I’ve been watching with interest the Facebook Ad fake likes story reported over on the BBC online technology channel.
I’d love to know how anyone with obviously no clue how things work can run not one but three stories (so far) on reported fake likes from Facebook ads.
I’m not going to jump in and defend Facebook.
Quite frankly, the platform isn’t perfect and often drives me nuts. Facebook are big enough to defend themselves with whatever corporate shareholder bull they want to come out with.
However, I do want to point out some flaws in this “investigative journalism” fairytale – sorry news.
How not to run a Facebook ad campaign
Let me fill you in with the story so far…
Last week, over on the BBC Online Technology channel came the story, “Facebook ‘likes’ and adverts’ value doubted”.
Concern was raised by social media marketing consultant, Michael Tinmouth that ads he has run on behalf of his small business clients were attracting suspicious clicks. And I quote…
While they had been targeting Facebook users around the world, all their “likes” appeared to be coming from countries such as the Philippines and Egypt.
Bolding is mine – because at this point alarm bells should be ringing for anyone who knows anything about marketing, even if they have no clue about Facebook itself.
But the BBC’s technology consultant was baying for Facebook blood…
Rory Cellan-Jones promptly set up his fake bagel page. He followed up the story with, “Who ‘likes’ my Virtual Bagels?”
He created his Facebook ad and chose where he wanted it to be seen. I quote again…
I chose the United States, the UK, Russia, India, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. I narrowed it down slightly by targeting under 45-year-olds interested in cookery and consumer electronics, but was told that would still give me a potential audience of 112 million customers.
I should say at this point that I am aware he was chasing the fake account and ad click story, so purposely choosing these countries. Once again, please notice the bolding (mine) and start thinking “targeting”
The Facebook ad story continues
Cellan-Jones went on to say he narrowed his country targeting over a few days, with the last day only being the UK.
After spending a total of $60 (£40) VirtualBagel had built an audience in Egypt and India, but was not making an impact in the lucrative UK or US markets
Unfortunately, he doesn’t show us his actual Facebook ad, I’m sure it would have been a great example how not to write one too.
The follow up arrived in the Technology section earlier today, “Of fake customers and virtual ‘likes’” where Cellan-Jones discusses the backlash from the social media marketing industry.
Once again he misses the point…
They pointed out – fairly enough – that my ad for my imaginary business VirtualBagel was poorly targeted. That may be true, although when I targeted it more precisely at the UK, the results proved very disappointing.
Bolding is once again mine – I hope you are remembering the targeting hint a few paragraphs back…
I did love the voice of reason, which he glosses over and doesn’t credit.
“Any marketing director still chasing “‘likes’… shouldn’t be a marketing director.”
The story continued on how brands and our own Government are using Facebook ads for likes.
Quite frankly, just because the large brands and heaven help us, our own Government are targeting their ads incorrectly and aiming for “likes” does not mean that it is the way it should be done. Our Government are notorious money wasters anyway – since when do they work on results?
Facebook ad campaigns – the real issue
The real story here is not that Facebook ads attract likes from Egypt that are possibly from fake profiles. It isn’t that people set up fake profiles on Facebook either. I’m not disputing these claims and we know it can happen.
The question needs to be asked, why someone who through three stories has been called a “marketing consultant”, a “social media marketing consultant” and a “social media consultant” cannot grasp the basics of either marketing or using Facebook ads?
The lessons we need to learn from this Facebook ad fiasco are simply these:
- Your audience is not everyone and certainly not the whole world
- Even if you are targeting sectors worldwide, each demographic should have its own ads for tracking and monitoring
- Know your audience – if you’re targeting people with such varied interests as cookery and consumer electronics in the same ad, it’s time to give up
- I can’t think of a good reason to use Facebook ads for “likes” – if you can, leave a comment below
Over to you… I’d love to hear your thoughts, both on the fake likes story and using Facebook ads in your business. Did you get results?