May 31, 2012, 11:33 AM

Facebook rolls out ‘promoted posts’

The feature makes it easier for retailers to expand the reach of their posts.

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Facebook Inc. is making it easier for marketers to expand the reach of their posts.

The social network has added a Promote button to the box where marketers post their statuses. The button enables a brand to turn a post into a promoted post without having to leave the news feed. Previously a marketer would have to promote a post on his page dashboard.

The button enables a post to be viewed by more of a brand’s fans; the social network says that, on average, consumers see only 16% of the content their connections post. That’s because the “Top Stories” section of the news feed, which is what consumers see when logging on to Facebook, features a curated assortment of posts based on the social network’s algorithm that uses the Facebook member’s interactions—her posts, Likes and other actions on the social network—to present her with what Facebook deduces are the posts most relevant to her. By promoting their posts retailers can ensure that a particular message is seen by a wider swath of its fans.

Marketers can set a budget as low as $5 for the promoted post; the price varies depending on the size of the brand’s fan base. The budget is for the lifespan of the ad, not a daily spend.

Marketers can promote a post for up to three days after the original post was created. They can also “pin” the post to the top of their page—rather than have subsequent posts appear at the top of the page—for that time period to increase the post’s visibility.

The tool is the latest way Facebook is seeking to bolster its advertising formats. The social network last month rolled out new tools in its Ads Manager tool, as well as a simplified ad buying tool. And earlier this year it introduced mobile ads.

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