This brings up the interesting question of the general (non)value of a lot of mobile advertising. High impressions, super-low click rates, with many "falsies" because of tricks by the developer, eg where the advert is shown at random, quickly covering up parts of the user interface or extremely close to legitimate user interface elements.
Case in point, the app "Reddit in Pictures" bounces its adverts up and down at the bottom of the screen. If the advert were static, you wouldn't make the mistake of clicking on them, however, due to the bounce it has happened to me at least 20 times in the past month.
In short: for me the only valuable advert is a google advert... visible at the time when people have actually expressed interest in a topic/product, because they search for it. Note: google display network advertising is equally useless/fraudulent.
FB advertising has major issues and not just fraud.
#1 - FB has a feedback loop issue
The main reason why (for us) Google works so much better, is that it spans the full sales funnel, from impression to click to registration and finally conversion (room bought).
Google optimizes ad serving for themselves AND for me, and I can see the results. As long as they generate more revenue for my client at an acceptable cost per conversion (sales, not likes) we will spend more on google. Google isn't just taking, it's giving (a lot). As long as the last segment, ie actual conversions affecting ad serving, is missing, google will remain our favorite marketing channel.
#2 - Facebook has a major intent issue.
Eyeballs are nice, but only if those eyeballs have the intent to convert/purchase, which is rarely the case for high price, non-luxury and non-lifestyle items on the FB site itself, unlike a lead generated by google's search engine.
I have read about the "tricks" to minimize useless clicks and learned about some more below, but it really shouldn't be that hard.
PS I do realize that my situation is quite specific - see comment above or below, hospitality industry, busy market, price-sensitive audience, not a big brand name, etc. It may work for you, it just doesn't work for us, and not just because of the fake likes.
Anecdote: once had a Google advert that resulted in many more clicks, but another advert was served more. When I inquired about this, google staff explained that the other advert had fewer clicks, but resulted in more (or actual) revenue. I did not have to manually track the results of the campaign and adjust, it was adjusted for me.
In my experience, Facebook actually has the best performing ads with respect to measurable financial objectives.
Here's the question I'd want to ask: if the Facebook ad clicks are from click-farms but you don't pay for them, how did they get there?
One guess would be that click-farm people like stuff at random to "seem legitimate". Maybe Facebook itself incentivizes fake account to like stuff by not deleting fake accounts that behave "conveniently".
But that's just a guess, I've look for someone to do more research.
Perhaps then, clumsy comments like the one made by joe_the_user:
One guess would be that click-farm people like stuff at
random to "seem legitimate".
I surely hope so.
Some of the comments that surface to the top of the heap, are head-achingly dreadful.
History is rife with far wilder inventions than the comment-curating 'contraption' that I describe, that have been conceived and crafted, drawing from a far smaller source of inspiration than the clumsy comment made by joe_the_user.
In all probability, the sort of thing, I describe, would never materialize in the foreseeable future. It could just be a figment of my imagination.
The leaps and bounds that are required for such comment-comprehension - especially the two step thing needed for the software to assimilate the contents of the video and then contextually-observe that joe_the_user has not viewed the video, just by reading his comment - are probably far too great for the current state of Deep Learning and AI (someone well versed in these areas could chime in).
Or perhaps such advents in content curation - unbeknownst to us - are already afoot.
Surely then your quick dismissing of my "value-less" comment could be the butt of jokes for posterity.
Time will decide.
As to your question, that's exactly what the video covers. With a nice animation and everything. And really, I expect Facebook to post some useful numbers rather than forcing us to do the research.
To me, it seems clear that if something's going on, it's not Facebook "conveniently" letting the fakes go. It's more the problem being hard to cope with.
Or somebody present me results that demonstrate how easy it is to identify fakes with low false positives.
In the case of this ad — I think we actually delivered on what was asked for. The targeting specs were fairly broad (cat lovers in four countries). Getting 39 people who like cats to like a page with a cute cat picture in 20 minutes sounds pretty reasonable to me. If you want a specific kind of cat lover, you’d probably want to target even more specifically (like people in a zip code near you).
We're continually working on making it easier for advertisers to target the right people. Earlier this year I worked on a piece of UI called "Audience Definition" (in our ad create flow), which helps give advertisers guidance on how to target ads more specifically. If you set your advertising too broadly (or too narrowly) -- you get a warning.
Fake (and low quality) likes are bad for everyone. We don’t want advertisers to get fans that aren’t good for their business -- we want to help them drive real results, and we can’t do that with bad likes. We invest a lot in improving the systems to monitor and remove fake likes from the system, and also in helping advertisers set smart targeting to help them reach the people they care most about.
And to be honest, a lot of people like cats, and the picture on the page is pretty adorable. Lots of real people like lots of things. And LOTS of people like cats. :P
> Fake (and low quality) likes are bad for everyone.
But they're endemic to the advertising product you sell. "It sucks for us, too!" is no comfort.
>> Fake (and low quality) likes are bad for everyone.
> But they're endemic to the advertising product you sell. "It sucks for us, too!" is no comfort.
Not only is it endemic, it is well-known at Facebook. Thousands upon thousands of Facebook employees at all levels have known this deception has been taking place. We are not talking about a few days, weeks or months....
