For many companies a “Like” on Facebook is seen as virtual nod to their business and an expression of affinity. It indicates a visitor has an interest in your business and wants to engage with you and find out more about your products. It can ultimately generate more traffic to your site, as whenever a visitor “likes” your company it alerts their friends via a news feed and then heightens awareness of your brand.
However recently a question has been raised as to the real value of a “like”. Various marketing companies have been alerted to the fact some of their “likes” have actually been created by fake profiles run by computer programs to spread spam. Some of these accounts are run by one person puppeteering thousands of profiles from a single desk. Earlier this year Facebook revealed that around 5-6% of it’s 901 million users might be fake – representing up to 54 million profiles.
Case studies have seen Marketing Executives run advertising campaigns where their clients were pleased with the amount of “likes” from an advertising campaign but were concerned when these visitors were reviewed. The profiles appeared to be made up, with date of births and employment dates only a few years apart. The majority of “likes” on the company pages seemed to come from Egypt and the Philippines from visitors who appeared to “like” everything.
To test the validity of a Facebook “like” a fake company profile was set up called “Virtual Bagel” which saw 3,000 “likes” even though the company isn’t real and only basic information was given. An advert was then created to reach people who were most likely to “like” the page and a $10 advert was created. Within 24 hours the “Virtual Bagel” site had 1,600 likes, hugely popular in Egypt and the Philippines. The advert was then tailored to only UK and US sites which saw the “likes” and click through rate drastically decline.
It seems that the fans you get from advertising may not genuinely engage with your brand, yet engagement can be increased via the social network without always buying adverts. Facebook have noted this has never been raised by the many advertisers who are enjoying positive results from using Facebook. However Facebook doesn’t appear to be worried by a number of fake profiles in other countries generating fake “likes” and devaluing the worth of the advertising system. Facebook is still getting a good deal as every click on an ad earns them money but are advertisers really getting a good deal?