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Is Facebook Really Charging for Status Updates?

No, not exactly. But – if you haven’t noticed it yet – there is a new option available to all business page owners when you write your next status update. It’s called Facebook Promoted Posts – “Promote your page posts so more people see them in their news feed.” Sounds great, right? But there’s a catch – you have to PAY to have those posts promoted. That does not sound so great.

mobile facebook use

Did you know… only 16 out of every 100 of your “fans” actually see your status updates?

If you haven’t seen the new update about Promotional Posts yet, you should soon. When you use Facebook as your page, and begin to write your status update, it will show you a pop-up bubble with the option to promote that post. If you click for details, it will then let you know that you’ll be paying for that chance to have your post seen by more of your own fans. This feature started as a test option, where personal users could pay to have their status updates shared more widely, but they quickly realized they would have better luck getting businesses to pay. I had a feeling that Facebook would soon start charging business owners more fees, but this was still pretty surprising. And personally, I think it’s a bad move – Here’s why:

  • First, Facebook said that it wants brands to act more like people – interact with users, not advertise to them. They even have a rule that when you create the large banner image for your Facebook page, you cannot promote sales or deals – because the goal is to have pages to create good content, not ads. So – they will prevent you from using the graphic on your page as an ad, but will now allow you to treat the status updates that you post as ads, by paying to ensure that they are seen? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
  • Why not just show all of my fans my posts anyway? If Facebook is serious about their stated goal of improving the user experience, then why do they hide my posts? When I like a brand or blog page, it’s because I’m interested in following their posts, and learning what they have to say. So why hide things from me that I chose to follow?
  • Right now, Facebook shows your post to a limited amount of your fans – the average is 16%. How do they decide who to show it to? Well, they look at whether someone has interacted with your page before, whether the status update is popular {lots of likes and shares means Facebook will show it to even more people}, and what the content is {picture, video, links, etc}. They do this with a goal of giving you only updates that will be interesting to you. So why would they do the complete opposite, and allow people to pay to show me status updates that Facebook would not have shown me in the first place?

But, this is the way it is now, so I have to adapt. We all do. And, from what I’m hearing around the web, there will be a lot more changes coming soon too. {Isn’t there always a new change coming to Facebook? Ugh.}  While they still guarantee that Facebook will never charge people to use it, they WILL be adding quite a few more features that they can charge business owners to use. I hope the next ones are better than this.

If I wanted to pay for an ad, I would. I shouldn’t have to pay to have my status shown to people who have already chosen to like my page.

Well, now that we know what this new Promoted Posts tool is, let’s take a look at how it works, so you can take advantage of it if you choose to. I mean, like it or not, working on the web means constantly adapting to new changes. So – here’s some basic tips on using the new Promoted Posts function on Facebook.

  1. Switch to use Facebook as your page, and click on the status update box, to start a new post. You’ll see a new button at the bottom of the box, labeled “Promote.”
  2. Click the drop down menu arrow, and you’ll see options to set your price, payment method, and other settings.
  3. Now, you can promote your post. You can also go to other previous posts {from the last 3 days only}, and add them to be promoted as well, within the budget amount that you have set up.

When the post appears in people’s newsfeeds, it will be labeled as sponsored. I’m not sure how bold the label will be, or whether it will appear more spammy looking to people. But – I can see the appeal to this option. We’ve all used Facebook for such a long time, that our eyes are trained to kind of ignore that side of the page where the ads are. Think about it – Can you remember any ads that you’ve seen lately? But you DO notice what’s in your newsfeed, so allowing brands to add their sponsored posts right into the stream you’re reading – right in between an announcement about your best friend’s new baby, and an upcoming graduation party for a niece, then the sponsored post is pretty darn likely to be actually looked at and read. This also helps with the mobile user problem – a growing percentage of people visit Facebook primarily from their cell phones, totally bypassing ads altogether. But now, brands have a new way to reach them.