This multi-billion dollar company is knowingly generating revenue via this nonsense. It's not a mistake. This has nothing to do with cat lovers reflexively clicking like.
Defend the "reasonableness" of your ad platform all you want, but realize that your brand is completely tarnished and it will take serious changes before you ever see much of my money.
That said, I am not hating. I wish Facebook ads didn't suck, as I'd gladly pay you as much as I pay Google if I got similar ROI.
That said, this problem is not present in Google because of the way they present the ads and the way users are navigating when they find them. I believe for this reason Google will always have a great advantage over Facebook and although we won't stop spending a small amount of money to keep a higher amount of likes in Facebook it won't be near as much as we do for Google.
For the same reason, that Facebook's reaction to ads is based in the way users navigate the website, I don't think Facebook will never get a ROI similar to Google.
Then what are you here to do? Just write unsubstantiated snarky comments about how much of an idiot everyone but you is?
You'll be qualified to respond when you've actually watched the video so you won't have to write uninformed drivel like the following:
> In the case of this ad — I think we actually delivered on what was asked for. The targeting specs were fairly broad (cat lovers in four countries). Getting 39 people who like cats to like a page with a cute cat picture in 20 minutes sounds pretty reasonable to me.
Because that is exactly what did not happen in the video.
Nobody was talking about "low quality" likes, the topic under discussion is fake ones, from fake accounts by fake people.
> We don’t want advertisers to get fans that aren’t good for their business -- we want to help them drive real results, and we can’t do that with bad likes. We invest a lot in improving the systems to monitor and remove fake likes from the system, and also in helping advertisers set smart targeting to help them reach the people they care most about.
Blablabla, said every advertiser, ever.
> And to be honest, a lot of people like cats, and the picture on the page is pretty adorable. Lots of real people like lots of things. And LOTS of people like cats.
Once again, did you not watch the video, or are you in fact arguing that those 39 people are actually real people and not fake accounts?
It's obviously not a company wide statement on the issue. It's one engineer saying "Hey, I work there. This is what I'm doing and this is what we're doing. And this is what happened when X did Y which is what he wanted."
I can't imagine that solving the entirety of this issue could ever be simple.
First, I want to say THANK YOU for the many improvements to the ad system that have recently taken place.
Second, I want to say that you have a LOT of work left to do. Facebook marketing is hard. Too hard.
I have many suggestions, but here's one of them:
Allow the same targeting options when posting directly to the page, as when posting an ad.
For example, I can create a custom audience, and send an ad only to them.
I want to be able to target (or exclude) that custom audience when I post to my Facebook page. If I could do that it would make a huge difference.
Thank you for your time / consideration.
"don't allow likes from someone with more than 5+ likes in their account""
The # of likes by the user is a good proxy for how diluted the quality of the "like" is.
Probability_to_show_ad = constant * num_other_likes
That said, as long as Facebook has a counter-incentive to cleaning it up, we shouldn't expect this change. We need advertisers to revolt in large #'s before the financial incentives make this a priority for FB.
So I could buy 10 "Fractional Likes" and get 20 users who each only have 2 total Likes (including this one) = 20 * 1/2 = 10
OR I get 10,000 users who each have 1,000 Likes each = 10K * 1/1000 = 10
...which seems a reasonable ballpark for resolving it in an automatable, economic way.
"Don't allow Likes over X" kind of sucks since what happens to legitimate Likers? I'm not a clickfarmer, but I've Liked way more than 5 things.
My News Feed has turned to crap (probably because of it), but that's a whole 'nother story.
Either solution would require Facebook to admit that there are tons of fake likes though. The assumption being that admitting this will have a negative impact on revenue.
Also, either solution would probably result in a lot of new click far accounts being created with the new goal of keeping likes to a minimum. It'll be a constant battle I'm sure.
We spend way more than $46K/year.
I agree with Jacob here. If you are willing to work at it, facebook can give you a very healthy ROI. It is not nearly as easy as with Google though.
- Buying likes is basically a waste of time unless your goal is to stroke someones ego or are trying to generate some sort of "social proof"
- Re-targetting via Custom Audiences is awesome (you need a robust CRM program to take advantage of this, or at least an email list).
- Lookalike audiences are promising, but you have to work at them.
For companies of that size, data is everything, if an ad is underperforming it stops running, if an ad is bringing you low quality clicks (for example, like farms) it will stop running too.
It's really silly to look at someone saying they dumped $20k in FB ads and it didn't pan out without providing any kind of data at all, how many creatives/targeting permutations did they try? did they monitor their ads at all? did they try to negatively target those bad likes they were getting?
I've even seen "custom" lookalike audience implementations, to squeeze that extra cost/performance ratio out of it.
Last year, we had great success with buying likes -- but for it to work you need to execute very well in terms of regularly publishing highly engaging content to your page. I'd love to compare notes some time. Send me an email if you are interested. (Google my name.)
Has no one ever suggested being able to add targeting filters to target users with a total number of likes between x and y? It may seem counter intuitive, however it would allow people to stop targeting users who don't like anything and avoid those who like everything (and therefore can't possibly engage with all their likes).
To me this seems like the obvious solution (with a bit of tweaking to the upper bound), however as the video states this could be negative for Facebook to implement due to the (denied) benefit of fake likes to them. With this implemented however, it could possibly force the click farms to be maintaining simultaneous accounts to keep their total likes down?
