73% of the Ad Clicks for our last campaign were from fake accounts.
Facebook used to be a great tool for getting the word out about your business, your products and services and to build a community. Buying Facebook ads allowed us to micro-target our audience, and initially it was effective. We were able to generate business leads and get our message to a far wider audience. Unfortunately those days are gone.
However, now our business no longer spends any time trying to do ANYTHING on Facebook because we see virtually no return on our investment of time or money. The epidemic of Fake Clicks has destroyed all value Facebook once had for us.
Our Last Ad Buy
The last time that we purchased ads was last year. We were rolling out a new consulting service and we wanted to get the word out. We have a fairly narrow target audience, so we chose the parameters carefully specifying region, interests and age ranges. In 2014, these parameters worked very well. With everything set up, we launched the ad. What happened next is the reason we would encourage other businesses not to waste your money on Facebook Ads.
We receive clicks, but from where and who?
As with other campaigns, the clicks started to come in. Working with the Facebook ad tool, we started to dig into who was responding to the ad. This is when it became clear things were not on the up-and-up.
There is a level of trust whenever you advertise online. You trust that the company providing the ad services is actually doing what they say they are doing. They could send you fake statistics and without the ability to verify them, would you ever know? Well with clicks, some free time, and determination, yes you can know.
When we checked out the profile that were clicking on our ad, we discovered something alarming – most of the profiles were from fake accounts. In fact, 73% of the ones that we checked were fake.
What is a Fake Account?
Put simply, fake accounts are accounts that claim to be by people, but they are not. These accounts usually have pics of people that have been gathered from the internet. Sometimes they are of low quality, but sometimes not. They generally have a limited amount of (made up) personal information, a few interests, a few other pics and that’s it. Some are far more sophisticated and detailed. They actively pretend to be someone, that may be real or not, but they do this on a daily basis, so they will have a full timeline. However, the ones clicking on our ads were the less sophisticated profiles.
We also had several clicks from foreign countries. The target audience that we requested was for North America. Our top 5 foreign countries that clicked were Afghanistan, Kazakstan, Ukraine, Moldavia and Macedonia. All of the clicks from these profiles were fake, 100%.
Fake accounts ‘click around’ on things to appear less fake. A few ads clicks here, a few picture likes there. If they do that, Facebooks meager attempt to detect them is thwarted. This put them in good standing so they can do what they were created for – delivering purchased ‘Likes’. If you google ‘buy facebook likes’ you will get pages and pages of companies ready to deliver from 5 to 1000 likes on your posts. These are the accounts that deliver these.
In Conclusion – When you Advertise on Facebook, you are paying for ‘fake likes’
Facebook, by their own estimations, has billions of fake accounts. It is a cesspool of un-policed deception and fake identities. The algorithms that guide where you ads go and who sees them either can’t tell a fake account from a real one, or doesn’t care. In either case, this means you are wasting your money. Unfortunately the usefulness of Facebook has come to an end. Hopefully more businesses will quit wasting their time and resources on what has become a huge scam.