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I came across this scathing opinion piece on Facebook advertising and I'd like to share it with the community for discussion. I'm admittedly not extremely well versed on Facebook ads, but this video seems to make a clear and concise case for questioning the effectiveness of buying likes through sponsored ads. What do you think?

Views: 160

Tags: Facebook, ads, media, social


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Comment by Alexander Lau on February 24, 2014 at 6:33am

Just playing around Louie... :-) You're right about the PC stuff, that doesn't seems to work in the auto biz. Except at the corporate support level.

Comment by Ryan Leslie on February 24, 2014 at 6:16am

Hey Tim, I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I'm not sure that your post debunks this video or that "common sense" is an appropriate measurement for comprehension. That is actually the entire assertion of the video, what should make "common sense," doesn't appear to in this case.  Common sense would be that a terrible page with terrible content could spend as much as they want on exposure and never generate any consumer action.

In your article you say: Let’s make it clear: You are not buying “likes” when you buy a Facebook Ad, you are buying exposure. Why did the exposure of terrible content generate so much action from "compulsive likers" and so little engagement? 

The reason that it caught my eye, even though this isn't an area that I spend a lot of time or have a lot of experience, is that the guy complaining has skin in the end of the game, not the middle. 

This article from Salon is interesting in that it looks historically at the recent FTC settlements surrounding other traffic generating initiatives from Facebook and might be worth the read for someone that is interested in this topic.

This is a long excerpt:

When I asked Facebook about the “Facebook Fraud” YouTube video, I was told that “Fake likes don’t help us. For the last two years, we have focused on proving that our ads drive business results and we have even updated our ads to focus more on driving business objectives. Those kinds of real-world results would not be possible with fake likes. In addition, we are continually improving the systems we have to monitor and remove fake likes from the system.”

Translation:  Fake likes are bad for business, because they hurt Facebook’s ability to prove that its advertising actually works.

It’s true that most obvious click-farm abuses reported by “Facebook Fraud” (80,000 likes from Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia and Sri Lanka) occurred two years ago. And because Muller (Ryan's note: this is the guy behind the video) had restricted the promotion for his purposely terrible page to four Western countries — so as to exclude obvious sites for click farms — there is no longer the kind of smoking gun that 10,000 likes from Dhaka or Jakarta might provide.

So who knows?  Maybe there really are lots of people out there in the world who happen to enjoy clicking “like” on thousands of random pages. Muller, however, remains skeptical. The people who liked his fake page showed zero signs of engagement with it. In his view, a like that “never” results in engagement “is a bogus like and should be deleted.”

As for the assertion that Facebook has significantly upgraded its system?

“This is perhaps most worrying of all,” Muller told me. “What they are saying is in essence: In the old days, sure, fake likes could happen, but not now. What troubles me most about this admission is they have done nothing to correct the problem. If they’re aware those 80,000 likes are dead weight they should have eliminated them. And they have since benefited from those 80,000 likes … I paid to boost posts out to these useless likes. That is a problem!”

“Here is the big problem with fake likes on Facebook,” he continued. “Unlike a fraudulent click on Google, these fakes stay with you forever (even two years later when Facebook’s fraud detection has moved on). They weigh on your engagement and EdgeRank because the accounts never intended to engage with you. And then you end up paying again to boost the post out to them — and they were never real in the first place!

Comment by Alexander Lau on February 24, 2014 at 5:50am

Nice Tim!

Comment by Timothy Martell on February 23, 2014 at 10:20pm

This is completely wrong. Apply a little common sense and anyone can see that the premise of this video was intended to yield the result. We debunk this here:

Comment by Alexander Lau on February 11, 2014 at 1:54pm

Hey Louie, let me be brutally honest with you. "Developing countries" is a politically correct piece of crap name for 3rd World Countries. I lived in one for 4 years. :-)

Comment by Alexander Lau on February 11, 2014 at 1:53pm

Googlebot is able to sniff through fake 'Likes' like a hot knife through butter. 'Reach' is a much more important metric. That's all I'm worried about, social signals in SEO.

Although, there are plenty of groups out there in the US, pretty much link / like farms as well.

Hilariously, I could pay to bomb a competitor's page and their engagement will drop in a bad way. Actually... he he he

Geee really Zuckerberg? It's not your plan or agenda to make us buy. Facebook will be dead in 5 years. He is right, advertising on Facebook is a HUGE waste of money!!

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