Is Facebook Advertising Actually Beneficial?

Whether we like it or not, Facebook has become a massive part of all of our lives, and if you’re running a business it is supremely important that you are advertising through facebook. Like most things,  you will get as much out of Facebook advertising as you put in; at least in terms of time and effort. However, I pose the question: Is paying for promoted posts and pages as beneficial as Mark Zuckerberg & co may lead you to believe?

Yes and no; let me explain.

In february 2014 a youtube channel named “Veritasium” posted a video named “Facebook Fraud” that you may well have seen.

Now, while I believe that masses of the information in this video is valid; not all of it should be taken as gospel.

Essentially, the video is of a man named Derek Muller who summarises why he believes Facebook ads are a waste of money. He was inspired to make the video when he was offered $50 free advertising from Facebook that he imagined would allow him to get more likes on his page. It did: his page grew from having under 5,000 likes, to over 100,000. Brilliant, no? No, his issue with this was after gaining this substantial following he felt that the engagement with his posts actually declined.

Derek gives us this graph. It shows that 80,000, which is around ¾ of his following, of his likes are around 1% engagement (likes, comments, shares) with his page. He claims that this rendered the page useless. He goes on to explain that the majority of his “likers” are from developing countries.

He reasoned that this was because of “click farms” that are set up in those countries. What are click farms? Well, facebook likes can be bought legitimately and illegitimately, click farms being the latter. Basically, click farms are a host of people that are paid to like facebook pages for those that have bought likes. This soon proved to be easy to track hence easy to shut down, so to avoid being caught they were advised to like.. everything. They would like twenty-something different car manufacturers as well as over thirty different cleaning products but most importantly promoted pages. Because the likes were so widely dispersed, Facebook couldn’t track down the click farms.

This is where these likes were coming from, inactive accounts that will never engage with posts and have no interest in his page. However, could this have been avoided? Unquestionably, yes.

I pose that his adverts were poorly targeted, which is understandable because getting the best out of Facebook advertisement is no walk in the park. Facebook allows you to target people in certain countries, people with certain interests, those in particular age groups and a host of other categories. With this abundance of options you can create an exceedingly precise market to aim your page at.

It’s simple, really. If I were to target countries with copious amounts of click farms then I shouldn’t be surprised when I am rewarded with useless likes. The moral of the story is that unfortunately these click farms exist, and facebook advertising is, in a way, flawed in the sense that it allows them to exist. However, they are avoidable and Facebook advertising is incredibly useful as long as you are using it right.


If you would like a hand in using Facebook advertising, or anything other digital marketing guidance, make sure you get in touch.

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