Is Facebook Forcing Promoted Posts On Creators?

Ever since Facebook introduced the concept of “promoted posts,” people have been seeing a significant decrease in their interactions from fan page posts. Ideally, a regular non-promoted post should reach 10-20% of your audience. However, people with fan pages have been seeing much lower percentages in terms of organic reach. Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm is responsible for separating promoted posts into a category that is designed to reach a maximum number of viewers. With Facebook asking for payment for promoted posts, the possibility that non-promoted posts are no longer reaching that 10-20% is very realistic.

With Facebook struggling to satisfy investors now that they have gone public, the need to bring in a larger revenue stream is incredibly important. Introducing the promoted post was Facebook’s way of pacifying critics who believed the social media site’s ads were no longer an effective revenue generator. The word is still out in regards to whether or not promoted posts are the answer to Facebook’s financial woes, but as of this moment, Facebook’s stock is down 2.7%.

So the question is: Would Facebook intentionally lower the reach tied to non-promoted posts just to force people to buy promoted posts? If this were the case, it would be an extremely shady move on Facebook’s part. But as the blunders of Google have proven time and time again, multi-billion dollar companies live in a sort of moral grey area.

With pressure to show investors that Facebook can turn a profit, twisting and turning the site’s share percentages seems like a natural move. If most companies and artists rely on Facebook to get the word out about their product, they will obviously feel the squeeze of share numbers dropping. If the average number of people reached through regular posts continues to drop, a creator’s reaction will most likely be to turn to promoted posts. For a while now, Facebook has been the primary free advertising location for businesses, bands, and creators; Facebook could now be asking for us to return the favor.

If Facebook is lowering the rate of fans reached through normal posts, it doesn’t specifically mean that you need to purchase promoted posts. Obviously, as a creator you want as many people as you can get to read your updates. However, having a ton of eyes on your posts doesn’t mean automatic interaction. At the end of the day, interaction with your posts comes down to how well you are marketing yourself as a creator. Think about whether you are communicating with fans and posting regularly. If that isn’t the case, then it is doubtful a sponsored post will help you out.

We reached out to a Facebook representative about the drop in shares and were told, “The number you are trying to reach has been disconnected.”

Have you seen a dramatic drop in your audience’s interaction on Facebook? How about a drop in organic views and reach? We want to hear from you. Make some noise below.

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  • Matthew Manarino

    We have tried promoted posts for our big articles at NMR and really have not seen a difference between the reach numbers until just recently. I agree with your style of putting out more varied posts more often. 

  • Brett Snelgrove

    It certainly feels like audience interaction on non-promoted posts has dipped. I think moving forward I will re-evaluate my Facebook strategy. In stead of say only posts once or twice a day maybe to cut thru it will involve posting more often and with more and varied content. I’d be interested to hear what other people think? Are you changing your approach to FB? Are you considering using the Promote A Post option?

  • Whelou

    I’ve noticed a very significant drop in the percentage of people my business page reaches.  We’ve gone from 600-1000+ unique views a day to 50-350 tops unique views a day.  When I click promote they say I can reach 800 people for $5.00.  Five dollars per post?  That’s a bit steep for me.  The sharp decline didn’t kick in until “promote” showed up.  Anyone who thinks facebook is above stifling views to make a profit is incredibly naive.

  • Matthew Manarino

    That is a great point Reigh. However, I don’t believe that Facebook’s popularity has grown exponentially enough to change post reach percentages since the introduction of promoted posts. 

  • Reign

    I really disagree with 99% of this article.  Personally, I’ve noticed almost no change in the reach of the content I share on any of my pages (has been 10% – 20% since I’ve been able to see it on a post to post basis).  

    My theory is that with all of the new changes to insights, ads, and the amount of press FB has been getting, more and more people are getting more and more involved with managing their Facebook presence.  As more people share more content that higher percentages of their fan bases engage with, competition for space in the news feed seems to be getting stiffer.  

    You aren’t just competing against people in your industry, you’re literally fighting against all the bands someone likes, their real life friends, and every other brand they have fanned.  

    That said, it’s not impossible to reap benefits from Facebook without paying for sponsored stories.  In my experience, content is and has always been king.  If you regularly produce unique content that interests your fan base, you were doing fine before the changes and you’re still doing fine now.  

    What insights and sponsored stories have done for me is to allow me to fine tune my content strategy.