What Facebook says about Promoted Posts

“Nothing has changed about how your posts are shared with the people who like your Page.” – A lot of activity happens on Facebook and most people only see some of it in their news feeds. They may miss things when they’re not on Facebook, or they may have a lot of friends and Pages, which results in too much activity to show all of it in their news feed. If you don’t promote your post, many of the people connected to your Page may still see it. However, by promoting a post, you’re increasing its potential reach so an even larger percentage of your Page audience and the friends of those interacting with your post will see it.

Facebook like button

Do you “Like” this new update?

Is this tool something that you’ll use to promote your own posts? As a user, do you think you’ll be bothered by these sponsored updates in your newsfeed? I’d love to hear some comments on all sides of this issue – I’m still trying to figure out what I think about it all. And, if you’d like to learn more, you can visit the Facebook Promoted Posts FAQ page, and a little more about Facebook advertising and it’s always changing form.

{Photo credits: First photo, second photo.}



  1. Danielle F says

    I am not sure what I think of this… on one hand..great, I can make sure that more people are seeing posts that I feel are important. On the other hand – large companies can afford to promote every one of their statuses, causing some of my favorite blogs to disappear in my newsfeed. In my opinion.. Facebook needs to stop creating changes… I miss the old newsfeed that had EVERYTHING in chronological order as my friends and liked pages posted them.

  2. Beyond ridiculous. The next new thing needs to pop up so we can ditch Facebook like we did Myspace.

    • Google+. I’m thinking of switching

      • i’ve been enticing my Facebook readers to join me on Google+ for the time being. I don’t like the idea of promotional posts. Normal pages can’t manage. It’s purely focused on big companies that can afford to pay for multiple promotinoal posts each day, but as a blogger, I post 20-30 times a day sometimes. mostly fun updates, stories, questions, you know…trying to interact with my readers like Facebook was designed to do! I can’t afford to be paying $5-30 for each post! I’m a regular BLOG. Yet, according to Facebook’s rules we can’t use profiles to post, it HAS to be a page.

        I think Facebook may be looking a gift horse in the mouth and will definitely lose a lot of approval and users over this move. But I don’t think it’s all because of this promotional post issue, It’s really just the straw that broke the camels back. Adding Edgeranker as the automatic algorithm system that decides to keep your posts from your readers because they are “valuable” enough, which they added quite a while ago, is the real issue. Take it all away, and let all my posts show up to the readers who Physically said, “YES I want to see what this page posts!” by clicking that “like” button. I’d gladly pay an ad price to gain new readers, but I don’t think it’s right to have to pay to show my current readers my posts.

  3. What the…

    Really? Who is going to pay for that?!

    • as far as I know, almost all bloggers I know are refusing to pay the price. But think of bigger companies…they can afford it and will probably do it, thus making Facebook think it was all worth while, even though they had to step on the little guys to get there.

  4. Wow! This is nuts! I just checked and they want $20 to show one status update to about 1/3 of my fans. It’s time to start utilizing Google+ more. Thanks for the info!

  5. Just crazy!!! I totally agree with you on all of this–it’s like they’re saying one thing and then acting another, which is never good!

  6. This was very helpful. I didn’t realize that only 16% of your fans even see your posts – that is really frustrating, isn’t it? I will share this with my business owner friends. Thank you! :)

    • Sunshine and Sippy Cups says

      With the new update, I have a new feature {something that I used to have, but had disappeared. Because FB is always changing things, lol} – under each post, you can see how many people have seen your update, and what percentage of your fans that is. I love that – but it drives home the sad fact that SO few people are seeing what we post….

      • Sadly, I think it’s time for bloggers and PR reps to move on off Facebook. I love the instant interaction, but not for a price. Or at least their prices! :-) We all have comments on our blogs — time to ramp that up!

  7. I had no clue about this! WOW!!!

  8. – It seems you have reached a page that no longer exists. Please visit the Ads and Business Solutions Help Center page for help with ads, sponsored stories, and Pages.

    Did they scrap it already? I looked on my fan page and did not have the option to promote a post. Perhaps it’s only for people/companies with larger fan bases?

    • Sunshine and Sippy Cups says

      Jessica – that’s weird? When I click on it, it still shows up for me?? And for the promotion – it does sound like not everyone is seeing the update yet – you know how it goes, takes a while to roll out anything new.

