Promoted posts: Another Facebook revenue model targeting users, not advertisers

4 Oct 2012

Got a really important status update that you want to make sure your friends will see? As Facebook begins testing promoted posts for users, those truly crucial posts can be bumped up in friends’ and subscribers’ news feeds – for a price.

Facebook users in New Zealand were first to test promoted posts back in May, and it has since been rolled out to select users in more than 20 countries, including the US, as of yesterday.

Select users with fewer than 5,000 friends and subscribers will be able to click ‘Promote’ beneath a status update and pay to see their post highlighted on more news feeds. This boosts how many people see the post than would organically, and Facebook even provides the metrics to prove it.

Facebook promoted posts

Facebook promoted posts

According to The Telegraph, promoted posts are expected to cost users about US$7 (just over €5) a pop. Along with the recently launched Facebook Gifts service, this represents another opportunity for Facebook to make money from its users, not just from advertisers.

While some may balk at the idea of paying to promote a social media update, the fact Facebook is now providing paid-for services beyond advertising – and turning its users into customers, not the product being sold – intimates a profound shift in the company’s outlook, and one that could be more sustainable in the long run.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.