Facebook Suggested Posts: A New Killer Tool? Users Hold the Cards

I noticed something a little different in my News Feed yesterday…

Facebook Suggested Post

I had two immediate thoughts when I saw this:

  1. Wow, that’s kinda cool; and
  2. People are gonna FREAK!

People freaking on Facebook is nothing new. That’s how they roll. But this makes for the perfect freak-out combination: 1) Advertising, 2) No Connections, and 3) News Feed.

First of all, yes. I just used two numbered lists in two different ways in the span of consecutive sections. Numbers are awesome.

Second, yes. I’m serious. No connection necessary.

Up until now, a brand could enter your News Feed in three ways (numbered list alert!):

  1. Organic post, because you are a Fan;
  2. Friend interaction, because they are a Fan; or
  3. Promoted Post, because you or a friend are a Fan.

In each case, there was a connection — either first or second degree. Even if you weren’t a Fan, there was some level of familiarity because you would be told that Friend X was a Fan.

Now? As you can see from the Suggested Post above, there is no given connection whatsoever.

This is essentially a melding of a sidebar Page Post Ad and a Promoted Post. In each case, you are promoting an actual post from your Page.

But as is the case with a Page Post Ad, you can target anyone with it. And as is the case with Promoted Posts, it can go in the News Feed.

Of course, the extra kicker to this is the “Suggested Post” wording and the “Like Page” button. This could be a major addition to the Facebook marketing toolbox when it comes to Page growth.

But do not underestimate the potential backlash or the impact said backlash could make.

If people report your sidebar ads or hide them, no big deal. They just won’t see them anymore.

But with these ads, they can voice their displeasure right on your post. For all of your current Fans to see. Intermingling with Fan comments about how awesome you are, there’s the significant potential of “YOU SUCK!” comments.

Sure, this was possible with Promoted Posts before, and is apparently the source of backlash already (though this may actually be directed towards usage of Suggested Posts or a combination of the two ad types). But I wouldn’t expect users to hold back one bit when confronted with brands in their News Feeds that not even friends are connected to.

Here’s the big problem, outside of the damage control you may need to take care of on your posts: Spam complaints negatively impact EdgeRank.

In other words, Facebook takes cues about how interesting or spammy you are from its users. If you’re reported regularly, Facebook considers this in their algorithm. We can assume (how much, it’s not clear) that the more spam reports you get the fewer people you will reach.

[Start the endless cycle of increasingly ineffective promotion…]

I can already tell you that posts I promote to Fans result in more negative feedback. I can only imagine how much more negative feedback would result if I target non-Fans who aren’t even friends of Fans.

So this is not something to take lightly. Feel free to experiment, but do so very carefully.

Here is my recommendation…

1) Budget Low

I’d always advise that you set a low budget when you experiment. This is a prime example for why you want to do that. The less you spend, the less damage if something goes horribly wrong.

2) Monitor Closely

Monitor your comments, monitor the results of the ads and monitor your negative feedback. They all should be taken into account when determining success or failure.

3) Target Tightly

While you always want your ads to reach a relevant audience, it’s even more important with this type of ad. You need to avoid the complete swings and misses on targeting here. You need your content to be relevant. If not, people won’t just ignore you as they do a typical sidebar ad. They’re going to kick you around the block and back again.

4) Showcase Your Best

This is your time to shine. Purchase a Suggested Post when your content is brief, visual and awesome. Do not promote something that looks like an ad. I’d also recommend only promoting AFTER receiving significant positive response from your Fans.

High Risk, High Reward

Now, I realize my entire post has essentially been written to scare the crap out of you. But the thing is that there could be significant payoff. But the users hold the cards.

Such an ad is not for amateurs. You need to plan this out properly and professionally. If you screw it up, screw up quietly.

What do you think? Is this something you will try?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1089785493 Scott Linklater

    I just started running page post ads after being too closed off to new things and a real sidebar ad fanboy for too long.

    I’m wondering Jon, if these suggested posts are done automatically or do you have to specifically request them? If so, where abouts do you do that?

    The reason I ask if they may be inserted into the newsfeed automatically when you purchase a page post ad is:

    1. I got some really good results with these ads. At times the CTR was 5 times higher than anything I have seen before and I’ve put on over 10,000 fans in 2 weeks on a number of occasions using high CTR low cost FB ads and I’ve never seen anything like this before.

