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Are Facebook Ads Worth It?

No one can deny the influence and ubiquity of Facebook. Over a billion people use Facebook worldwide, and you can find a wide assortment of profiles in the social network—from bored teenagers to tech-savvy grandmas to serious businesspeople. Facebook is undeniably popular, but what about Facebook advertisements? Are Facebook ads worth it? Here at 417 Marketing, we advise against Facebook advertisements and we’d be happy to tell you why . . . 

Are Facebook Ads Worth It?

Before we answer the question Are Facebook ads worth it?, take a look at this video:

In the video, Youtube user Veritasium first explores an experiment conducted by BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones, in which Cellan-Jones created a Facebook business page for an imaginary business (Virtual Bagel). He then bought “likes.”

Facebook Ads and Click Farms

If you’re confused, I don’t blame you. Aren’t Facebook “likes” supposed to be the result of individual users giving a virtual “thumbs up” to businesses they like? Yes, however, there are companies that sell likes by using click farms in developing countries. Facebook forbids this practice, but does allow companies to buy advertisements that promote their page. These ads should lead to more likes and followers. Cellan-Jones used this legitimate, Facebook-run advertising program to promote Virtual Bagel. He paid $100 and gained 1,600 likes in a day, most of this attention coming from users in developing countries. Amazing, right? Not so fast . . .

These users were suspicious, sketchy, and uninterested, not the genuine fans businesses are hoping to attract. In fact, they were very similar to the likes he could have bought from a click farm. Cellan-Jones’s experiment exposed Facebook’s multitude of fake accounts and made people question, “Are Facebook ads worth it?”

Are Facebook Ads Worth It?

So . . . Are Facebook Ads Worth It?

In our opinion, no, they’re not worth it. Facebook’s ad revenue is largely based on fake likes. Instead of attracting serious fans who will engage with your Facebook page, your advertisements will garner most of their attention from bogus accounts based in developing countries. These fake likes aren’t just insincere; they’re harmful.

When you post something to your Facebook page, that post is sent out to a fraction of your total followers. If they engage with it (by commenting, liking it, sharing it, etc.) it’s sent to more of your followers. See the problem here? If your fans aren’t true fans, they won’t engage with your posts and your posts won’t reach the majority of your followers. In fact, some of your true, interested followers might end up missing your fabulous posts altogether. In addition, it’s important to realize that you can’t delete fake likes in bulk. So if you end up with thousands of fake likes, you won’t be able to quickly get rid of them and go back to the ways things were before.

Veritasium (the creator of the video) suspects that many of these fake likes come from click farms, who are liking the page for free. They may do this to avoid being detected by Facebook’s security force, since liking a variety of pages makes you seem more real and authentic than liking only those pages you were paid to like.

Our Advice

So when our clients come to us and ask, “Are Facebook ads worth it?”, we generally advise against it. Advertising on Facebook makes sense on paper (considering how popular the social network is), but you won’t be gaining worthwhile traffic by promoting your page with Facebook advertisements. We caution everyone to think long and hard before purchasing a Facebook ad. Not only could it leave you with hundreds or even thousands of fake followers, but you won’t be able to get rid of those fake followers easily. Plus, they could harm all of your marketing efforts on Facebook.

So treat Facebook like the real world. Instead of purchasing fake friends, hold out for the real thing. They’re worth it.


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