I’ll cut straight to the chase and basically tell you all that I and many others have found Facebook advertisement to be a complete waste of time. Unfortunately I found out about this after paying the social media giants so thought I would write about my experience to help others avoid it.
So my page Grip Pro had 173 likes on Facebook, a lot of them friends and family but many others that had a genuine interest in golf. 173 isn’t bad, but this had taken a long time to accumulate and I wanted to advertise my business to get the word out to golfers before Christmas quickly. The logical answer to me seemed to be through Facebook advertisement.
I had recently been given advice on how to go about being effective with adverts on Facebook. I created four campaigns with different images but ultimately all with the same objective of getting golf fans to like my page. I set the demographics to areas in which I supply my product and adjusted the target audience to those that like similar golf pages. I was then going to monitor the four ads closely and delete the three that weren’t performing as well.
After a couple of days I saw that one ad was outperforming the other three by a fair distance so it was obvious I was going to keep that one. “Great” I thought, the advice I had been given seemed to be paying off and my page now had over 30 more likes in just a couple of days.
But I was slightly worried. I had been very specific about where and who my ads were being shown to: golf fans in North Wales, Cheshire, Liverpool, Leeds, London and Edinburgh. But i’d say over 80% of the likes I was getting, were from many people in Asian countries. At this point I did some research…
I already knew that the popularity of a Facebook post can depend a lot on the original likes it gets. What I mean by that is if a Facebook post gets a a few likes very quickly, then Facebook will think the post is worth showing to more people in the same area. Thus the ball begins to roll, more likes = more people shown to. Comments and shares work in exactly the same way.
So I had made these ads, and I now know through looking at the people that liked them, that the original likes somehow had come from either accounts from people in Asian countries, most notably India, or what looked like fake accounts from areas I had targeted. As a result, Facebook’s algorithm then decided it was worth showing to similar people in similar areas, thus moving further away from my original ad settings.
I am not 100% sure why my ad had even reached countries like this in the first place but I have one theory that will become clear shortly. Nevertheless the reason the type of people that were liking my page, were liking my page, is because they are paid to at a rate of about $1 per 1000 likes. And I know this because of the following video I watched which you definitely, definitely need to see if you are ever thinking of running a Facebook ad. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVfHeWTKjag
These fake accounts and people in developing countries literally like anything and everything. One of the accounts that had liked my page, had liked over 40,000 other pages and no one does that. As a result the people that were liking my page, weren’t the type of people I wanted liking my page as they weren’t likely to engage with any of my content, because they simply weren’t interested. I tried this theory out by tagging them all in a comment giving them a discount on my product. Sure enough, not one single engagement.
And this comes back to my theory about how my ads might have been shown to these people to begin with. Facebook have clearly got something wrong if I set my demographics to certain areas and its shown on the other side of the world…or have they got it completely right? If I hadn’t have done this research then I would have come to the end of my ad campaign with 100 more likes and thought great. Then over time I would have realised that my engagement was still really no better, so the logical thought would have been to target more people by doing guess what…running another ad campaign. The result, Mark Zuckerberg’s pockets become even deeper and I get more useless likes.
Please for more detail about this, watch the YouTube video in the link above, it goes in to far more detail and has some nice visual examples which make you realise how bad this actually can be!
Anyway, needless to say I won’t be running anymore Facebook ads, instead i’m going to do it the old fashioned way and go hand out a few flyers…I’ll let you know how it goes.