Marketer’s response to “Facebook Fraud” video by Veritasium

Probably many of you have seen the video by Veritasium about Facebook click fraud. If you haven’t, you definitely should, as the post below is a comment on that video. As a marketer I felt that I am bound to give some statement on that, as we are seeing lots of panic among people who do not deal with online marketing on a daily basis and they jump to very wrong conclusions after watching this video. The video itself leaves no one indifferent.  Those who have seen it might be of different opinions: agree or disagree with the author, but all the people who have watched take it pretty close to heart.

Indeed, the experiments conducted were interesting and yielded the results that are correct. But not quite correct are the conclusions!  Driven by the overall fear and paranoia of the all-seeing and omnipresent corporations like Facebook and Google people tend to gladly and blindly support anything that is set against those guys and jump to hasty conclusions.

Let’s get closer to the point.  A couple of statements Veritasium makes and my comments to them.

1.       Organic reach of Facebook pages is now extremely low.

True. Facebook is really tweaking the algorithm every now and then in favor of more paid promotions. They say that you should create more posts that would have various content: links, videos, images, text.  But in fact, no matter how hard you try, it will not return the organic reach you had before the update. And it is true that to have good reach, you need to promote your posts.

2.       Never use Page Promotion on Facebook.

 Well, I incline to support this one too. There is loads of other much better and potentially much more engaging ways of advertising on Facebook. And from my experience, when you promote your page post that is particularly catchy you will also gain lots of page likes. And eventually page posts tend to bring visitors to your site, not likes of your page.

I would also like to add one more “never” to Veritasium’s statement – Never-ever use “Boost Post” button on your page’s timeline – this is a waste of money. As it provides very limited targeting options and you will most likely just pour your money down the drain targeting too general and wide audience.

3.       Even using geographical targeting options you will still get likes from developing countries instead of your target markets.

Totally disagree. Yes, clicks from undesired markets still happen, but all the pages that we manage have the correct target countries in top by popularity, as besides targeting by country, we also choose other criteria that narrow down the reach, but increase the relevance of potential audience.

4.    Facebook fools out money from advertisers and gives no value for the money spent.

Well, surely Facebook mind their own interests and usually the ways of advertising that are the easiest and require very little time and thinking actually yield no valuable results, but just waste your marketing budget. But it does not mean that you should give up all the advertising on Facebook, it only means that you need to be smarter when doing it. Any type of advertising if done without wit can turn into a waste of time and money.

To illustrate that Facebook promotion can do good to your website I will show some outcomes of the campaigns that me and my colleagues managed:

This ad we ran seems to have not that huge results in terms of likes, but if we check Google Analytics for traffic and leads it brought, here is what we’ll see: 

Traffic from Facebook ads had an incredible conversion rate of 20%! So, at the end we have spent less than a dollar on each lead we got. Does not seem that bad now, does it?

And if we go a bit deeper and check assisted conversions in Google Analytics, what we will actually see is that Facebook/cpc occupies 2 top positions by helping site visitors convert into leads and customers.

One more example. This time it was a campaign for an e-commerce store, not a B2B site.

The ad that was aimed at just engaging users in fact has generated sales and brought direct revenue for the website owner!

So the better conclusion that you should make from the video of Veritasium – don’t get focused on likes on Facebook, be smarter, try to see the full picture, focus on your business goals and perspectives.

In particular:

  • Don’t use Promote you Page and Boost Post option Facebook offers, go for more specific targeting
  • Use Facebook knowledge graph to learn the interests of your target audience
  • Create Custom audiences for the highest levels of targeting precision
  • Use different types of promotions (events, apps, promo for post engagement, promo for website clicks), experiment with what works best for your audience

Hope that helps and feel free to let me know your experiences of Facebook ads usage in the comments.

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Marketer’s response to “Facebook Fraud” video by Veritasium

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