The amount of changes that FB has launched since they went public has been staggering but the change with the largest impact to advertisers is the ability to promote statuses. Promoting statuses makes sure your message is front and center on your fans’ feeds.
Sounds good, right? Alter Imaging ran a little test and discovered the positives and negatives to promoted statues as well as a few pointers to make sure you get the most out of this new Facebook advertising channel.
Premise: Creating a promoted status on FB will reach more of your audience and increase engagement at the expense of alienating some fans.
Case study: I created a promoted status for a hobby group I created a few years back on Facebook for lightning bugs. The status announced a photo contest asking fans to post their favorite summer photograph. We budgeted $30 because FB predicted that was enough to reach all 10,000+ fans of the page.
Baseline: Before the promotion, Lightning Bugs had 10,153 likes. The most recent, non-promoted post reached over 2400 (21%) of the page’s fans, 53 likes, 43 comments, 2 shares and a viral reach of 450 from those shares. That was abnormally high (it was the kick off announcement for when lightning bugs were first spotted for the season). Typical status averages 15-20% reached, 20 likes, 7 comments, less than 1 share and a viral reach of 120 from those shares.
Hypothesis: Engagement will at least double to 30% but the number fans liking the page will decrease by 10%. The promoted status will encourage people who genuinely like the page’s topic (lightning bugs) to interact and share the post while others will view the promoted post as an intrusion and unlike the page.
Results: Engagement went way, way up. 38% of my audience was exposed to the promoted status. 31 people liked the status, 13 comments, 3 shares and a viral reach of 1,003 from those shares. Fans also unliked the page in record numbers. Lightning bugs currently has 8,939 likes. That’s a decrease of 11%!
Other observations: There was some spillover effect from the promotion. I shared one of the photos a member submitted but did not promote it. The photo reached 16%, had 53 likes, and had 3 shares with a viral reach of 229 through those shares. I wouldn’t have had this content to share if not for the promoted status that prompted it.
Conclusion: Forcing your fan base to read your status will increase your reach at the expense of alienating some of your followers. Most advertisers would trade amplification for engagement. Their rationale being that the 10% of fans that unliked their page weren’t engaged to begin with and losing those fans helps them focus on true fans of the brand.
Recommendations: Promoted statues have their place but should be used with moderation because some fans will unlike your page. They’ll view your promoted status as an intrusion. Don’t let this scare you away from using them. Here are a few guidelines:
- Make the intrusion worthwhile. If you are going to force your status on your fan’s feed, make the message worthwhile. Give them a discount code, announce a fan-only event, or, in other words, provide something of value.
- Don’t over promote. We feel a good rule of thumb is one promoted status a month. Anymore and you run the risk of appearing spammy.
- Keep up the momentum. Make sure you interact with fans that come onto your page through the promotion. If they submit something (like a photo in a photo contest), share their submission with the group. Thank people by name.