Blog Promotion / Blogging Tips / Facebook / Social networks

Will You Pay Facebook for Traffic?

facebook iconsHave you noticed a drop in blog traffic from Facebook? How about a change in your news feeds?

For many Facebook was always a vehicle to drive traffic to their blogs. It’s become less and less valuable as a traffic driver.

Facebook reduced the feed, which used to show posts from your full array of Friends, to showing only certain Friends over and over again.  What’s more? Today Facebook users are barely reaching 15-20% of their fan page fans, but not to worry as you can ‘pay to promote’ your personal updates.

“It’s no conspiracy. Facebook acknowledged it as recently as last week: messages now reach, on average, just 15 percent of an account’s fans. In a wonderful coincidence, Facebook has rolled out a solution for this problem: Pay them for better access.” — Facebook: I Want my Friends Back

What can you do to ensure that you are seeing the content you want to see? Add pages to your Facebook Interest Lists.

Create Facebook Interest Lists

31 thoughts on “Will You Pay Facebook for Traffic?

  1. Hi timethief,

    To be honest, I don’t like too much this Facebook change. My feelings tell me that when I post directly from my or via RSS graffiti, I reach less people. If I write and post the link directly myself, I reach double people than with the previous method, and if I write without posting any link at all, I reach double people more. For example, 50, 100 and 200 in the previous examples.

    I’m considering now to rely a lot less on Facebook and I’m considering to dumb it in the future because of their strategy. I might consider to use more twitter instead but it’s not the same engagement, and I use Instagram more where I do have a lot more interaction. I was dedicating more time on Facebook before, now I’ve stopped and I’ll see if they change their mind or not.

    • Hi David,
      I don’t think you’re alone. There are many you have finally recognized that Facebook is not operating as they would like it to. They are also aware that auto-posting is impersonal and does not reap the same responses that manually posting does. Your experience is very similar to the results they have also experienced. Facebook does make frequent changes so who know what they may do next?

  2. I’m using Facebook for 4 to 5 years. I have thousands of fans and friends on FB still I don’t rely on it to drive traffic on my blog. The everyday increasing advertisements has messed the things there. FB made this change firstly for the people who advertise on Facebook who reported that they were not getting the expected output. So they made sponsored posts to be visible to more people and you know what’s the drawback of it? (Now in my news feed I’ve started seeing a women’s jewelry kinda posts. Poor categorizing.)

    Secondly, giving away the gifts on FB to attract followers was becoming a more reliable source than advertisement a few weeks ago. In that case Facebook was getting nothing. Who’d invest to get 10% output?

    I’d never rely on advertisement because it doesn’t give us real followers. On one of my pages with 500 fans, I get 50-60 average likes on every post. Same are they getting on pages with 100K fans. That’s the difference because ads don’t give us real fans.

  3. Hi Mark,
    See: Facebook Algorithmic Change to Decrease Reach on Brand Page Posts

    The Edgerank study produced very interesting results.
    “The more content that is posted to the news feed, the less likely your Page’s content will reach your fans. Facebook has also been rumored to provide 80% organic content, and “20% paid content in the form of sponsored stories” for Pages, a form of premium advertising within Facebook.”

    “Overall we found that Organic Reach (-25% change), Viral Reach (-45%), and Engagement/Fan decreased (-17%), while Virality marginally increased (+7%). With both Organic and Viral Reach dropping fairly drastically, it seems to indicate that visibility was possibly reduced within the news feed. This decrease in Reach may have also caused the decrease in Engagement/Fan averages. ”

  4. I recently got a Facebook account (my third try – the first two times I hated it) and am getting into it this time round because I started with a clear goal of what I wanted out of it. I made a page for my fans: that’s public. On that I publicise my blog, my artwork on Redbubble and I’ve just started posting links to my favourite living artists. I have also got a profile: my use of that is different. To that I invite people I would like to have real contact with as me, as the ‘real me’ rather than just myself as an artist. I won’t add everyone and don’t expect everyone I invite to accept my invitations if they choose not to.

    The fan page is definitely not reaching as many people as it could and it has been obvious that it’s because of what Facebook has done. But it’s not just that – it’s because I haven’t put enough effort into publicising it, because that is what needs to be done with anything online if one wants any kind of popularity.

    I’ve made several interest lists for myself (which I prefer to keep private for now – some I shall share with friends later) and can now see all the updates there are. A lot were missing, before.