Looking at my own Facebook account, I have 46 likes, so surely a company wishing to advertise, would want to advertise with; if they targeted adverts to users with above 2 likes and below ~500 whom are also within they're usual specific filters and regions they are more likely to reach their desired audience of active users. Yes it's quite possible they would miss a tiny percentage of outliers with thousands of likes or new accounts with 0 likes, but that's simply a cost of doing business efficiently.
This isn't a problem you face alone ... and I think it's telling that Google has had to put more ads on each page to grow revenue. In their case, the ads are targeted to the user AND often are related to a product search. I think FB has a bigger problem because people didn't go there to search for a product but rather to engage their network.
So, despite being certain that our target audience is on FB, we have concluded that we're better off advertising in a place where the intent to purchase a hotel room/travel is clearly present (ie google search).
It's a specific situation, certainly not true for all advertisers. I'm sure that FB advertising for other products might work quite well. It's just not for us.
That person has already replied with more info on his case, but you should also note that for some people $20k is big enough to never risk that mistake again, while for others it really isn't. I spend around that much each month on Facebook and that's a "well we'll put a little into FB" amount in the scheme of things. Sure, I've had other clients for whom a badly spent $1k was a problem, too. My point is to not jump to assumptions that an adspend is big because it sounds big to you.
(He'll, just this morning I sent a mail to a video website saying that a $15k spend delivered shit results and that we should try again.)
It's easy argue against the value of something so easily faked as a like, but we shouldn't forget that Facebook is also a large platform for promotional advertising, where "like-gated" promotions are designed primarily to collect users' email addresses.
I mean, if you look at the page he was trying to drive traffic to, it seems as though 20 minutes would actually be problematic. He was attempting to stretch out the time it took, and failed. If I put up an ad with the basic premise of:"like this page, and it'll download malware" and got likes, the likes would be EXTREMELY suspect, which is what it appeared he was trying to do. I think that non-genuine eyeballs are a large problem for any CPM advertising company, but as this seems tied to how content is distributed after the fact, the problem may be exacerbated.
I guess I just don't understand why the responsibility is on the advertiser to "target the right people." And really, that's not the problem here. If I had a Page that I wanted to target in Bangladesh, how exactly could I go about doing that without having the majority of my likes be fake?
Well obviously this means you can't use targeted advertising on people in Bangladesh.
Hm. We should roll out click farms everywhere.
If that is in fact the case and purchasing facebook ads indirectly increases the amount of fake/automated likes included within that sample (thereby negatively impacting the overall engagement metrics on your posts) then the purchase of facebook advertising has the side effect of diminishing your ability to organically drive traffic and engagement.
To put it another way. This would be like if buying Google Adwords advertising not only got you fake/automated traffic, but also simultaneously decreased your organic, unpaid search rankings.
One-Click Micropayment Capability for Volume Solicitations and Multiple Providers
Represented by Perkins Coie
I weep for humanity.
There is nothing inherent to ads that makes it universally something to avoid. Different people have different priorities for their ideal engineering job (num of users reached, power within the team, liking the product, liking the actual technical work, etc). I know people who loved working in ads: some of them didn't care a ton about the product they worked on, but loved the challenge of their technical work, and some who truly found the world of ads itself to be interesting. This set of priorities isn't necessarily something you'll realize immediately out of school; I was happy for a while with the technical challenge of the work I was doing in ads, but after a while I realized that my personal preference prioritized the actual product I was shipping higher than I thought, so I switched to something I was more excited about.
Don't listen to anyone stupid enough to tell you that there's any universal rule about jobs in ads being crappy (much less a "dead end"; I couldn't be happier where I am at this point and spending a couple of years working in the area of ads didn't hurt me at all). Keep in mind what your priorities are for your job (they're different for everyone) and do research on what a given role would entail (something that even good CS programs don't really prepare you for: I had to discover my aversion to front-end work the hard way).
Also, be aware that this can change in a few years. Some people consider working for Monsanto a "dead end", because not many other companies would want to hire a person like that afterwards.
Is this even true? I know it's the kind of thing that's hard to explicitly source, but I have a hard time believing that many companies (let alone most) would blacklist someone for working for Monsanto. I feel like the actual reason to avoid Monsanto would be if it's incompatible with your personal morality, not for some imagined fear of widespread reprisal.
For a facile example, I have a friend who got into environmental law and was very aware that she could either make peanuts defending the environment (at a non-profit) or make bank helping companies destroy it (she has chosen the former so far). If she suddenly had to deal with huge medical costs for a sick kid or something? One would have to be a complete asshole to judge her sight unseen for having a certain company on her resume.
By all means, if it's a good company I would highly suggest taking the job. A job at Facebook or Google for a year working as an ad engineer is still going to be a much better experience than most 'enterprise java' positions at a non-tech company.
I get contacted by recruiters every week, so I find any talk about a shortage of jobs in this field to be laughable.
Startups generally have a bias towards doing things that they can measure accurately. This leads to heavy reliance on highly attributable channels like AdWords since you can target people who have expressed high purchase intent. What most companies don't do is look closely at multi-channel attribution models and look at how multiple exposures across different media types change purchase behavior. Perhaps someone who is exposed to two display ad driven messages prior to seeing your Google ad is 2x more likely to click and 4x more likely to purchase vs. just being exposed to your Google ad alone. I'm not saying that's what you will see, but you should be curious to understand those effects.