      Facebook is so weird sometimes….

      • Chrissie says

        This feature is still in trial, Facebook has said only a certain number of pages have received this feature to see if businesses really will pay to promote one or more of there status’s.

        They have not yet decided if it is something they will bring in permanently.

        I don’t have this feature available yet neither do ALOT of other pages.

        Everyone is getting all worked up for nothing, really.

  9. I think it stinks. The only thing do like is that I can see my reach numbers now on my business page for each post I write. Besides that it is really slowing down traffic to my site.

  10. I’m not surprised, but it just goes to show how focused on monetizing their site Facebook is becoming. It’s not a blogger and small business friendly site anymore … and becoming less so by the day.

    The same ways to get more people to see your messages are still true – post at different times of day, post several times a day, use pictures and videos to broaden your appeal, and engage with your fan base as much as possible.

    Thanks Facebook – for making it harder to use your platform for my admittedly small business needs *grr*

    • Sunshine and Sippy Cups says

      I do agree that they don’t seem to be very friendly to small business. The more paid features like this that they offer, the harder it will be for the small businesses with small budgets to compete with the big money brands….

  11. I can see business using this, not so much bloggers and smaller businesses. I’ve been paid to post on facebook before, perhaps they might pay more to cover the cost of having their update promoted?

  12. I am not going to pay for that and it sucks that so little of our fans actually see our updated posts.
    Whirlwind of Surprises

  13. I’m about to give myself a concussion with the headdesking here….

  14. I may have an unpopular opinion here but…Very interesting. Saw this a few days ago. I get why they are doing it. Its just basically a way to get business page users to advertise by marketing it to them directly on their page as opposed to having to go to the ‘create an add’ section. Actually, since facebook adds haven’t been too effective for most this might be a great alternative for those who want to advertise on fb!

  15. I am disappointed yet again with FB. First being forced to go to Timeline, which I still hate, the realization that 84% of my fans NEVER see my posts anyway, because FB is the judge and jury as to who actually sees them, and now this. I am beginning to think that it may be more beneficial to just either have a website and no FB or deal with sending out emails to people who wish to see new products, styles and learn of events rather than FB putting this out there. I knew you could pay for an ad, but just to have your posts show up? Not a chance. Wrong move FB….. sounds like several other things FB has done recently… wrong move!

    • Sunshine and Sippy Cups says

      Facebook is still a great tool. And I would NEVER advise not having one – I mean, we can’t all afford to have an ad on TV right next to a Coca Cola ad or something. But we can all use Facebook to have our own business presented right next to huge brands like Coca Cola, and right in between the type of content that people are VERY interested in, like friend’s weddings. Yes, the changes have been making it harder to get your posts seen – but not impossible. And when working on the web, you have to be ready to adapt to changes. Keep pumping out quality content and fun posts, and you’ll still reach people :)

  16. I don’t understand FB mentality either.

    If FB were smart…they would put the “paid” ads that business see in all of the users feed. So not only will FB users see posts..they will be forced to see ads. I doesn’t sound very nice. It’s true. But FB wants to make money, because they are a business too that obviously has to pay investors and employees.

    So in my opinion ..allow FB to be free to general personal use. For those business’ who want to place ads..make the ads be viewable. Because the real reason people don’t advertise on FB is because it does not work. For one the horrible timeline has taken up tremendous space and is very very busy…I personally don’t like timeline. I can’t wait to get out..its consumer confusion..too busy..too much.

    Since the new timeline has come out…I can’t ever see an ad now. Anyhow..just saying…

    • Sunshine and Sippy Cups says

      Well, that is kind of what they’ve done. But instead of a traditional ad, they’ll allow brands to pay to have their status update shown to more and more people. A little different than an ad, but pretty much the same idea…

  17. Plain and simple, I will be ditching our fan page if they are going to make me pay for it. I don’t need a blog, we have our website that works well – we pay for advertising on a classified site and I have a whopping total of 96 fans. So if FB does this, I’ll ditch the page.

