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Oct 4, 2012 | Product Diaries: Pay to promote?

One of the more acute results of spending some time in a product-oriented or product management role like the one I spent at Google this past summer is that you suddenly become aware of a lot of the consequences and thought processes that go into rolling out a new feature. What with career and hiring season, I figured I’d start a sort of brainstorming/exercise session surrounding a news article that I come across. Today’s post: Facebook’s new “pay to promote status” feature:

The social media giant is rolling out a feature in the U.S. that lets users pay to promote their posts to friends, just as advertisers do. Facebook has been testing the service in New Zealand, where it tries out a lot of new features, and has gradually introduced it in more than 20 other countries. Facebook said Wednesday that promoting a post — such as announcing a garage sale, charity drive or big news like an engagement — will bump it higher in your friends’ news feeds. (link)

Fundamentally there are few questions to pose here.

  1. Why would Facebook test a global service in New Zealand? They claim it’s because people speak English there and because it isn’t as interconnected with the rest of the world. Is that a solid reason?
  2. If you’re the product manager in charge of this feature, what assumptions have you made about individuals vs. businesses?
  3. Let’s say we can say with high confidence that there are 500 million daily active Facebook users – that is, users who log in on a daily basis. What sort of back-of-the-envelope calculations can you make about how much money this feature would potentially bring in, as opposed to, for example, Facebook Gifts, which rolled out just weeks before?
  4. If you were in charge of this feature, would you take it into the mobile space? Why or why not?
  5. Where does the $7 price point come from? Clearly they considered something cheaper early on, so somewhere, someone decided that $2 was not enough.

It certainly does say something about the ways in which Facebook is trying to increase its revenue. Whether or not it’s a sticky solution is something that might be better debated over coffee, however!

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 4th, 2012 at 3:02 am, EST under the category of Articles, Coding. Both comments and pings are currently closed.