and set a location for the promoted post, if you want.

A promoted posts experiment

Tricia Meyer, an affiliate marketer and blogger, recently wrote about her experience using promoted Facebook posts. Meyer, who has about 3,800 likes on Facebook, promoted Facebook posts twice after receiving a $50 Facebook advertising credit.

She reports that 1,700 people saw her second promoted post organically. About 1,000 more saw it because she paid to promote the post. With the stats Facebook provided her, she was also able to see how many clicks her second post got, how many likes it got and how many comments it received. She notes that she didn’t get these stats for her first campaign though she was unsure why.

The last piece of data she got was particularly helpful, she writes. “It [showed] that 45 percent of my fans saw the promoted post,” she notes. “This is way up from the 8 percent to 12 percent who usually see my posts. It also tells me that 25 percent of the people who saw the post only saw it because I paid for the promotion.”

Meyer adds that she didn’t get a whole lot of clicks from the promoted spots, but her expense was minimal. She only spent $12.20 out of the $20 budget she set. “The key, now that I know how to use the system, is to figure out what types of posts are best to promote,” she writes.

Sounds to us like the topic of a whole other article.

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • Anonymous

    Facebook recently certified Google’s DoubleClick as an approved third-party ad tracker, giving advertisers more flexibility in how they measure impressions, clicks and interactions with their Facebook campaigns.Facebook is also testing a new real-time bidding exchange that will allow third-party platforms to place retargeting ads on Facebook after users visit external websites marked with cookies. DoubleClick’s demand side platform, DoubleClick Bid Manager, is not included in that test.

Newsletter Signup