Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Is Buying Facebook Ads to Acquire 'Likes' a Waste of Time - Even Harmful?

The science vlog Veritasium is one of the must-follows on YouTube, if you're into following YouTube accounts. However, one of its recent videos that caught my eye is not, strictly speaking, science. It's an examination of the practice of buying ads on Facebook in order to acquire Facebook Likes. This is something that Nifty Niblets has done a bit of since our recent launch.

So what does Veritasium find? That Facebook ads pay off, or ... not so much? Well, the provocative title of the blog - "Facebook Fraud" - gives away the conclusion. Watch:

To be clear, Veritasium does not accuse Facebook itself of engaging in fraud, but that's about the kindest interpretation one can come away with after watching the clip. In short, Veritasium began buying Facebook ads - promo spots designed to increase the "likes" for its Facebook page. And those likes did, in fact, skyrocket after the ads ran. The problem: While Veritasium found it had tens of thousands of new "likes," engagement with its Facebook page actually dropped.

What gives? A large percentage of those new likes were from "like farms" - they were fraudulent, phony. But why? Veritasium hadn't paid a "like farm" for new likes, it had paid Facebook for legetimate promotion.

Short version: Like farms are also liking pages they were not paid to like in order to disguise their spamming. You can watch the video to discover the full answer that Veritasium uncovered.

I will add that Nifty Niblets has seen the same pattern in response to our own Facebook ads. We started with zero "likes" after creating our own Facebook page about two months ago. To jump-start the page, we bought several Facebook ads. "Likes" went up by several hundred, but post engagement did not follow, and has even dropped as the "likes" climbed. We've seen no benefit whatsoever to all those new likes.

Watching this video, and matching it up to our own experience, has convinced me that paying for any further Facebook ads is a waste of time, and probably counterproductive.

You can help by giving us a legitimate "like": Please like our Facebook page and/or follow Nifty Niblets on Twitter. Thanks in advance for your support.

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