We tend to generalize based on our own experiences. I also don't think Facebook ads work well in many cases but I also can see brands that are doing a great job or run innovative campaigns that get their message across effectively so I know Facebook works if you get it right. Similarly, many folks give banner ads, mobile CPA ad networks, or TV a shot and see poor outcomes without knowing whether it was poor creative, bad media planning, loose targeting parameters that contributed to the poor outcomes.
As far as biases go, preferring to pay for things that have a demonstrable effect is a pretty good one, especially for startups that generally don't have the resources to waste on a large number of failed initiatives. Sure if you have some incite that gives you a better than normal chance of getting a very high ROI on a creative initiative, then go for it, that's what startups are for. But if you don't have any special incite, stick with what has been shown to be effective, and avoid things like Facebook advertising which appear to give low or negative ROI in the typical case.
Digital Ocean is a good example, I've read good and bad stories, mostly good and they had an extensive Youtube and Display Campaigns. When it was finally time for me to close a deal with a VPS to replace my old Dreamhost shared server I didn't have to search. I went straight to Digital Ocean.
This is harder to measure, or even impossible when you add the fact that I was probably impacted at least 50 times by passive or active advertisement for them on at least 4 different devices.
Also keep in mind that I was aware of this the whole time, and I smiled every tie I saw a DO ad, because I knew I was probably gonna sign at some point. But most of the time these type of advertisements happen without you even noticing, even if you are in this business.
Companies spend millions in SuperBowl ads, and nobody can click on that, it's impossible to tell how many coca-cola bottles will be sold by that ad and post discussions that it sparked. But they will do it again next year.
Display advertisement is valuable but it's harder to put a price tag. Even if you don't click on the ad in a mobile app it's still valuable. I'd argue that if you make it annoying or if you try to steal a click it's less valuable.
There is a reason this type of publicity is sold by impressions, because that's where the value is, clicks can or cannot happen, that's just a plus you won't get on TV.
not that i dream about clicking it, i'm just surprised that they still hasn't implemented it yet as current TVs are really computers sold/packaged as TVs.
My own Facebook ad campaign got us zero conversions, as opposed to Google campaigns. BTW the Google campaign on mobiles was as awful as the Facebook campaign.
My fear is that many of them don't understand a thing or two about statistics, so all that precise measurements are means for them to lie to themselves.
It is very good at giving me pictures of the more expensive things that I have recently bought, should I suddenly need two.
The retargeting ads you speak of (Criteo runs a lot of them) is generated automatically via these 3rd party ad platforms cookie combined with an API into the advertiser's store feed (product photo, description, price, etc.) They get a stream of SKUs that you've looked at and try to get you to pull the trigger.
There's nothing to prevent the store from also associating items you've already bought so you don't get shown something that's irrelevant. My best guess is that it's just easier to not do that.
I just wanted to give as much space for images as possible, so when the ad loads it puts itself between the text showing the number of images and the ActionBar, if the ad doesn't load it doesn't take up any space. Is the bounce you're talking about when the ad initially loads (like on orientation change)?
I haven't had a chance to work on that app in a while, but when I have time to re-visit it I will test out making the ad area static so that it never seems to bounce.
Not sure if they are cracking down on it or not but thought you'd like a heads up. Popping up onto an area not meant to be touched in the first place is probably fine though.
Right now the ad shows above the bottom split action bar, and you can pinch to zoom on the images.
If an ad isn't showing the image will fill up the rest of the space to the action bar.
I didn't expect many people to keep ads enabled, I released it as RateWare, asking that users rate the app if they choose to disable ads.
My point was that many mobile ad clicks are mistakes and thus useless. Didn't mean to cause you any trouble (and I wasn't aware of the turn off ads option, so double-thanks)
It's apples and oranges. Imgur/9GAG aren't advertising on Google, just as travel agencies won't see much ROI on Facebook.
See how that pans out in the long run (5+ years).
because in it he lays bare several fundamental structural issues about facebook which 99% people don't realize. Well worth the watch.
Unless fb changes drastically, it will die a surprisingly fast death.
I didn't realize the answer till later, after I went to work at Yahoo. It was neither of my guesses. The reason Yahoo didn't care about a technique that extracted the full value of traffic was that advertisers were already overpaying for it. If they merely extracted the actual value, they'd have made less.
Hard as it is to believe now, the big money then was in banner ads. Advertisers were willing to pay ridiculous amounts for banner ads. So Yahoo's sales force had evolved to exploit this source of revenue. Led by a large and terrifyingly formidable man called Anil Singh, Yahoo's sales guys would fly out to Procter & Gamble and come back with million dollar orders for banner ad impressions.
The prices seemed cheap compared to print, which was what advertisers, for lack of any other reference, compared them to. But they were expensive compared to what they were worth. So these big, dumb companies were a dangerous source of revenue to depend on. But there was another source even more dangerous: other Internet startups.
That way, they don't have to conflate the incentives of the different parties involved as much as they are doing now.
I'm asking to see posts from something I've explicitly stated an interest in; I'm not asking them to pick and choose a subset that I get to see beyond that.