    TT – I think you’d do well with a Facebook fan page. You wouldn’t have to spend much time on it, you could turn on the autoposting so that your updates would appear when you post here. And I’ll tell you that the best thing about Facebook (and Twitter, but Facebook is more ‘human’ in my opinion) is that it helps me keep up to date with what my favourite bloggers are posting far more than a reader or my bookmarks or any other means.

    • Hi Val,
      I appreciate you sharing your Facebook experience here and I wish you well with your Facebook fan page. There’s no doubt about the numbers re: decreasing reach. Take a look at the information at the first link I posted in my response to Mark for tips on increasing your success. In order for something to be shareable, it has to connect with the fan in an emotional way. I consider auto-posted content to be impersonal. In my case receiving it rarely gives rise to any emotion other than annoyance.

      P.S. See here

  5. I think it makes sense if you have good content and know how to run a PPM campaign. The concept being that you drive traffic to your site and then hope that your content is shared.

  6. No, I don’t use Facebook and don’t plan to. It makes sense for organizations that need to reach a broad audience. For personal bloggers, they must be fairly motivated to pay specifically to drive traffic. I think Facebook use will then drop alot.

    • Hi Jean,
      You’re right – it does make sense for organizations and may I add “corporations” to use Facebook to expand their audience. I also think you are right about personal bloggers. Only those who are marketing books, workshops and/or other products and services are likely to be motivated enough to pay for traffic.

      I’m not a Facebook member but I have considered being one. I’ve also considered becoming a Google plus member and I do view that social network more favorably than I view Facebook. However, since my husband took on a new position last year that requires travel I have found myself with less time to blog in. I think the time I have is better spent on content creation and commenting than it would be spent on promoting my blogs in social networks.

      I can see both sides of this as you may have noted when I responded to Barbara and Alexis. Creating Facebook lists seems to be a way of ensuring that you are selectively sending your updates to those who want to receive them. From this distance that seems reasonable.

  7. I’m disappointed because I used to get considerable traffic to my blog from my FB Fan Page, far more than I received from any other social media site. The impact is exponential. It’s not just what I alone share on FB, but when other people share my posts they will be seen by a smaller number of their FB Fans too. I believe people who liked my page want to know when I post a blog post as well as receive my other status updates. I don’t want to abandon my “fans” there.

    But everything is impermanent so what’s the point of being angry at FB? Why put your trust in any company?

    I’m not sure that any social media site works effectively to send significant traffic to your blog. Google + is like a graveyard and I’ve seen a big drop off in traffic from Twitter in the last year. The solution in my mind is writing great content, guest posting, commenting on other blogs, linking to great posts from other blogs on my own blog to send them traffic and spending very little time on social media. If we can send traffic to each other, how much do we need social media? Maybe that’s naive, but it is a consideration. Stop supporting social media and support each other.

    I would love to know if anyone is having good results (traffic) from any social media sites and which ones work for them. That would be a good post if you are up to it!

    Thanks for the update, timethief.

    • Hi Sandra,
      Facebook users like you attracted a readership with your passion, content and posting consistency but now they are reaching only a very small percentage of their audience. It’s definitely disappointing maybe even galling when what you had free of charge is gone and you can’t have it back without paying for it.

      I don’t think this is naive:

      “If we can send traffic to each other, how much do we need social media? Maybe that’s naive, but it is a consideration. Stop supporting social media and support each other.”

      Prior to the advent of social media and auto-posting bloggers were focused on blog centered community building rooted in the reciprocity that you so clearly describe:

      “writing great content, guest posting, commenting on other blogs, linking to great posts from other blogs on my own blog to send them traffic”

      Why not revert to what works? Organic growth of a readership that takes root and leafs out, rather than blowing through like tumbleweeds is a good model.

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment.

      P.S. I would also love to hear from anyone who meets the description in your last paragraph.

      • After I left this comment, I went over to my Facebook profile and found so many of my friends commiserating over the destruction of Hurricane Sandy. It does feel good to have a place to connect on line and literally all my friends are on FB, especially since I have friends all over the world. So I can’t see ditching FB entirely at this point, but not so sure about my FB page. Does the same phenomena happen with our profiles as is happening with our pages?

        • Hi Sandra,
          It’s good to know that your friends around the world were able to contact each other. I assumed that Twitter would be used more for this than Facebook but I don’t know why I assumed that.

