Facebook Plans to Restrict Promotional Posts Unless You Pay for Them

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November 16, 2014
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Facebook is reportedly planning to crack down on promotional posts from brands once again, starting January 2015. Announced via a press release this Friday, the new restriction is apparently aimed at reducing the amount of spam and overly promotional material from the news feeds of users, but marketers who refrain from buying Facebook ads are likely to suffer because of the latest decision.

According to Facebook, it has some metrics that define which users will see how many ads in their news feed. Promotional posts from brands, since they do not count as standard ads, can mar a user’s site viewing experience by littering their news feeds by what Facebook describes as ‘overly promotional posts’. These include incentives to buy a product or download some app from a distributor, invitation to enter giveaways or sweepstakes, and posts that masquerade as advertisements by copying the exact contents of the ads. Some examples of such posts are also provided by the company:

facebook-promotional-posts

Starting January 2015, ratings of such posts will be decreased significantly to reduce their chance of appearing in a user’s news feed. “The idea is to increase the relevance and quality of the overall stories – including Page posts – people see in their News Feeds. This change is about giving people the best Facebook experience possible and being responsive to what they have told us,” reads an official statement from Facebook.

Beginning in January ’15, promoting a product or an app on Facebook would most likely require you to buy an ad.

There are two takeaways here. One is that promotional material from small brands which decide not to buy ads will face a significant drop in their audience reach. Secondly, the amount of proper, purchased ads will remain more or less the same. Overall, this translates to a prominent reach of Facebook-approved, purchased ads on the users’ news feeds.

This is not the first time that Facebook has decided to force a refined policy for posts and links. Earlier this year, Facebook announced a change in its news feed generation algorithms to favour direct links instead of click-bait multimedia material (photos and videos) that contain external links in their captions.

While blunt decisions like this are bound to receive polarizing reviews from users and brands, Facebook has nonetheless been involved in providing guidance to businesses on advertisements basics, and how to narrow down the easiest ways to reach their target audience as well, because, at the end of the day, Facebook is a publicly-traded business itself with the purpose to generate revenue.

–Image source: Mashable

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