Facebook might add a digital tip jar to posts, providing a revenue-generating source for users, according to a survey obtained by the Verge.
The survey asked verified users if they would be interested in several options for profiting from posts, including branded content, sponsorship matchups, or sharing ad revenue from Facebook. It also offered two more promotional options: some sort of call to action, such as signing up for alerts or buying tickets, as well as a "donate to charity" option. The survey suggests that Facebook is taking steps to become a more explicit publisher platform and looking to shift its monetization model to benefit content generators.
Last year, Facebook launched Instant Articles, a feature that put the social media website squarely in the publishing platform space. Instant Articles allows publishers to post directly into Facebook's platform. It's a speedier option than linking to an outside article, if only by a couple of seconds, and the difference led to deals with news sources such as the Guardian, the New York Times, BBC News, BuzzFeed, the Atlantic and The Washington Post.
The introduction of Instant Articles led to questions about who would take revenue from ads on these articles. Right now, Facebook doesn't make anything off the articles unless the publisher wants Facebook to handle transactions with ad companies, in which case they take 30 percent. What Facebook gets in exchange, presumably, is more user time spent on its app. But Facebook's survey introducing the concept of monetizing posts suggests it is exploring alternatives.
The survey comes on the heels of recent reports that Facebook users are no longer sharing as much personal information as they once did. As Facebook friend lists grow and the site increasingly used as a news-sharing platform, users are less inclined to share personal status updates, pictures and other original content.
Social media apps such as Snapchat or Instagram are becoming the go-to place for personal sharing in what the company called "context collapse," a sense that one's Facebook audience is more impersonal. Bloomberg reported a 21 percent drop in intimate sharing over the past year.
The survey posted by the Verge also included questions on the kinds of analytics that Facebook users would be interested in gaining access to, such as individual post engagement or audience analytics. That, combined with tip-jar or other monetization efforts, suggests a more personal-promotion and publishing direction for Facebook.