  8. I think I’m moving to a future where the “follow me on FB” logo is removed from my site. Sure I’ll maintain my FB page but to me this is a pretty fundamental flaw. These people “liked” my page because they wanted to stay in touch. Now they’re not seeing the content that they ASKED to see when they liked my page. And FB is suggesting that the solution to this problem is that I spend $40/month in promoting my posts.

    I would have no problem advertising my posts to non-fans (say friends of fans as an example). I have no problem advertising on FB to GET more fans. But THIS I do have a problem with. Not that FB cares but, FB? I officially have become a hater. Stupid FB.

    • Hi there,
      I wont’ be surprised when there is shift towards a monthly membership fee in social networks. Nah … you’re not a hater because hating takes too much energy, right. ;)

  9. “I just had a FB offer to “promote” my latest post which, for less than a minute, was so exciting!!! Then I was asked how I wanted to “pay” for it . . . as though blood, sweat and tears is not enough :(
    (and as though FB/MZ needs my money! Hang on, he sort of does, in that relative way of sliding shares . . . )
    No, dammit, he can kiss my post!”

    The above was my FB reaction to the issue of paying for extra traffic which received a rather good round of applause at the time, albeit from my very small pond of “friends.” Forget it! I haven’t noticed a drop in blog traffic from FB if only because I . . . . . . . . can’t remember the last time I checked my stats!

    I manually post blog links to my home page. My circle of friends is small and I don’t want to be bothering them with double links from the blog FB page which I don’t use anymore. Life is short enough!

    • Dear Patti,
      It was so good to read your comment and laugh out loud at your ‘kiss my post’.

      “I manually post blog links to my home page. ”
      Good for you. Keep it personal — avoid autoposting.

  10. Facebook is a long way from it’s roots as a gathering place for college students trying to socialize.

    It’s now just a pay-per-spam service for people with too much time on their hands. The best way to drive traffic to any blog is to have great content and participate in discussions. It’s always been that way and no amount of finagling or gaming the system will bring in regular readers.

    And I think Twitter got it right by calling your subscribers (which is what they really are) “followers” instead of “friends”. Having too many “friends” feels silly, but “followers” few people mind much.

    No one has more than 10 friends anyway. If you doubt me, make a list in your head of how many people will help you move… then narrow that down with how many people will help you move a dead body. Now that’s a friend!

    • Hi there,
      I agree with everything you have said about Facebook and Twitter. I surely hope I never require assistance when it comes to moving a dead body unless it’s part of a Halloween prank.

  11. Facebook have to tread carefully here. Though bloggers and anyone else who sees traffic from Facebook knows that it is a commercial enterprise and its customers are the advertisers, most users see themselves as the consumers of a free service. If Facebook gets seen as a place where you are “advertised to” then it will risk people moving to other platforms. Think of it as hanging out in the mall, the mall owners encourage this to a certain extent because people will purchase when there. But if they started playing advertising jingles so loudly that you could only hear someone right next to you talk and told people that if it was important they could pay to have their announcements made over the PA system then people would move on.

    Personally I certainly won’t be paying FaceBook to promote my blog. I am not a commercial blogger and even if I was I doubt that I would get a return on the cost. Since my blog is a niche interest blog Facebook has only ever been a minor source of traffic, I get much more if I post something on a forum.

    • I hear what you are saying and I think your analogy is right on. If anything this ability to select who one broadcasts to is an empowering one and I think it’s a response to user feedback.

  12. I like the fact that I am not ‘spamming’ all my Facebook friends with lots of notifications, and that I can chose which friends to see more of. If they’re wondering what I’m doing they’ll visit my home page, I’m relieved not to be sharing every blog post with all 350 odd of them!!

    • I think that many Facebook users must share the same opinion as you do. Not all Facebook users want to share everything with everyone. It’s really not much different than we are in offline life. We have concentric circles of friends and acquaintances and we share the most with those we keep close.

      • Indeed, Facebook I’m sure have noticed the fact that even schoolchildren are blocking notifications about their friends FarmVille & Mafia Wars activities. The ability to chose how many notifications we get from each person we know is something that most regular users utilise

  13. I’ve been pushing “Facebook I want My Friends Back” on my blog and various photography sites. I noticed a significant drop-off some time back but didn’t think too much of it until I read the article…

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