The Facebook News Feed used to be sacred ground, reserved for only those with a direct connection to the profile holder – for example, posts from brands they follow. . . .
Then Facebook got tricky. They put in “Sponsored Stories” and bumped branded Page Posts to their own tab. Then they offered to put those Page Posts back in the main News Feed for a price (Promoted Posts.) Now, they’re testing Facebook Exchange Ads in the News Feed. Ads like this one:
The overall message: if you want your business to show up in a prime location, you have to pay, pay, pay. And that should be okay with marketers. After all, you’d pay to put a banner ad on another site or hang a billboard in town – so shouldn’t you pay to have your ads show up on Facebook?
And yet, it feels wrong, doesn’t it? Mostly it’s because we’re used to getting all that coverage for free. It also is disconcerting because Facebook keeps changing the rules. Once FBX ads start showing up in the feed, what happens to the post I just paid to promote? Facebook says they aren’t going to increase the number of visible ads, so something has to give. And why can’t I see the posts for Pages I choose to follow!
I’m also perplexed by the ad Facebook is using as an example. Why is Jasper’s Market paying good money to send traffic to FoodNetwork.com? Does that make sense to anyone? I know it’s good to put these kinds of sharing and caring posts on your FB page but to pay to advertise someone else’s site. . . .?
And what happened to the redesign Facebook announced a few weeks ago. Did that ever happen? Because my page is still the same.
My point is, just when you start to get a handle on what works on Facebook, they go and shuffle the cards. I don’t see how that’s benefiting anyone except by chance.
Is more ad options on the main News Feed a good thing for marketers? Absolutely. Will more ads drive people off Facebook – not at this rate. So where’s the bad? Again, it’s in the results. If you’re paying for an ad of any kind (Promoted Post or otherwise), you expect to see a return on investment. I imagine there are people who can make it work – but a quick trip around the internet shows there aren’t many.
A reporter for PCWorld did a very small but very interesting test comparing Google Search ads to Facebook and LinkedIn ads. It’s one ad over a short period of time and I hear you saying that’s not enough data to judge, but take a look anyway. Forget the actual numbers and look at the experience. Facebook doesn’t make it easy and I don’t understand that.
What sayeth you? Are you a fan of Facebook ads in the News Feed or not?