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Is Advertising on Facebook a Waste of Money?
With an estimated 900 million unique monthly users, Facebook remains the most popular social networking site in 2014. With that being said, it’s pretty obvious that most businesses can benefit from having an active presence on Facebook.
Of course it’s not enough to just be active on Facebook. Posting your heart out won’t make a damn difference if you have no Facebook fans to engage with.
So then the question becomes, “How do I get more likes/fans on Facebook?”
Should I Pay for Likes on Facebook?
Veritasium YouTube channel owner Derek Muller recently performed an experiment with Facebook advertising to find out if paying for likes on Facebook was worth it. The video is generating a lot of press as Muller uncovers that even buying Facebook likes legitimately—through Facebook—turns out to be somewhat of a scam.
Muller begins by explaining there are two ways to buy Facebook likes: the legitimate way and the illegitimate way.
Buying Facebook Likes from a Third Party
The illegitimate way involves purchasing likes from a website that uses click farms in developing countries like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. With websites like these, you can buy thousands of Facebook likes for hundreds of dollars.
Of course, Facebook tells you not to do this and says that this practice violates its statement of rights and responsibility. According to Facebook,
“Certain websites promise to provide large numbers of likes for your Page if you sign up and give them money. These websites typically use deceptive practices or are scams. People who like your Page this way will be less valuable to your Page because they won’t necessarily have a genuine interest in what your Page is about. If Facebook’s spam systems detect that your Page is connected to this type of activity, we’ll place limits on your Page to prevent further violations of our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.”
Buying Facebook Likes from Facebook
The legitimate way involves clicking the “Get Your Likes/Promote Your Page” option on your Facebook page’s dashboard. But Muller found that even this option—the legitimate options—was mostly resulting in likes from developing countries.
The Problem with Irrelevant Facebook Likes
So what’s wrong with irrelevant Facebook likes? Won’t it simply look good to your potential customers that a lot of people like you on Facebook?
The problem lies within Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm. What a lot of business owners don’t understand is that having 100 fans doesn’t mean that 100 people see their Facebook updates. On the contrary, Facebook’s news feed only displays about 0.2 percent of the stories it considers.
That’s because Facebook worries about its users getting overwhelmed with the frequency of story updates, causing them to stop using its services. Additionally, Facebook wants to only display the stories it thinks its users would find most interesting.
When Muller used paid promotion through Facebook, he went from having around 2,000 likes to 70,000 likes. However, he noticed that the level of engagement from his fans (likes, shares, comments, etc.) didn’t increase. In fact, it decreased.
That makes sense when you consider that Facebook is only sharing your updates to a portion of your followers. If all of those followers are fake Facebook accounts or users in developing countries who have no interest in your business, it’s no wonder they don’t engage.
Of course, you could pay to promote your posts so more of your followers see them. But once again, wouldn’t you rather have 30 percent of 2,000 followers who are actually interested in your business see your content as opposed to paying for 50 percent of 70,000 followers to see your post who aren’t even in your target service state, let alone country?
How Valid Is the Veritasium Video?
If you check out the comment sections on articles regarding the video, you’ll see a lot of consensus.
One commenter said, “As a one-time Facebook advertiser, I can confirm that all the above is true. I’ve known about it for a while, and knew this would eventually come out. I bought and built up 4,000 likers/followers but yet FB continually reduces the number of people they will show my posts to in order to entice me to do a “Paid Post.” – In other words, I pay them to show my post to all my followers, even tho they ARE followers, and should see my posts without me having to pay for it. I have 4000 followers but only about 800 of them actually follow/interact and from that, there is a core group of 100 that are hardcore followers.”
Of course, others argue that people simply aren’t setting up their Facebook ads correctly:
Another commenter argued, “My Facebook marketing works and so do my ads. I get my target audience and you can even run re-targeting with FB on places like Ad Roll. FB ads are like Google Ads you might want to read up on them before you actually try them out.”
One thing is clear—fake or irrelevant likes aren’t going to help you increase your Facebook engagement. So if you have them, it’s probably best you delete them at the risk of diluting your content’s reach to your true fans.
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