The issue is that most of don't want to click like, like, like on everything we "like", just to see that content.
I don't need to like HN; it's implicit in every visit I make to the site.
I'm there to see what's happening IRL with my friends, not to see pictures of stuff that I saw a few days ago while on the toilet.
For context, I'm a 19 year old student going into my third year at uni, so that puts me right in Facebook's original target demographic. It's disappointing that a service so useful for staying in touch with friends has degraded into little more than an IM service because the rest of it's been spammed to hell.
At the risk of sounding like Chicken Little ("the sky is falling!") I wrote a great deal voicing my point of view, including my very first post on Hacker News (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24742), in which I called Mark a fraud. For expressing my grave and sincere concern, I was met with what could only be described as considerable hostility.
Aware that very few wanted to hear what I had to say, I did everything I could to move onto more interesting and useful work. I don't spend my time worrying about Facebook, so I haven't looked into their ad technology in any depth. Nonetheless, everything in the above video strikes me as spot on, which would also mean that I was exactly right. Facebook's entire valuation appears to be based on little more than false advertising and click farming. As the CEO of a publicly-traded corporation with a supposed market capitalization of $162.61 billion, Mark would still appear to be, as I described here (http://www.aarongreenspan.com/writing/essay.html?id=80), the greatest con of all time.
I hope that based on these findings Facebook finds itself the target of civil actions filed by multiple Attorneys-General and the DOJ, but I doubt very much that our justice system would render a fair outcome even then.
So there is ample precedence for this being a correct assesment and if you have read anything surrounding the Madoff controversy and the banking collapse, you will know that the NY financial scene is riddled with incompetence and corruption. It is entirely possibility that Facebook is the biggest stock market fraud in history.
But I can't go really long without facebook since all is planned from there, the parties, the social events, the foreign friends visiting my city, foreign friends keeping in touch with me...
I guess it's easier not to have facebook when you didn't travel a lot and don't have a big social life.
I have two questions to respond to this - how did people do all of these things before the facebook platform? What is stopping you from doing these same things?
I find it fascinating that people treat websites like facebook like an actual addiction, and are scared of the withdraw problems in their social life. Is there such a thing as social addiction? Is that a thing?
Some of "these things" did not exist before. Like yesterday a former coworker of mine posted a bunch of pictures of her kids growing up, it was interesting and reminded me how the time flies.
Would I ask around acquaintances for her phone number, then get on the phone and ask her to send me a printed photo album of her children? Yeah, that seems non-creepy at all.
Friend of my spouse checked in at a restaurant that's opened just recently, I saw my wife liking it, and asked about opinion of the food. Would the "before" solution include compiling a list of my + my spouse's friends with their respective phone numbers, then calling everybody inquiring which restaurants they recently visited?
Passive information discovery sucked before.
1) They used other services (e.g. Evite) which had the same effect
2) Nobody uses those other services anymore (okay, I got one evite from the one friend who refused to use facebook...and then somebody created the event page on facebook and all the party planning promptly got hijacked and moved there)
So your choices are to use Facebook and get invited to parties, or be like that guy from ten years ago who refused to get an email address and was butthurt that nobody would pick up the phone to personally invite him to the party.
Whenever something is up, everyone knows I won't get the memo, and they give me a mail/text/call. Usually more than one person.
And you can't compare that to email vs phone. Phone is costly, time consuming, single threaded. Sending a message on Facebook or an email doesn't make any difference.
What about relationships with people?
What about carrier pigeons?
What about personal servants?
All of those things are able to do what you're complaining about, they just take slightly more effort.
I guess it's to each his own - is your support of a terrible, invasive company more important than your convenience? That's up to you.
And it's not about my convenience, it's about not inconveniencing my friends by demanding that they remember that I'm a special snowflake who won't use the dominant communication platform of the day, and I must have my special needs attended to by using older, more inconvenient channels each time they want to send out a mass party invite.
The fact that computers are too inconvenient to use for communication without using locked centralized platforms and proprietary software is a testament to the failure of computers as a communication tool, rather than a good argument for the necessity of Facebook, which actually is terrible and worth resisting.
Or maybe social communication platforms are a natural monopoly and the computers are working just fine.
To me, avoiding Facebook in the absence of any negatives (you are free to log on only whenever you want to) seems like some strange puritanical or old-fashioned ritual. Why avoid something that works?
Simple. It was just harder so it did't happen nearly as often. If someone is complaining about an airline, you don't respond with, "How did people get from LA to NYC before airlines? What is stopping you from doing it that way?"
People vastly underestimate the value of the network effects on Facebook.
For example, last year I got to meet maybe 30 friends from all over the world because they were passing through France or wanted to go travel to the country I was traveling to. I wouldn't have met them if they didn't have my facebook as I rarely keep touch with people far from me (before facebook). My mail is filled with spam and I change my number every year.
I also moved to a new city, didn't know anyone, joined the erasmus group and a few weeks after I knew 100+ people, was getting invited to parties every day, was meeting new people every day.
You can always try to avoid facebook, it will be more difficult though.
Almost every organised event that I go to starts with a Facebook invite, or someone sharing the event on their feed. It's also a massive time waster, but until another event service gains actual adoption (a service such as this is useless without users, right?), I'll keep using Facebook.