    2. I started to get exactly what you have spoken about. Negative comments in the comment section of the post. People spewing about why my post was on their page with no comprehension of what it was or why it was there.

    Certainly not the kind of feedback you would get from a sidebar ad.

    Now i never asked for these posts to be shown in the newsfeed and when building the ad the only example it shows is how it will look in the right hand sidebar.

    I think these ads were in the newsfeeds for sure. The question is, how do you control this? Be it make it happen or stop it from happening?



    p.s. I hope you liked my short numbered list ;)

    • Pete

      I know this is going to be a dumb question, but I checked the “ads page” on our fan page and do not see where I can start using these suggested posts… any help?

      • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

        Not a dumb question, Pete! It’s my understanding that it is not yet available to everyone. I probably should have mentioned that!

        • Pete

          Thanks for clearing that up! Will be looking out for when they are available to the public.

          • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

            Pete — Looks like these are auto generated when you promote a page post. So there does not appear to be an option to create such an ad.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Interesting question, Scott. My understanding was that this is a feature not yet available to all. I don’t have it, so I just assumed it hadn’t been rolled out to me. I also read it from InsideFacebook (I think) that it was a feature that advertisers could select. They’ve been wrong before, of course, but your results could indicate something different.

      Do you use Power Editor? Overall, I wouldn’t understand not being able to see every ad that is running. But regardless, Power Editor would allow you to control where exactly each ad is displayed.

    • Fennyuk

      Read FB’s t&c for advertising. They can decide where and when to place your adverts. Just because you didn’t ask for it to be a sponsored/suggested post doesn’t mean they won’t put it in our timelines. YOU as an advertiser need to go back to FB and tell them you don’t want your adverts spamming timelines. Otherwise, you get the flack.

  • michelle z

    I saw that same ad! I didn’t realize that I wasn’t connected to them. I just thought it was a cute post. I am not always in “marketing mode’ when on Facebook I wonder if others also will see a suggested post, and not think twice about it as I did. I think if the content is good and relevant (as the black Friday shopping while working post was) it could be a positive for brand pages.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      I agree, Michelle. I think the key there is “good and relevant” content, along with no overkill in the News Feed. Gotta be the right combination!

      • Fennyuk

        Adverts are adverts. I don’t want to see them on my newsfeed. So there is no good or relevant content if I haven’t chosen to view your FB page.

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  • http://www.musicademy.com/ Marie from Musicademy

    I’d like to experiment with this but I’m not seeing Suggested Posts as an advertising option.
    Am I missing something or is this not fully available yet?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Marie — Based on what I’ve seen/heard, these are being auto generated when you promote a page post.

      • http://www.madsgormlarsen.dk Mads Gorm Larsen

        Are there any updates on this, the only way to get these ads is when you promote a page post from your FB page. Or can you make it from Power Editor as Facebook Ads -> Page Post and then target News feed?

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  • http://twitter.com/JKyriak Yannis Kyriakidis

    Jon, I am very possitive to “suggested posts” as a tool. However, I am totally sure that it will be overused by marketers and companies, and for this reason I predict that we will see many articles about “how to hide automatically all the suggested posts” very soon.

    As some orther readers, I can’t see this option in my ads manager as well. So, I cannot check the performance of it yet.

    If anybody has some extra news for that, please share it with us!

    • Bill

      Yannis – Social Fixer is the current tool of choice to stop these ads!

  • annymouse

    OMG you are the back crap crazy people that BUY this suggested posts, it because of people like you that flood facebook with trash adds, there are already many tools and add ons on browsers that are deleting your posts, but this will go down.

  • bill

    ah, did I say something wrong jon, to get deleted? I thought I was supporting some of the warnings you were giving. People who use these ads will need to monitor their pages constantly.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Didn’t delete anything, Bill. What’s missing? Sorry for the inconvenience. I keep open dialog here unless someone spams or is abusive (I’m even willing to take more abuse than I allow people to give others).

