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This week, Facebook celebrated a milestone: one billion users log onto the social network each month to catch up with family, friends, “friends,” and their favorite businesses and brands. Despite worrying trends after Facebook’s IPO, users are flocking to the site. Of note, the median age of users has decreased from 26 to 22 – which may be important for you marketers!  Also of note was Facebook’s announcement that they will allow users to “promote” certain posts among their friends’ walls. The feature, which was tested in New Zealand, will cost a “nominal” fee per highlighted post.

The “free and always will be” Facebook is rolling out Promoted Posts, at a charge of US$7 per post, or £4.25. The price points are still being worked out, though, so that isn’t a solid figure. Businesses have long had the option of paying to promote posts, but this is the first time that average users (or those with fewer than 5000 friends) can do the same.

In addition to having the option to share posts or photos, users can pay to have them Promoted. This bumps the post up in the Facebook food chain, helping the post achieve a higher place on friends’ newsfeeds.  As well, it will ensure your post is seen by a larger percentage of your friends; currently, a typical post is viewed by just 12 to 16 percent of those on your list.

The benefit is that users can bring attention to important posts and be seen in the chaos. It is similar, then, to SEO in that you can achieve greater visibility and ranking. However, it can also decrease the authenticity of Facebook. Posts with the most “likes” are those that are seen most frequently and by the most people: paying for promotion will change this dynamic.

Will Promoted Posts change the Facebook landscape, or will it be a non-issue as most people will shun paying to highlight the goings on of their lives?

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