I waste way more time on social media sites like this one than I ever have on Facebook.
I can't even guess when the last time was that I looked at someone's information directly on their profile on FB
My solution is to use custom CSS to hide the newsfeed, but keep everything else. As a result, I spent 1/10th the time on Facebook, and only use it when I need to get information from it.
I think you just invented MySpace.
Click farms like every page they can, far more than just the pages they were paid to like; the theory is that they will evade detection this way. Paying for "legitimate" facebook exposure will expose you to the click farms as well, and that will be the absolute majority of your gained likes. In this way facebook ads give a huge, but useless, gain in "Likes".
Since click farms are far far more engaged than the average fb user, this means that invariably, your ad will be steered actively by fb towards click farms!
So if you pay for fb ads you are in effect wasting your money because fb is forcing your ad to be shown to those who shouldn't see your ads.
And if you don't pay either for legitimate or fraudulent likes, you will still get a large fake following because they are using you to disguise their activity.
Does that matter? I mean, obviously if you're trying to work out whether it's worth paying for Facebook ads, it's worth being aware that a large number of Likes isn't necessarily a sign of a successful ad, but you don't know the "value" of a Like in advance anyway. If you discover that every 1,000 Likes you get 10 more sales (or whatever), then you can work out whether it's worth spending money for an ad that will likely bring in 1,000 Likes, whether 990 of those likes are "genuine" Likes that don't turn into sales, or 990 of the Likes are click farm Likes.
I mean, I've never advertised on Facebook, I don't know anything about it, but I would have thought you need to measure the actual effectiveness of your ads; whether click farm fake Likes are contributing to this overall effectiveness or not doesn't seem relevant to the end result.
And frankly, the whole thing is fucking ridiculous to even have to explain. FB does all sorts of shady/hacky shit to make money in a way that is totally incongruous with the needs and desires of both content consumers and content creators. Someone will come along with a simpler model that makes sense, and everyone will move away from facebook like they did from digg->reddit.
the video mentioned how real/useful engagement didn't change before and after he got all those fake likes
According to the video, the click farmers will like the page itself, but not any content it posts.
If your page likes are mostly fake, your posts likes will be proportionately lower.
The auther discovered that Facebook tests your posts among your following, and uses the % that liked the post as a signal as to whether it should show it to the rest of your network.
Now, if you are paying farmers for likes, they might also be liking the content you post. If you're not paying for likes at all, but you have a bunch of fake likes on your page, your posts will get proportionately fewer likes, and FB will show your post to fewer people.
The point was ultimately:
By buying likes, legitimately or not, your page will attract likes from fake accounts -- Which due to the aforementioned reasons will tank the presence of your page in the news feed of real users.
The only workaround from this position is to promote your posts either through legitimate or illegitimate means.
The other byproduct of this notion is that using the free coupons that Facebook tends to offer can cause more damage than they are supposedly supposed to fix.
It's also a much cheaper method than paying FB to promote to your click farm fans.
But in reality I'd be saying that in a weak attempt to make my own Facebook advertising more effective.
Lemme tl;dr this in three bullets:
- It's far easier for non-sophisticated advertisers to waste money.
- The ad platform is pretty technical and nuanced
- Notice I didn't mention facebook in the previous two bullets? That's because it's true for anywhere you buy ads, even print or flyers, radio or direct mail.
So to reiterate:
For any given paid advertising channel, it is far easier for non-sophisticated people to waste money as it is to see significant ROI. Any place you can buy ads is far more technical and nuanced than people who don't live and breath it could every imagine.
Beyond that, I think a lot of people have been jaded by the multitudes claiming that they can help businesses with social media. If you are stating that there is some fraction of 1% who do actually grasp some deep, esoteric knowledge required to succeed with Facebook campaigns (or with other channels like Google), then OK. But, I would think that to be a massive problem for Facebook, Google, etc. That is, the overwhelming majority of their customers (lacking the required knowledge) would eventually realize that the ROI just isn't there for them.
Perhaps that will yet happen with some of these channels. If so, perhaps FB will be among the first to implode, as there are many who don't find the same abysmal metrics with Google, et. al. as they do on FB. So, even from a relative perspective, it still seems that FB is deeply flawed.
How much facebook advertising have you managed? I hope it's a lot if you're going to call out "fundamental flaws" and "large portion of ad spend...likely wasted...on what is effectively fraud."
I've managed many millions across a handful of companies. Has their been issues? Yes, just like every other channel.
You're spot on about being jaded though.
Wading through the masses of BS is a huge pain.
75% of the people probably give up, 20% outsourced to varying results, 5% nail it in-house or via finding the right partner.
But that 5%-15% of potential advertisers that lock it down?
That's 80% of the ad spend right there.
One Expedia is worth 100,000 small businesses to Google.
Google, Facebook, et al have all tried to simplify their ad products to capture more potential advertisers at different levels.
But in doing so they arrive at a Catch 22 though...
To make it simpler, they hide sophistication and advanced options. The very options that are needed to drive campaigns with meaningful ROI. But those options are also over the head of the SMBs.
So what are they supposed to do?
Not sure what you want me to say here. I don't believe the author's experience is isolated, nor is that of others who have demonstrated/reported the same. Your suggestion that they should use more "sophisticated targeting" to circumvent fraud is odd. Targeting should be for optimization, not fraud avoidance. How about instead FB fixes the fraud problem?
