Facebook ads — effective or not?

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There has been a buzz around the interwebs about Facebook ads not being very effective. Veritasium released a video on February 10 claiming proof of fraud within Facebook’s paid advertising mechanism. Derek Muller, owner of Veritasium’s YouTube channel, experimented with Facebook’s ads on a random page about cats.

Derek argues that since there are a lot of fake accounts on Facebook, thanks to click farms around the world, when Facebook sends out ads to your chosen audience, most of these sponsored stories end up in the News Feed of fake accounts. As the number of spamming fans grows on your page, your engagement rate slows down, forcing you to buy another ad campaign from Facebook to increase interaction with users.

Facebook has attempted to remove fake accounts and continues to monitor the social network for spammers but Derek highlights that Facebook does not delete the fake likes even if the account gets deleted.

He goes on to explain why he thinks the likes he received on his cat page were fake:

“OK, here’s the thing. The global average “likes” per person is 40. For most countries it looks like 20 and below. Virtually everyone who liked my page liked in excess of 900 things (I say virtually because I could only spot-check random profiles and then the number of likes is not easy to ascertain – you have to scroll for miles through their likes and then count using a query of the code). These are clearly not typical accounts.”

So Derek argues that with paid advertising, you can’t be sure that you’re reaching out to genuine fans. And if you’re not, it can be a big problem since it weighs on your standing within the News Feed algorithm.

Here are a few tips we have for marketers with Facebook pages:

1. Building Your Brand

Many people confuse the function of Facebook by using it to create a brand. Facebook is a great tool for helping you get the word out and develop your brand, but you must realize that your branding and marketing strategy should be the source for your Facebook strategy. To build your brand on Facebook, start with campaigns. Instead of throwing out a status update or a random photo every day, begin a one-month campaign to test out the productivity of Facebook’s marketing.

Running a campaign with one clear message would ensure that your brand remains on track online, as well as that it targets customers who really want to hear from you.

2. Organic Reach

Initially, start off without paid advertising. Don’t ask your friends to like your Facebook page if they are not interested in your brand. These uninterested likes will only create problems for you later. Keep it genuine from day one so that Facebook can deliver the right Insights to you and so that Facebook’s Insights can help you shape your future strategies.

Instead of nagging your peers to “like” your page and posts, target the right people, right when they are ready to hear and understand you.

3. Monitor Engagement Rate

Keep a watchful eye on your page statistics. Add fast-growing pages in your “Pages to Watch” tab so you can benchmark your page’s performance. Note any suspicious activity or like. If someone has liked your page, but hasn’t interacted in quite a long time, reach out to them.

For a Facebook page that has millions of fans, it gets very unpractical, so make sure that you start with genuine fans from the get-go.

Be Proactive:

Facebook is undoubtedly the largest social network there ever was and is growing day by day through new features and acquisitions. Since most of our customers are now checking their Facebook accounts more than once a day, it has become a go-to medium for digital marketers. However, if you think there are problems with Facebook’s paid advertising, you need to have checks and balances in place to ensure that you keep your customers engaged – genuinely.

What do you think? Is Facebook paid advertising worth your money?

Nabiha Zeeshan is a curious social media addict who loves to explore the human nature. She watches movies to learn and enjoys TEDx talks and Seth Godin’s blog posts. She is currently working as a social media strategist at at Globus, Dubai UAE. You can tweet to her @NabihaZeeshan.

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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