Broken on Purpose: Why Getting It Wrong Pays More Than Getting It Right

I have recently started managing the Facebook page for a local arts nonprofit. Tracking the number of views, likes, and shares generated by the items I post has been a lot of fun. I’ve definitely played fewer rounds of Civilization as a result of doing more Facebook page management. The recent experience means I am more attuned than I might otherwise be to the significance of Facebook’s new strategy to encourage people to pay to promote their posts. This strategy apparently works by artificially hiding the content that  people “like” an organizational page in order to see.

Many of us managing Facebook fan pages have noticed something strange over the last year: how our reach has gotten increasingly ineffective. How the messages we post seem to get fewer clicks, how each message is seen by only a fraction of our total “fans.”

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.

As their advertising head, Gokul Rajaram, explained, if you want to speak to the other 80 to 85 percent of people who signed up to hear from you, “sponsoring posts is important.”

In other words, through “Sponsored Stories,” brands, agencies and artists are now charged to reach their own fans—the whole reason for having a page—because those pages have suddenly stopped working. —Observer.

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