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What Does a $5 Promoted Facebook Page Status Update Get You?

Have you wondered how effective the new Facebook Page promoted posts feature is? Here are our results from a $5 post.

The annual Social Media Club DC happy hour is coming up, and with the new feature rollout to promote posts on Facebook pages, I figured why not see what this can do. The event is completely free, it is located in Dupont circle (for those not familiar with DC, a prime social location), and we had more than 2,300 Facebook likes at the time, so we did not have much to lose or gain from the experiment.

The Experiment

As a comparison, but not exactly a proper control, our May event (which had a cover charge) had an organic reach of 839 people reached (see image above). The post consisted of the Eventbrite listing and the following text and tag to our venue, "Have you registered yet for our May event Politics at Policy Restaurant and Lounge?" Based on Facebook's insights 806 of the people reached were organic, and the other 33 viral (the resulting traffic from the four individuals who liked the post and one that commented).

For the experiment I followed the same model as our May event by simply adding our eventbrite listing, and added some text; however, I also added in a quote from Benjamin Franklin about drinking (mmm beer). The full context was, "A wise man once said, “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.” For that reason you should come join our free happy hour event on June 20! Located at Overlook 1909 Rooftop Lounge."

As you can see from the results above after the promoted post ran it's course, 1,601 people were reached this time. Not only did we get a slightly higher organic traffic number, but we also had an added 655 visitors based on the 17 likes it received. Lastly, the paid promotion accounted for 484 people reached. But wait, there is still more!

As you can tell from the image to the left, there is a greater breakdown of what happened after we reached the 484 people. A total of 10 people clicked the event link, four people liked the post (out of 17), and two new likes for our Facebook page.

So for $5 we doubled our posts reach, received nearly a 24 percent increase in post engagement, and two additional page likes. Not too shabby at all.

I believe these results will still be mirrored regardless of us having a cover charge, as we often list that on the link people would be navigating to, so this $5 experiment can still provide some value to those of you seeking to build awareness around an event.

All I can say is that I hope this feature is not foreshadowing that individual users will eventually have to utilize such an option just to promote a simple post on their personal timelines, but that will likely happen.

Join The Conversation

  • Oct 8 Posted 4 years ago Dr. Joseph Lennox (not verified)

     For three months we’ve been paying to promote articles on Facebook. Each time, for a period of days, the preview window of the “Promoted” button reads, “Your promotion will begin as soon as your post is reviewed. The people who like your Page are eligible to see your post right away, but a higher percentage of them will see it once your promotion starts.” Quite literally this message remains until after the promotion period expires. Recently, we’ve observed some rather interesting trends.

    Although the amount paid is directly proportional to the number of people who see the posts, that amount paid appears to be inversely proportional to the number of post clicks. For example, we promoted some articles for $5, receiving 5000+ “seen bys,” but only ~14 link clicks. With others post, we promoted for $10, receiving 2000+ “seen bys,” but ~38 link clicks. One would expect that paying twice as much to promote a post would lead to twice as many “seen bys,” however this repeatedly fails to happen. Instead, paying twice as much leads to half as many “seen bys” and twice as many clicks.

    Now, we’re seeing something completely new… and shocking.

    When we pay to promote the same type of articles as before, there are ZERO clicks appearing when the “Promoted” button is clicked. I’m not referring to real time clicks, rather the number of clicks indicated after the promotion is completed. Recently, we started asking friends, students and colleagues to click on the posts to determine if their clicks would be registered by Facebook. Guess what? More than 12 clicked however ZERO clicks were registered by Facebook. Three of these people were members of the our Facebook page.

    Are Facebook promote ads legitimate?

  • Elliot Volkman's picture
    Jun 19 Posted 5 years ago Elliot Volkman

    The 1,601 number is for unquie accounts. That means around 373 views are attributed to people who looked at it more than one time.

  • Elliot Volkman's picture
    Jun 18 Posted 5 years ago Elliot Volkman

    Hey there Kate - I'd be more than happy to write up a follow up. We hold an event each month, so at about this time next month I should be able to get a comparison up. It probably will not be compelling enough to publish here, but if you shoot me your Twitter name I can send you it next month.

