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Facebook ads - are they worth the cost?

Contributing Reporter

Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 00:02

Three quarters of likes on a promoted Facebook page are fraudulent, according to a recent study.

The study, performed by science video blogger Derek Muller, found that even though he paid for legitimate promotion of his business’s Facebook page to real people, the majority of the likes he received were from fake profiles or “click farms.”

Most click farms are used when people buy illegitimate likes for their page. Facebook discourages this method and has made an effort to delete these fake profiles.

So to be undetected by Facebook, the profiles like not just the page they are paid to like but anything and everything. So even if businesses pay Facebook to promote their page, they can still receive likes from fake profiles.

According to Muller, the biggest problem with fake profiles liking a business’ page is that when that business posts something for their fans to engage in, Facebook only sends it to a percentage of their fans. When those fans engage with that post (i.e. liking, sharing or commenting) Facebook will send it out to more fans. However, when the post is sent to a fake profile, there is no engagement, so the post will not reach a larger portion of its legitimate fans.

The fake likes in addition to Facebook’s newsfeed filtering system provides less engagement for a business’ page, leading the business to believe it needs to pay for more advertising.

Senior Will Love looked into Facebook advertising for SHSU e-Sports, campus’s online gaming club and said “it wasn’t that expensive.”

“The reach would be anywhere from 6,400 to 17,000,” he said. “Those are good numbers, but we felt it wouldn’t have many people in our target market, just numbers.”

The price of promoting a Facebook page depends on the targeted audience and price per click but generally ranges from $.05 to $5 per click. The price per click is the amount a business is willing to pay per user clicking on their page. The higher he amount, the more likely someone will click on that page. In addition, when the target is more specific, the price per click will increase.

“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,” Facebook said in response to Muller’s video. “Those kinds of real-world results would not be possible with fake likes.”

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