Facebook Monetization Continues at Full Speed

Facebook Monetization Continues at Full SpeedFacebook has had an interesting journey through 2012. Before May the company was still private. A lot changed in May of this year when Facebook went public. The stock plummeted amidst a minor stock scandal and the realization by Wall Street that for having close to a billion users (at the time), Facebook didn’t make oodles of cash. Maybe it was panic, or the challenge of turning the company around, or maybe it was getting screamed at by investors; something kicked their butts into gear and they began monetizing Facebook and implementing plenty of changes to help them make more money. They are ending the year with some interesting changes.

Newest Changes at Facebook

When you work with your clients, you know how important a social media presence like Facebook is. It lets your clients build their brand and communicate directly with customers. Social media can help to build page rank and other important search characteristics. That’s why much of Facebook’s early monetization strategy this year was targeted at businesses. Promoted posts, sponsored stories, and improved web and mobile ads helped bring Facebook’s stock price up to where it is today.

Yesterday the press reported on a new monetization test for Facebook. According to Donna Tam at CNet Facebook is going through with a “revamp of its popular Messages service” allowing people who “want to send [messages] to people they’re not friends with”  to do so for a $1 fee. The paid messages would go to their inbox as if it were a message from a friend.

$1 Messages? Will it Work?

Remember, this is just a test, and it appears to be relatively basic going forward. What would this mean for your clients if it became the norm for Facebook? If the service gets developed a bit more, it could become another way for businesses on Facebook to reach their customers with information, offers, and other useful messages. I can see the service acting somewhat like a personalized Sponsored Story or Promoted Post. Facebook will be happy, and it shouldn’t bother users much if they get something out of the message and it doesn’t feel like spam to them.

As Josh Constine writes at TechCrunch, “Facebook could offer high-priced messages that go directly to users and would be essentially guaranteed to be read. He goes on to say that marketing through paid Facebook messages “could leapfrog email marketing and its low open rates.” There’s definitely room for Facebook to develop this little $1 message test it has embarked on to make it more attractive for agencies and businesses.

Facebook is Here to Stay

Despite all of the troubles the company had with its stock and the multitude of naysayers throughout the year, I think the company has demonstrated throughout the latter half of 2012 that it takes itself seriously. They have embarked on numerous monetizing projects and changes and their stock is recovering. They have always made money – just not enough for Wall Street.

Every time I think that Facebook might be behind the times or not a great platform to market on, I simply remember that there are one billion users on the service. One billion! Heck, Facebook was the most searched term for the fourth straight year in a row. Let’s hope Facebook can turn this paid messaging system into something businesses and users can benefit from.

Do you think $1 messages is a good idea for Facebook to explore and expand upon?

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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