Facebook today began testing Promoted Posts in the US, which let users pay to make it more likely that friends see a photo or story they've posted. The going price for Promoted Posts hasn't yet been established, but a spokesperson told The Verge that the initial cost per post should be around $7.00. Along with more visibility in friends' feeds, Promoted Posts come with a tool that lets you see how many people have seen your post.
In May, the company rolled out Promoted Posts for Pages (like Coca-Cola), as well as began tests for general users in New Zealand. Rolling out a feature to a small group of people first is a common tactic for Facebook — especially when it comes to testing controversial features like Promoted Posts. If you're a member of the group Facebook has chosen to begin testing the feature, a new "Promote" button will show up next to "Like" and "Comment" underneath soomething you've posted. The company did not specify how long a Promoted Post will stick around in your friend's News Feeds, but indicated that once somebody has seen the post, it'll be treated like a regular post and fade away.
Promoted Posts are not intended for everyday use, a spokesperson said, but are for promoting events like birthdays and weddings. They could also be used for times when you are having a fundraiser, or lost a pet, or are making some other kind of public service announcement you want your friends to see. The new feature reminds us a lot of Tumblr's Pinned Posts, as well as Twitter's Promoted Tweets initiative — both new revenue streams for each respective company. In the wake of its IPO, Facebook has frequently experimented with new ways to make money — most recently Gifts, which let users buy each other chocolates and teddy bears for special occasions, and Facebook gets a cut.