How Facebook is Double-Dipping and Failing Engagement

By Kimberlee Morrison 


Any reasonable social media marketer on Facebook is concerned about at least two things: the number of Likes on brand pages and engagement. Besides creating engaging content, there are two ways to get more Likes, you can either pay for Likes from a click farm or pay Facebook to advertise your page. According to science video blogger Derek Muller, it doesn’t matter where the likes come from because your engagement will go down anyway.

At the core of the problem are the click farms — or Like-boosting services. While you can pay for Likes, and drive your score up quickly, there’s no follow up engagement. And a mass influx of click farm Likes can actually hide your content from genuine followers. Muller plotted his own Facebook likes on a graph, comparing engagement to overall numbers based on geographic location.

He found that about 25 to 35 percent of his Western subscribers engaged with his content at least once a month, with some countries such as Austria engaging at a rate of almost 60 percent. Countries such as Egypt, Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh engaged at a rate closer to one-percent, despite these countries representing 80,000 followers — 75 percent of his audience.

According to Muller, Egypt and Bangladesh are well known to house click farms. But he didn’t buy click farm Likes, he received a coupon from Facebook for its own advertising service. The result, he says is that Facebook delivered him Likes that were “worse than useless.”

These Likes were are so detrimental, Muller explains, because Facebook distributes your content to a small group of your followers and if it receives engagement, it is spread further and further. But if that content reaches a small group of fake likes first, it never goes further and that drives down overall engagement. Then Facebook offers to promote individual posts for a small fee.

Of course, the fake profiles need to appear genuine. So profiles used by click farmers will often be fleshed out. In addition to uploading pictures and posting statues, these profiles will Like thousands of pages. Muller found pages that Like banal things including “mouthwash” and “kitchen scrubbers.”

The result is that Facebook reaps the rewards of being paid to promote pages and then being paid to promote posts after engagement falls. “So wherever you’re targeting, advertising on Facebook is a waste of money,” Muller says. And from his research, it seems that he’s right. There’s no point in advertising for fake Likes, and showing fake followers real ads that cost you $.25 per fake click.

Update: Our sister site AllFacebook has more on how to beat the threat of fake Likes.

Image credit zeevveez