Facebook silently pulled a controversial feature, which allowed users to pay to get their posts more visibility in the news feed. When Facebook first announced the feature back in October 2012, the social media community was abuzz. Some went so far as to call Facebook “rigged,” and took the position that Facebook paid personal posts were bad for users.
The paid personal post tactic was useful to anyone who is personally sociable in Facebook with his or her business connections. It was also fantastic for family news, like new baby pictures and graduation party invitations. After all, both business and life are all about personal relationships, right? We all knew that free personal reach was in decline, right?
It was awesome. Below each personal wall post, we could simply click the “Promote” link, spend $6.99 and a much greater percentage of our friends would see the post. Since Facebook’s news feed algorithm is always changing which of our friends’ posts we see, the promote-to-my-personal-friends option was well worthwhile. Declining personal reach is also affected by news feed ads. A number of advanced marketers we know, with deep personal industry friendships, used promoted personal posts frequently.
The little known advantage to personal amplification was that there was little or no editorial, especially as pertained to text-percentage in images.
Facebook’s announcement was covered in major trade publications, with an announcement regarding the tests on Facebook.com. In classic Facebook style, there are few or no announcements to be found regarding the retired feature. The original Facebook announcement lived here:
http://newsroom.fb.com/News/Testing-Promoted-Posts-for-People-in-the-U-S-1c6.aspx, which now returns a 404 error.
If you hunt around, you’ll find a few remaining references to the former promoted personal post feature in Facebook’s help pages. I used the feature for the last time, to get the word out about my stolen Honda Pilot, about 2 weeks ago.
The Help Center link “Ruby” provided in the image above, regarding personal account post promotion, also returns a 404, page not found. Facebook pulled the feature and then almost erased all references to the former function without announcing.
EdgeRank, your visibility earned (in part) by how you engage with other users, is a lot of work. It was wonderful to buy visibility without having to work at connecting with friends inside of Facebook. We considered personal page post amplification a “Display network,” in which the targeting was to personal friends. While not crucial, it was fun to write a check and dominate distribution among people I’m connected to. Farewell, sponsored personal posts. That was a fun experiment for those in the know.