Facebook Ads: a smart business decision or a hoax?

According to Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology Correspondent at BBC, Facebook ads may be a waste of money. In light of recent findings, it has become apparent that many of the “likes” that Facebook ads drive for “Pages” may not actually be potential customers. Instead, most of these users are “bots” and “fake-profiles” with falsified information and credentials.

To test this out, BBC created an experiment creating a fake company profile called VirtualBagel and used Facebook ads to target users across the US, UK and a number of Middle Eastern and Asian countries. The results: 1,600 “likes” in 24 hours. One problem: nearly all the “likers” came from India, Egypt, Indonesia and the Philippines. In fact, the page was most popular in Cairo where 75% of the “likes” came from 13-17 year-olds whose profiles revealed they had “liked” upwards of 5,000 other companies.

While Facebook revealed that about 54 million users (5-6%) might be “fakes,” they claim this is not a “significant problem.” They are attempting to solve this by eliminating these “fakes.” At the same time, uniformed companies continue to pour money into Facebook ads, assuming that they are as effective as they appear.

For now, I recommend targeting customers in the US and UK where the amount of “fakes” appears to be considerably less. Then again, this brings up the question: would you rather have 10,000 “fans” knowing that the majority aren’t actual customers or 1,000 that are ‘true’ fans? As a consumer, am I more likely to follow the herd and “like” a page because it has more fans? These are the questions we will actively seek to answer.

On July 26th Facebook releases its second quarter report. Hopefully, that will help inform our decision-making.

For more information, visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18813237