With the recent launch of Facebook Places, many marketers have been looking forward to generating buzz about their brands through the geo-social tool. But what about brands that don't have store locations?

With the recent launch of Facebook Places, many marketers have been looking forward to generating buzz about their brands through the geo-social tool. But what about brands that don't have store locations? A new report from Inside Facebook suggests that the launch of Facebook Places, which Brafton reported on last week, coincides with drops in impressions-per-post and "likes" for many page administrators.

Inside Facebook believes there has been a shift in the Facebook algorithm to give Places stories more weight. This means Facebook Places updates appear more frequently and prominently in users' "Top News" and "Most Recent" feeds. While this could be good news for businesses that are generating check-ins through the Places tool, it means other brands are losing impressions-per-post, which translates into less Facebook page traffic and likes.

The source says its page metrics show that major brands, including BMW and Nutella, have seen significant drops in new likes per day since Facebook Pages was unveiled. Its Nutella PageData shows that the brand experienced a spike in new fans leading in to the Places launch, acquiring more than 12,000 fans on August 17. The next day, new fans dropped significantly to less than 3,000, and the brand has seen a low streak for the past week.

Before marketers without storefronts start worrying about losing Facebook impressions, it should be noted that Inside Facebook reported a similar overweighing of Facebook Question posts in the days following the network's launch of its community answers feature.

Whether marketers stand to gain from Facebook Places check ins or will battle the cluttered updates on users' news feeds in light of Places, the network is still an important platform for reaching more than 500 million consumers. As Brafton previously reported, ad spend on Facebook is predicted to increase by up to tenfold among many advertisers.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.