The way social media is constantly changing is certainly exciting to examine. In Facebook’s case, each step is towards increasing monetisation of consumers. In recent years this was carried out via casual gaming.

Services like Farmville encouraged time investment, and consumers could purchase virtual currency through Micro transactions to buy more game time. The revenue of several significant companies, particularly social gaming giant Zynga, in 2012 suggest that particular bubble has burst[1]. Moving forwards, consumers are being monetised through post promotion.

As of May 2012 the Facebook platform began testing the ‘Promote’ feature allowing account users to pay a varying amount to boost the prominence of their own posts in their friends’ feeds. The service was intended for individuals only, being limited to accounts with no more than 5,000 friends.

February 2013 is seeing an interesting new step taken in the interest of monetising consumers, the ability to promote the post of a friend. Considering the popularity of the platform as an organisational and marketing tool, users could use the new service to promote events they’re participating in, or raise awareness about charitable issues. It’s a useful feature for consumers, but what are the benefits for your company?

For businesses, new opportunities are arising. The chance to promote their announcements from personal accounts, or sponsor consumer posts which elevate their own products and services. Costs vary dramatically based on the exposure it will receive. The baseline fee for promoting visibility among a few hundred people is around £5.00. Promoting a post to thousands of people will sometimes move into the hundreds of pounds[2]. The service is being rolled out slowly, and time will have to pass before we can judge the economic return on these developments. Nonetheless, there’s little doubt that businesses will jump at the chance to interact with their social audience in new and exciting ways.

[1] Zynga, ‘CEO Update’, blog.zynga.com, 23/10/2012, http://blog.zynga.com/2012/10/23/ceo-update-2/

[2] K. Hill, ‘Facebook Page Owners Can Pay $500 for 250,000 Eyeballs with ‘Promoted Posts’, Forbes, 01/08/2012, http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/08/01/facebook-page-owners-can-pay-500-for-250000-eyeballs-with-promoted-posts/