In any case, by your own admission, most people don't possess this sophistication anyway, so it follows that they would likely be significantly affected by this fraud problem. Hence, you haven't refuted my statement, but supported it.
>How much facebook advertising have you managed? I hope it's a lot if you're going to call out "fundamental flaws"
Really? OK. Well, personally, I have only my own company's test cases. But, I can read and I don't think it's a coincidence that my experience corroborates that of many others. I'm actually also paraphrasing you (in part) when I say it's fundamentally flawed. I think it's a pretty big problem if only you and your cousin Bob, along with two other people who live on a mountain somewhere possess the esoteric knowledge required to create a successful campaign.
And, now you've explicitly stated some of the flaw, with this: "To make it simpler, they hide sophistication and advanced options. The very options that are needed to drive campaigns with meaningful ROI. But those options are also over the head of the SMBs"
You don't see a very serious problem there?
In general, what you're saying throughout your post just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. You gloss over fraud and lay out all of these problems with FB advertising, then you conclude that it's not fundamentally flawed. Instead, the problem is with the huge percentage of people who simply don't know how to use it. For what other product would this premise lead to this conclusion?
This video is sensationalist, a large portion of all internet advertising is click fraud, no one is arguing against that; however, that doesn't mean you can't get results from social ads if you have the right expertise.
I don't know what kind of budgets you have managed, I have personally devised campaigns with millions of dollars in spend for brands, and they worked out very well. Of course, the targeting we did was very advanced and impossible to do for most people.
The truth is you (and majority of the people who posted here) have spent negligeble amounts of money testing and have read very little on the subject and even less time on putting down a strategy. I have a newsflash for you - marketing is hard and you are not entitled to results, just because you throw $50 on facebook ads.
Interesting that you know how much time and money I've put into it.
It's also, interesting that you know what other means of advertising I've employed and am using for COMPARATIVE purposes.
Marketing is hard? No kidding. I have been marketing online for over 10 years and have driven well over $500M in sales during that time. Now, maybe you've done more than that with your FB ads, but I would say that I'm qualified to speak on my experience.
>You want to achieve meaningful results when competing with people who are vastly more prepared to you.
No. The person to whom I'm responding stated that very few people know how to succeed with FB's product. If FB is marketing a product from which the overwhelming majority of their customers don't get value, then something is wrong with the product. I'd think that simple statement to be obvious but, then, here you are.
>Why do you feel entitled to making facebook work?
Again, you know me so well. I don't feel "entitled", though Facebook certainly wants me to feel that way. Again, if the overwhelming majority of customers find the product ineffective, then there's a problem with the product or Facebook's positioning of it. I call that fundamentally flawed. You can call it a success.
So, you say you went off and built a slide-rule, strapped on a rocket pack, and obtained a PhD in psychology and statistics, and an MBA in marketing. Now, Facebook Ads work for you. Great! So I guess it was me and the other 90-something% of Facebook's ad customers who were wrong after all. We should just do what you did.
Listen, FB sells the product. Funny thing: they don't recommend the MBA, PhD, or even consultants. In fact, they hide important features because they are so unusable for the vast majority of their customers. This is tacitly misleading people into believing that what they see is sufficient for success with their product.
So, FB itself is telling you there's a big problem with their product, and this doesn't even consider the fraud issue in the OP. But, you just carry on defending them.
No, I'm saying that you marketing is a field like every other and should be treated like it. It's like me saying "Oh, C++ is so stupid, I can't do "X" with it, although this book says it's comprehensive. Btw, I'm a mommy blogger".
I will give you the benefit of the doubt on your accomplishments and tell you that if you are good at marketing facebook is a goldmine. Go read whitepapers from success stories. Read Gary Vaynerchuk's stuff. Be super precise with your targeting (like laser precise). Think differently about facebook traffic. Get in the mindset of your customer when he's on fb. You are not looking to fulfill a demand. You are looking to create it, so all your efforts should be completely different from adwords for example.
There are 2 groups of people who whine about facebook ads - marketers who fail to adapt and people with 0 knowledge about marketing/advertising.
We're not talking about the field of marketing. We're talking about a specific product. One of many available products that consistently underperforms for a lot of people (including those with experience in the field of marketing).
>it's like me saying "Oh, C++ is so stupid, I can't do "X" with it, although this book says it's comprehensive. Btw, I'm a mommy blogger"
No. It's not. It's like me saying "I have many years of successful marketing experience, using many tools, channels, and approaches. I have found fundamental flaws with this particular product. Many others seem to be reporting the same."
Which is, of course, exactly what I did say. But, you seem to be pretty determined to stick with your worldview.
>I will give you the benefit of the doubt on your accomplishments
My $500M+ in sales and I thank you.
>There are 2 groups of people who whine about facebook ads...
So, you don't even allow for the fact that perhaps something could possibly be wrong with the product, or even that FB ads may simply not be the right channel for every product/business. I understand that you feel very strongly about FB ads (or more accurately that you have disdain for those who don't love them as you do). But, you have to realize that when you make categorical statements like that, it's hard to take you seriously.
You don't sound like a marketer to me. Usually marketers are not put off by barriers to entry, they are enthralled by them.