      • Bill

        Hi Jon – sorry, just checked back. Maybe I failed to post. Anyway, what I am trying to do – for all our sakes – is point out to advertisers, Facebook and users that there is a real backlash starting. People are getting massively hacked off and boycotting advertisers who use this – but I suspect not all advertisers realise this is what they are paying for! I have been in dialogue with a few who are going to stop using it – as once they start receiving them they realise how intrusive it is. I don’t know how many guinea pigs are receiving these, but we have a small but growing number ((grown from 100 to 400 in a few weeks) of people signed up to our FB page ‘Say NO to suggested posts’. Personally I thought there would be 1000’s signing up, but perhaps it is still limited numbers being tested…thanks for listening!

        • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

          Heard loud and clear, Bill. I’m not a big fan of News Feed advertising to non-Fans. I’ve been watching as others do this, and I see the backlash first hand. I just don’t see the benefit of this since the risk is so high.

          I still see significant benefit in News Feed promotion to people who like your page since in that case, it’s just making sure they saw a post you created anyway. But I totally get that the News Feed is considered “sacred” and needs to be approached cautiously.

          Thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.facebook.com/marie.elizabeth.4392 Marie Elizabeth

    As a consumer. I will BOYCOTT any company that gets on my newsfeed with a suggested post. GET OFF!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/phil.leigh2 Phil Leigh

    Take your crazy suggested post spam and shove it. This is the kind of intrusive and abusive behaviour that gives legitimate advertising a bad name.

  • http://www.lustrelife.com/ Allan

    What’s the harm in suggesting a post? People are just too touchy these days!

    • Fennyuk

      Would you like me to come round and paste a poster for my business on to your living room window?

      • Debbie

        The thing is, it’s not YOUR living room. It’s Facebook’s house and they own the right to decide what goes on the front door, the back door and every window. They’re making money off the posts so you can continue to get free rent.

        • Fennyuk

          But if grafitti all over the place and we move out, then nobody will pay them for the info they’re selling about us. Do they not understand the transient nature of social networking sites?

          If the suggested posts were in any way accurately targetted, instead of stupid scattergun approach, it would be marginally less irritating. Oh, no, I lied, it’s all irritating and uses our mobile data. At least on my laptop I can hide it all.

  • http://www.lustrelife.com/ Allan

    You may learn something NEW…

  • TK

    I am so offended by suggested posts in my news feed that I make a point of NEVER doing any business with any companies that advertise this way. If I have done business with them in the past, I will stop immediately! Do away with suggested posts!

  • Fennyuk

    Sponsored posts are spam. Advertisers who fail to notice that the FB t&c say they can put adverts wherever they like whenever they like as long as they hit the required demographic are not doing their jobs properly and deserve all the flaming abuse they get. Any company that spams me will find that not only will I never deal with them, but I will go to their page and write negative comments, before reporting their adverts as spam to FB.

    I get that FB has adverts, but putting them in the timeline is like pasting a poster to a car windshield as a car is stopped at traffic lights.

  • Louise Landeta

    This is an outrage! I want you to get out of my newsfeed immediately and don’t come back!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Eddie.Aguilar.Kleimann Eddie Christian Aguilar Kleima

    I would love to learn how to do these kind of Suggested Posts to build Fans… Can someone explain to me???

    I see: What would you like to do?

    1.Build Page Fans
    2. Promote Page Posts

    What do I have to clic??

  • http://www.medibird.com/ jinu

    thanks for the all article..buy u dnt say how those ads posting and working, how can i ads used as suggesred page or post what are the different between suggested page and post for my web aite http://www.medibird.com

  • bill

    ok so the latest from our community page on FB (Say NO to suggested posts) is that upwards of 20 of our fans have been banned from posting on ANY Facebook page because they have complained about spam advertising!

  • Gabe

    I’ve got a question for you Jon. Have you heard of posts getting suggested that were not payed to be promoted? I run a music related page, I have never payed a single penny for any kind of promoting or advertising. But recenetly two of my posts (I’ve been told) have been suggested. Both cases were photos with a quote in which I tagged the page of the music artist in the the text with the photo post. Both of these apparently went out as suggested posts to all of the people who liked the page that I had tagged. Both of these brought in a huge number of new likes and no negative feedback since they were targeted accurately at a very specific group. I would like to learn more about how this works, cause I would LOVE for it to happen again!

  • Deb Duis

    Take this rubbish off my newsfeed! Its’ damn annoying!