  • Kate at Rose McGrory's picture
    Jun 18 Posted 5 years ago Kate at Rose McGrory

    Thanks for sharing this Jake - as others have pointed out, there are questions to be asked, and it would be really interesting to see the results for a very similar non-promoted post next time you run an event - but still good to see. In some circumstances, paying $5 for 484 extra eyeballs on a post could be well worth it IMHO.

  • Jun 15 Posted 5 years ago kgal1298

    Next time you might want to do it with control. The second post you paid for sounds way more engaging that the first as is. Also, I think the personal post paying would only happen if you have a ton of friends...over a thousand, most facebook users have 200 average, but also I don't think FB would go around someone who has blocked or hidden a friends status updates for it to show on their friends news feed that would be just bad customer service as is and where as they are a pain in the ass they aren't that stupid. 

  • Jun 15 Posted 5 years ago jordan_walton

    Is it just me or does 835 + 655 + 484 = 1,974 and not 1,601? What's up with that?

  • Jun 15 Posted 5 years ago Kevin Mesiab

    I'm not sure I follow your logic.

    This is essentially click arbitrage.  I can create 100 phony accounts, create a friend matrix among them and then auto 'like' your page.

    Are you able to take a sample set and view the actual users who initiated the 'like?'

  • Jun 15 Posted 5 years ago Jake Ludington

    You lost me at Promoted Posts being a "budget version" of Facebook Ads. :)

    You got 482 impressions for $4.99. That's the only piece of the campaign that can be directly attributed to the money spent. The organic impressions aren't a result of the money spent and it's hard to know where the viral impressions came from, but in my experience, those are a result of organic impressions.

    By any measure, that's approximately a $10CPM ad spend since Promoted Posts are an impression buy. Not all that budget for targeting that gives you no control over anything other than geography.

    Since most people would have a goal of getting some level of interaction, you could do the math based on clicks and come out at $0.49 CPC. That's in line with many Facebook campaigns I've seen for B2B, but I've seen many B2C campaigns come in much lower.

    Whether you are measuring CPM or CPC you are probably paying as much or more than you would for Facebook ad campaigns.

  • Elliot Volkman's picture
    Jun 14 Posted 5 years ago Elliot Volkman

    Promoted posts are like the budget version of Facebook ads. With the right campaign, Facebook ads can do wonders, and for a couple of bucks the promoted feature really did more than I exptected (which I went into this thinking nothing would happen).

    For your first point though, we actually made a point not to mention that free drinks or an open bar was involved. It just had a quote about drinking from a notable person, but nothing about us picking up the tab (we actually were not sure at that point if we could). Second, we are in DC, getting very close to election time, there is an over abundance of people who care about politics here. While I do agree that this is clearly not a standard experiment due to that lack of a proper control, this is a simple first hand impression of how much $5 provided us (which I hope I made clear through the post). 

    Between my research with going against TOS and attempting to purchase followers, and using black hat methods to increase your numbers, this is a really cheap and effective alternative that Facebook clearly does not mind us using.

  • Jun 14 Posted 5 years ago Jake Ludington

    While it's possible that the Promoted Post truly increased your reach, some of the methodology seems flawed. For your first post, you have a simple one sentence note about an event involving politics. The second post (the one you promoted) promises free beer. You could possibly assume that your event got 655 viral impressions because you paid money, but I'm willing to bet a significant percentage of those are a direct result of offering something free that everyone wants. A better test would be to do another free beer event and see how it fares without using the Promoted Post feature.

    Also, you only identify impressions in each case. How many of the 1st event's signups can be attributed to the Facebook post? For the 2nd event, how many of the 10 Link Clicks resulted in a signup for the event? Presumably you wanted people at the event, not just impressions on Facebook.

    While I can find flaw with my own analysis of the Promoted Posts feature, I found Facebook Ads to be far more effective at delivering real people than Promoted Posts.


  • Jun 14 Posted 5 years ago Jake Ludington

    Organic and paid reach for the campaigns should come from profiles who Like the page. Assuming those profiles were real when they liked the page, the are 100% real profiles.

  • Jun 13 Posted 5 years ago Kevin Mesiab

    How much of that reach came from legitimate Facebook profiles?

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