This Mom Loves has 1325 fans on Facebook. (More or less. More once you click on over and “Like” it. See how smooth I was there?) Anyway, the number seems pretty respectable, doesn’t it? But with the way Facebook works, most of my posts are seen in the timelines of only 50 – 100 people, which to me does not seem at all fair. If people have clicked on “Like”, I’m pretty sure they’re agreeing to allow my headlines to pop up in their feed. But that would be too easy.

Facebook does give business pages the option to have posts “promoted”, which means you can pay them to show your updates to more people. While opposed to the idea in principle, I decided to experiment with this option and see what results I would get.

After the show Big Brother Canada got off to an amazing start in the ratings, as well as on Facebook and Twitter, I posted a Momterview with the show’s host Arisa Cox. I figured there would be a lot of interest out there, if only people knew the interview existed.

I posted an update on Facebook with a photo of Arisa and her kids and a link to the interview, and then made a commitment to spend $5 to promote the post, with an estimated reach of 1190 to 2210 people (compared to the 60ish people who usually see my updates).

The final results:

  • 1486 people saw the Facebook post pop up in their timelines.
  • 10 people clicked on it (yes, 10. Out of 1486. Obviously my fans are not all Big Brother fans.)
  • There were 4 “Likes”, 1 “Share”, and 1 “Comment”
  • Total cost of $4.28 to my Paypal account

My analysis:

While $5 is a small price to pay to have that many people see a Facebook update, I think it would be most worthwhile if it was some sort of announcement or information contained right in the Facebook post that you wanted people to see. What I really wanted was for people to click on the link and visit my blog to read the interview, which it appears only 10 people did. That seems like an incredibly small percentage to me.

I might do it again in the future for a post if I have any reason to believe that it could appeal to a large number of people, but I post about three times per week, and even if I stick with the $5 per, that still really adds up. I don’t think I should have to pay for people to read my blog.

And I really do resent giving Facebook money for this. If 1325 chose to “Like” me, I’m assuming they’re open to having my occasional updates appear in their stream, so it seems pretty underhanded that I have to pay to have more of them see it. Especially since while I am a “business” page, I’m not seeking out any income or sales results from the people who read my posts. Just more traffic and reach, that’s it. But what can you do?

What are your thoughts on paying to promote posts on Facebook?

7 comments on “Promoting a Facebook Post: Is It Worth It?”

  1. Since first drafting this post, I've read what some other bloggers have to say about it, and something that keeps coming up is that not all the fans of a page are on Facebook at the exact time an update is posted, and some actually (gasp!) skip a day and therefore will understandably miss updates even without any devious Facebook tricks at play.

    However, I seem to be only reaching 3.8%…and I am willing to go out on a limb and say that more than 3.8% of my page's fans are on Facebook every day…several times! I get that I'll never reach 100% due to various factors, but less than 4% seems really small.

    I also know that I need to engage fans to Like and Share more, in order to increase my reach as well. Any tips on that?

  2. I left this on your FB wall too. but put the link to your post in the comments. It makes a HUGE difference.
    If I share a picture, it might reach 200, if I do a text post with the link in the comments it will reach over 1000

  3. I've heard arguments for and against this idea…but I just tried it with this exact post a couple of minutes ago to test it out, and it's already been seen by more people than the original (which had the link right in the update). So obviously putting the link in the comments instead of the actual update is more beneficial. Anyone know of any downsides to that?

  4. I like to use FB for personal communication and enjoy when people share things they really like (videos, blogs, images). I am not a big fan of all the advertising, I think it takes away from the "simpleness" of the interactions. However, I am pleased to promote your blog there because it is interesting and worth the read!
    Linking the post to your blog seems like a brilliant idea. Wish I had thought of that;0)

  5. Thanks for sharing this test. It is funny, today I actually clicked on the promote button to see what the options were, how much it cost, etc. The thing that confused me was that it was going to show to my followers and friends. I thought it might throw a wider net. I might try it sometime, but not sure if 10 clicks is worth $5. Hmmm.

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