    • Sunshine and Sippy Cups says

      They are never going to make you pay to have a fan page. Facebook cannot continue without users. But – I do think that they are going to add a lot of new revenue sources – aimed almost totally at businesses. You will NOT have to pay. But, when the big brands CAN pay, and their posts are given priority into people’s newsfeeds, that leaves less room for the small businesses who cannot pay.

      I’m curious to see how this change develops, and what it leads to.

  18. I’d like to know where you got your numbers and info that only 16% of fans see the regular posts. I was a fan of a page, that I liked almost 6 months ago, never commented, never clicked like on anything else, never shared media, never wrote on the wall of, never interacted with period after clicking “like” on the actual page, and yet their posts constantly showed up in newsfeed every single day. Finally today, I “unliked” the page, because they promoted your article, claiming that they were going to be “forced” to pay for their posts to be seen. Obviously, I don’t appreciate being mislead by a business, hence the reason for the “unlike”. However, my experience directly disproves your theory that only 16% of fans see regular posts, based on previous interaction with the page. If you are going to claim these things in an article, you should have your sources at the bottom (footnotes) to add credibility, otherwise you come off reading of nothing but conjecture and propaganda.

    • Sunshine and Sippy Cups says

      April – that is really odd that you saw that pages updates so often if you never interact with them? And I’m sorry that the simple act of them sharing my post would cause you to be so angry as to unlike the page after all of this time.

      You’re right – I probably should have linked to some back up on the 16% figure. I’m going to find a couple of good sources for that. But honestly, that’s a pretty average figure across most of the other blogs and businesses that I know. I have 12,000 Facebook fans, and on average about 600 people will see a post update that I make. But – the numbers vary dramatically – the less friends you have on Facebook, and the less pages you follow, the more of each of their posts you will see. But if you follow a large amount of pages – you’re only going to see a small percentage of what they post.

      I have some pages that I DO want to see more often, and have to go to their walls, comment on a few things, and like their updates, just to get FB to show me their updates. I mean, I get that FB wants to show you the things that you would be most interested in, and judges based off of what you’ve liked before. But – If I never even get a chance to see a pages updates, then of course I won’t be interacting with them, lol.

      I guess I am so used to the 16% number being common knowledge in a lot of business and brand circles, that I didn’t think to credit it. But I do realize that many people might not be aware of that, and appreciate your point, and will add some additional linkage.

      And, you and I DO agree on one thing – I am ABSOLUTELY against people doing those posts that say, “Please like this update or you’ll never ever see me again! I’ll be forced to pay for you to see this – and that will be the end of the world!! Like this post to prevent a terrible crisis!!” – Lol. That is NOT what is happening, and it’s not what my article claims will be happening.

      But Facebook HAS made quite a few changes this year that cause business pages to be seen by less and less people, and one can only assume that they had this plan in mind all along…. To reduce our reach, and then give us a chance to pay to get it back. Perhaps that wasn’t the plan, but it does seem likely. It’s not bad – it’s just like paying to be placed in the ads at the top of Google search results. But it does make it just a little bit harder for smaller brands, like blogs and small business, to compete with the big guys…

  19. Everyone needs to go do their research. First, this is being tested in New Zealand on an incredibly small scale to see how people react and what they think about the new idea. I doubt Facebook has any plans to make this go live and even if they do it’ll probably be free just like everything else. Also the way your fans see your updates will be the same in this new system as it is already, there’s nothing new in that. The fans that are semi active on your page will see all of your updates, people who never ever visit your fan page will see less and less updates. If you got a lot of likes on your page from contests or liking ladders, usually those people have no interest in what you have on your fan page, they came for the freebies or came to get a like in return. Those people will see your updates less and less, and since they don’t visit your page, participate in anything you do or want to pay for your product or service why does it matter if they don’t see your updates? Want your fans to see all your updates? Give them a reason to visit and be active on your page.