I personally am happy that chimps can't make facebook work. Less competition for me.
I agree. I think.
>You don't sound like a marketer to me.
>I personally am happy that chimps can't make facebook work. Less competition for me.
Well then, it sounds like you have it all figured out. Carry on.
Basically, I have to create the targets extremely specifically, and then Facebook lets me advertise to them. Unfortunately, I haven't had the same success with Facebook's pre-set targeting criteria.
Facebook's advertising tools promote the page like system too much and are too complex for non-specialized workers, I think.
Buying Facebook likes for a Facebook page is a subset of ads. You're definitely driven towards it in Facebook UI, but if you're Amazon or NetFlix or Expedia or whoever buys billions of ads nowadays, you still buy clicks to your site and bid on CPC basis.
Anecdotal evidence (visiting facebook.com on the Web, seeing 7 ads on the right-hand side) suggests very few businesses actually pay for likes on pages. My current advertisers are tdameritrade.com, amazon.com, fijiairways.com, digitalsherpa.com, getdrip.com, att.com, tahoeaccommodations.com, none of them having a Like button underneath the ad.
So, even if it is technically possible to do well in a given media, if it is really hard to identify who is a genuine expert in that media due to it being new and full of snake-oil merchants, then you are likely to do better in a more established field.
I'm going to get crucified for this, but paid advertising is somewhat analogous to software engineering/developers. There are many languages/platforms/technologies out there. Some old, some cutting edge. Each one most likely has it's own syntax/terminology, patterns, approaches etc.
So when hiring a full stack engineer, you look for someone who cuts pretty deep across a few key areas, but can also roll up their sleeves across the stack if need be. Example: Ruby Expert, Getting into Angular, and knows how to provision AWS if need be.
Same thing with full stack marketer. If you know Google Adwords, Content Marketing and a bit of PR are your core, then optimize your hire for that.
There are literally hundreds of "startups" doing that for social media advertising. Hundreds for search. Hundreds for display, and not just regular display, but RTB(sarcasm)! There are tons of startups doing it for native ads. And don't forget video, seo & content marketing among others.
Add on to that, the partner/provider lists of "startups" that sit on top of one or many of those tools.
And let's not forget about the 1000s of agencies out there to roll it all up.
There are tons of snake oil salesman, and many good tools and people in that list. But as with pretty much any ecosystem, it's 80% crap, 10% meh, 10% bam.
And there is no one right answer. Just like no absolute answer to Python vs Ruby.
So whenever I see articles like, "facebook ads bad! look what they're doing!"
Change it to, "facebook ads bad! Look at all the things I'm doing wrong, but don't even know enough to know I'm doing wrong!"
Arguably it's easy - if their advertising works then they're good. If you notice a marketing company then they're doing things right to some extent (at least WRT your demographic).
All on-line ads are mostly worthless - most clicks are from clickfarms, and the genuine parts are mostly by clickjacking or accidental misclicks. Almost no one really wants to buy stuff via ads. Ad agencies keep telling companies that advertising online will generate lots of revenue, but between all those messy, noisy metrics and people generally not understanding a thing about statistics it's hard to see what part of revenue can be really attributed to ads, and whether or not they're worth the money invested.
In most cases they will be underwhelming, but if the numbers make sense, why not?
example: 2$ per click for a $500 dollar product (assume no other costs_
if you can turn 1 out of 100 clicks into a sale, then it might still be worth it, despite 99 fake, uninterested, botted, clickfarmed or otherwise undesirable clicks.
Things like Facebook Likes are more difficult to track and are still relatively new, and that's why many people haven't figured them out yet, but over time they will either reach an equilibrium, where value provided is equal to cost or they will disappear.
I'm anti-ads because the kind of ads that I am being exposed to are invasive, especially re-targeting ads. I.e. those ads where you've been on a website and thought about buying something, then decided against it? Then you get the same product advertised to you on random other sites you visit.
I cannot stand it when those ads follow me around. In fact, assuming I didn't buy the product or service for a good reason, and I do want to buy the product, I will deliberately buy from a competitor, because fuck you and your invasion of my privacy. It is my own little way of silent protest.
I assume I'm in a minority though and most people don't care. Most of the time I use an ad-blocker. iPad doesn't have a solution unfortunately.
I always try to deactivate and fallback to classic ads. It was at least possible in FB some years ago.
I would tend to agree, if we keep the "mostly" in mind. You really need to target you ad money on places where the users are already trying to buy something.
Other than that I don't see ads on random sites working any better than television or print ads. Maybe that's okay, but let's face it, I'm not going to buy 10kg of fire wood because I see an ad on a news site.
Right now at Perfect Audience, we have many customers using our tools and seeing anything from $5-15 in sales from each $1 they spend. It takes time and work to get to the high end of that spectrum, but people get there and it grows their business swiftly.
The accounts also were random like the one in the OP video, a Indian teenage girl liking a Flight Simulator? Why not... Hundreds? nope...
I feel like I've been cheated by Facebook in a way and would like my money back. They sure can find a way to figure out if those clicks are legitimate. Someone has 3K likes of random interests? That's a red flag to me.
I'll put the complete url in the future posts. Here it is:
I mean, how it stands now you've compounded the problem given the fake engagement and following you've built and how that changes which posts get promoted.