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Facebook’s promoted posts cheekily target irrelevant audience

Promoted Post via Mobile

Facebook's promoted posts are great for spreading initial awareness but it cheats and adds random countries in their targeting, Kipp hears

September 19, 2012 1:27 by

Quality is better than quantity – be it a sickly sweet cliché or not. But before you start lunging hypothetical scenarios at me where quantity proves to actually be better, consider Facebook’s relatively new (at least on mobile platforms) “promoted posts” feature that allows companies to pick and choose particular posts which they want prominently highlighted in the news feed of their existing fans and/or the friends of said fans.

It’s not to insinuate that Facebook’s advertising strategies aren’t at all qualitative, because to a degree, they are. And the social media giant is already receiving plenty of heat without needing Kipp to pile on, but the reality remains that despite its enormous database of active users and ability to target millions, it continues to face hindrances on their road to effectively monetizing this huge pile of potential.

Today, Facebook is releasing a new version of Pages Manager app that allows businesses to buy Promoted Posts on-the-go directly from mobile phones. As you may recall, Promoted Posts is a product which gives businesses the increased flexibility to hand-select and boost posts in the news feed. Being able to purchase Promoted Posts on mobile was a widely requested feature from small businesses, so Facebook is now making it easier for businesses of all sizes to buy ads directly from their mobile phones,” said the social giant in an e-mail statement.

If they say that it was a highly demanded feature then who are we to argue with that? After all, no matter how many negative reviews Facebook’s strategy may receive, SMEs continue to sign up for its advertising services knowing that when it comes to targeting and reach – one can’t exactly find an equally influential platform around the corner, except for Google, that is.

But advertisers’ sentiment towards Facebook’s ability to boost their revenue has, to say the least, been growing weaker by the day. Don’t just take Kipp’s word for it though, consider Kim Castleberry’s (Business2Community contributor) trial run of a promoted post where she decided to allocate a small budget to promote an affiliate link that only had a little over 1 day left of visibility. She was bemused but not entirely displeased with the results, at first.

The content was very promotional. However, it was buffered by a lot of content in the last two weeks that was non-promotional. It also was “enhanced” by an image post; earlier in the day that had gained a lot of likes… thus naturally improving the page’s overall EdgeRank (visibility to fans),” she writes.

For the purpose of this test, Kim chose the $300 payment option (knowing she won’t need the entire amount), which theoretically afforded her between 50k to 100k impressions. She stopped at $64 when the link hit 432 post likes, 23 comment posts and 108 link clicks. She didn’t ‘buy’ it though and she explains why.

“According to Pretty Link Pro, set to aggressive data collection while filtering for known spam bots, there were only 5 unique clicks generated. Optimistically, there may only be 20 unique clicks in total and pessimistically there may be as few as 4 unique clicks by humans,” she said.

Distinguishing genuine clicks from ones by users who are merely curious but lack any purchasing interest or are entirely irrelevant to your brand’s targeting is a challenge that that every brand (involved in social media advertising) faces, but when you add spam bots and ‘fake accounts’ to that formula; nightmarish.

“I’d only really recommend those (promoted posts) for new products. They’re great for spreading the message. In terms of actual value, the results aren’t insane. Did not see great CTR from it. It also cheats and adds tons of random countries in the targeting to reach people,” says Joe Akkawi, founder of Paz Marketing in Dubai.

So there you have it. Facebook’s promoted posts may be great at generating awareness, spreading interest for a new product or getting a headline around the town but in terms of harnessing potential buying interest, rather disappointing.

The common denominator of consumer feedback seems to mostly revolve around the attention garnered by unnecessary targeting of users in countries where your brand is irrelevant, subsequently leaving you with ‘posts’ and ‘likes’ from users that are likely to be miles outside your target audience.

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