    • Sunshine and Sippy Cups says

      Matt, I agree that there are a lot of rumors out there about new Facebook changes – including this one. But, if you read the post – I DID do my research, which is what I was sharing with you. And the change did start as a trial in New Zealand, which I linked to in my post, and that one was for personal profile users. But the new change actually DID make this change go live, but only on business pages. While it hasn’t been rolled out to all business pages yet, it is an option on my own page, and on many others. I can click to add payment method and advertising budget – and then I’m able to promote my posts, and push them into the streams of users who normally would not see them.

      I agree with your tips on getting more people to see your updates, and totally agree with the idea that good content is what will drive true fan interaction. But – I feel that perhaps you should have read my whole post, and maybe realized that I did in fact link to the other research that I did, before discrediting my article.

      This new fee service is live, and will be rolled out to all business pages soon.

  20. This is a great and informative post, regardless of opinion. The reason I use FB is that, as very small business owner, it is a “free” platform for me to show my product, talk to those who are interested, and simply get my name out there.
    I see this as big business getting bigger and small business getting stepped on. My small business does not have a budget for advertising. I rely on my FB page, and other social media to help me with that.
    But in the wise words of my grandmother: “There is no free lunch unless you pay for it.”
    Facebook itself is a giant time-suck. I would rather be in my studio creating awesome products for my customers. But, I know that is not how it works. So I spend about 10 hours creating and about 25 hours promoting per week. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy talking to folks who are excited and ask questions.
    I wish there was a better way to reach people, but for the last several years, all the people have been on Facebook. So that is where the business is.
    I am sure that I will continue to use FB, and I am sure that in a good month I will pay to promote my post.
    I am also sure that as soon as I get the momentum in my business to stop using FB I will.

  21. I totally agree with you; I worked or paid to get these fans in the first place…I shouldn’t have to pay a second time to get them to see my content.
    Also, I like pages to see what they are adding, and it’s frustrating to think i’m missing something because FB decided for me I didn’t want to see it.
    :( What a mess.

  22. Right now I have over 500 fans, it’s showing that my posts are actually reach about 40-50 people. I think this is a way for facebook to make money. If I like I a page, I want to see what they are posting, I might not always comment or like it- but I always read it.
    I’m very disappointed with facebook about this!

  23. What happened to “It’s free and always will be.”

  24. Thanks for the breakdown. It’s an interesting feature but it sure won’t help me much. I don’t have $ to throw at facebook so that they can do their algo magic and control who sees what I post. I’m just a little tiny piece of the internet. I’m with you. If I want to pay for an ad, I’ll pay for an ad.

  25. I paid FB $5 for a promotion that ended this morning.
    They estimated that my $5 would get my post seen by 1,000 of my FB fans.
    In actuality they only put it on 198 of my fans’ walls and still charged me $4.89.
    So much for truth in advertising huh?

    I am only one of many that is testing this new Promote option.
    It will be interesting to hear what others think of the ROI.
    I know I won’t be shelling out very often if ever at all.
    They didn’t deliver like they said they would… reaching only 20% of my OWN fans
    they said they could reach.
    No thanks Facebook, I think you are digging yourself a grave.

  26. Absolutely filthy on Facebook. But they do need to make up for the billions they have already lost on the stock market.

  27. This is already affecting our business dramatically in a negative way being that we are freelance photographers who travel for a living. 90% of our business came from FB updates where we announce cities we plan to travel to… not most of our “fans” aren’t seeing that and our inbox is like crickets when we used to deal with 50 inquiries a day. We can’t afford $20 every time we want to announce a new city or date or show potential clients and fans of our art a new image (which also draws in more booking inquiries usually.) I would much rather pay $10-20 a month so all our followers are able to view our posts. That would be considered an investment on our part…. $20+ a post just seems so greedy. FB is literally taking food out of small business owner’s mouths right now and it seemed to happen overnight. I have over 30 friends already complaining and stating to be negatively affected by this. We are all looking for a new place to go…

    Welcome to the end of Facebook. Myspace sold out and thought they were so clever and too large to fail… look at them now.

  28. See this case study done on Promote Posts

    Not all that effective. Sponsored stories or targeted FB ads that point to a call to action tab are more effective. They key is to use methods to get your Facebook fans in your own list (contests, promos, email forms that request email address) so you can follow up with them outside of FB.


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