An Interesting Experience with Facebook Ads

I have recently set up a new business called The Chat Room which focuses on bringing great speakers together to share knowledge on different topics.  As we are running our first event next week, and having very little lead up time we decided to turn to Facebook ads to build up our reach and following. My business partner and I spent a lot of time determining the content of the ads and figuring out exactly what target market they were going out to, so it wasn’t to broad. We have both used Facebook ads in the past and have always been happy with the results it had delivered so were confident that it would be a good strategy.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks we saw our number of ‘likes’ rising and the number of people ‘attending’ our event increase. It all looked good on paper, until we starting looking into the people that were liking our pages. Firstly half of them didn’t have english names and were clearly made up names, secondly we had 0 mutual friends with any of them and third they had between 0 and 10 friends themselves. It screamed fake accounts. We then had to spend the next few days ‘cleaning’ up our page to ensure we had no fake accounts on there. Our Facebook campaign had not only charged us for these fake ‘likes’ but cost us time in having to rectify it all. What a joke?

I then went and did some further research and found an interesting article by The Register (2012) who demonstrated revelations that 83 million of the site’s 955 million users are reckoned to be bogus, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)  in late August. Furthermore this article goes onto say that E-commerce store builder Limited Run (previously known as Limited Pressing) quit Facebook after concluding a majority of its ad clicks were machine generated. The firm, which specialises in supplying online shopping cartsto musicians, analysed its web logs and concluded that (in its experience, at least) the Facebook ad platform was subject to click fraud.

I’m just interested to know if anyone else has experienced a similar situation? Surely this cannot be a deliberate strategy to boost click rates for advertisers? Or could it be now Facebook are having to answer to shareholders? What are your thoughts? Either way, we now know NOT to rely on Facebook advertising in the future as it’s simply just not reliable.

About these ads

4 comments

  1. Jacqueline Doyle

    Thanks for sharing your experience. That’s terrible that your paid advertising actually cost you more time and effort!

    It’s hard to believe an influential company like Facebook would resort to those efforts deliberately… Surely there are more respectable ways to increase their revenue.

    But what’s the other explanation? What did your research suggest?

    Looking forward to hearing the outcome of the fake clicks. Great reading!

    • sammydoyle

      Thanks for the feedback Jacqueline. Yes it was very frustrating as we’d never had an issue with Facebook ads before. I will continue my investigation and get back to you however I have spoken to a couple of other people in the industry and they have expressed some similar concerns which is interesting. It’s a shame as in theory Facebook advertising should be a highly targeted and efficient form of marketing. It appears however that we need to be a bit more weary in the future when using it.

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