Get out your pocketbooks, people.
Facebook today started offering some of its U.S. members a simple way to ensure that more of their friends see their super-important, can’t-miss status updates — that is, of course, if they’re willing to shell out cash for the privilege.
Dubbed “Promoted Posts for People,” the pay-to-promote feature allows regular users to sponsor their own social network content in the same way that advertisers pay for Sponsored Stories.
Facebook bumps up and places promoted posts higher in the News Feed to grab larger audiences. The additional exposure costs about $7 per status update, and the fee brings with it a breakdown on views achieved the old-fashioned way and additional views secured through payment.
“Every day, news feed delivers your posts to your friends. Sometimes a particular friend might not notice your post, especially if a lot of their friends have been posting recently and your story isn’t near the top of their feed,” Facebook software engineer Abhishek Doshi said in a blog post. “When you promote a post — whether it’s wedding photos, a garage sale, or big news — you bump it higher in News Feed so your friends and subscribers are more likely to notice it.”
The promote-a-post feature is now available to a small group of U.S. members who have less than 5,000 friends and subscribers. The hard limit intends to restrict this to personal use, a Facebook spokesperson told VentureBeat.
The U.S. expansion is part of an on going test that Facebook kicked off in New Zealand in May. The promote button, located below each just-posted update, is available to Facebook members in more than 20 countries.
The feature, while still in testing, essentially serves as an extra ad unit that may help the social network keep revenue in line with market expectations as it continues to sort out how it will profit on mobile. The move, however, could alienate members already overwhelmed by Sponsored Stories in the News Feed.