Facebook Fraud Response: Are Facebook Ads a Waste of Money?

Facebook Fraud Response

[AUDIO VERSION: As an experiment, I also recorded an audio version of this blog post. Click below to listen. Let me know if this is something you find helpful!]

You’ve undoubtedly seen the following video from Veritasium called “Facebook Fraud.” If you haven’t yet, please watch it below…

It’s a well produced video put together by a very smart guy outlining why Facebook ads are a waste of money. He cited three main examples why, and I’ll dig into those in a minute.

Not surprisingly, I’ve had dozens of people send me this video. If nothing else, I’m beyond impressed by their ability to create a viral video (and of course, I’m contributing to that now!).

I’m not writing this post to rip apart the video’s author or to say it’s entirely wrong. He represents a viewpoint that is very common, and it’s something that deserves to be heard and addressed.

While I disagree with the conclusion, that doesn’t make the video itself false.

Given the response the video has gotten — and the repeated questions I’m getting about it — I felt it was important I respond in some way. So in this post, I’m going to do the following:

  • Recap the major points of the video
  • Explore common ground
  • Voice my issues with the video
  • Provide my own stats and history with Facebook ads

The Facebook Fraud Video

The video addresses three main examples…

First, the Virtual Bagel experiment from 2012.

Remember this? BBC Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones created this useless Facebook page to test the value of a page like. He intentionally created a page with (hopefully) no value to find out whether you could still use ads to generate fans.

After paying $100 for ads, the page ended up with more than 3,000 fans (there are more than 4,000 a year and a half later). His ads were targeted at users in the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, India, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines (note that the video doesn’t mention Russia, India or Malaysia).

Per Cellan-Jones’ article in 2012, here is the extent of targeting:

I narrowed it down slightly by targeting under 45-year-olds interested in cookery and consumer electronics, but was told that would still give me a potential audience of 112 million customers.

Virtually nobody in the US or UK liked his page. When broadly targeted, the ad received a click-through rate of 0.55%. When narrowed to only the UK, that percentage dwindled to 0.059%.

This underscored the problem with targeting at particular countries, raising doubts about the quality of fans there.

Second, Facebook Advertising for the Veritasium page.

At the 2:07 point, the author of the video continues…

So did they delete all of the fake likes? Nope. Not even close. I know because most of the likes on my Facebook page are not genuine.

He explains how in May of 2012, he received emails from Facebook with a $50 coupon code to try Facebook ads. So he did.

As he started running ads, his audience grew exponentially. He went from 2,000 fans to more than 130,000 today (though it sounds like he had just over 100,000 related to the study).

He found that as his audience grew, engagement did not. If fact, he felt as though engagement may have even declined.

Make sure to check out his graph at the 3:13 point where he notes that 80,000 of his likes (or what he says is 75%) come from developing countries. This results in 1% of his page’s engagement.

Percentage Likes Engaged

At the 5:20 point:

I should reiterate, I never bought fake likes. I used Facebook’s legitimate advertising.

He is never clear about the targeting of this ads. But since he doesn’t make claims to the contrary, the argument appears to be that ads broadly targeted at these countries brought meaningless likes that didn’t result in engagement.

Finally, the Virtual Cat experiment.

The author of the video then decided to run his own experiment. So he created another useless Facebook page called Virtual Cat. He then spent $25 targeting cat lovers in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

The result of that $25: 262 page likes. While details weren’t provided, he says that many of the likes were from people liking thousands of pages.

He also referred to a single post that he published on a Friday afternoon that reached only eight people and received no “engagement” (defined in this case, apparently, as comments, likes and shares).

On Click Farms

Early in the video, it’s mentioned that Facebook likes can be bought in two ways: Legitimately and illegitimately. You can “buy” them through ads or pay click farms and break Facebook’s rules.

The video describes how you can buy 1,000 likes for $70, and that workers are paid $1 for every 1,000 like clicks. These services have users set up in countries like India, the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

Note that the “legitimate” way of buying likes is through Facebook ads. But in the examples this video provides from 2012, those ads were targeted at countries known for click farms.

Some pages do this intentionally to bulk up their likes. Some do it unknowingly. In 2012, I suspect they innocently paid for these ads thinking they were getting quality fans.

These days, of course, we know better.

Where We Agree on Concerns

While I have issues with the conclusions of the video, what he shared does underscore a very real problem. Even in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, remnants of these click farms exist.

And as I outlined when Optimized CPM first came out, the problem is that Facebook is going to target your ad at people most likely to perform your desired action. In some cases, that could be at people who have liked thousands of pages.

Granted, that is mitigated quite a bit with proper targeting (not just by country), but fake profiles still exist.

My Issues with the Video

Let me go point by point on my major issues with the video before I get to my own stats.

Again, I appreciate the video and the conversations it starts. But a different perspective from someone who has seen incredible success with Facebook ads is necessary.

The Core of the Argument is Based on Results from 2012
We’ve been through this regarding the Virtual Bagel page before. This is old news.

The Facebook ad feature set has changed significantly since then. These features either didn’t exist or were unlikely to be used during these tests:

If you still use Facebook ads as if it’s 2012, you deserve the results you get.

I felt it strange that so much of the video was focused on something so long ago. We should have learned our lessons since then. If you target well (and use Power Editor), you’re much more likely to find success.

The fact that poorly targeted ads in 2012 didn’t work shouldn’t be a surprise. The two examples weren’t the only ones. I’m included among those who screwed up (see later in this post about my stories).

About Those Click Farms…
The video talks about how click farms are prevalent in countries like India, the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

Remember that Virtual Bagel experiment? It was considered an indictment on Facebook ads because no one in the US or UK clicked on the ad while also targeting and getting likes from India, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

We as readers and viewers should completely understand why that page ended up with a bunch of undesirable likes. It targeted users in countries that are known to be a problem.

And shouldn’t the fact that so few people from the US and UK liked a worthless page be an indication that targeting in those countries may actually be okay?

I guess the argument is that those click farms are a problem and shouldn’t exist. Well, that’s true. But by now, we should all know they exist, and we should also know how to avoid them the best we can.

The author goes on to say that this is reflected in his own page, which is littered with fake likes. He provides a graph showing that 80,000 of his fans were from undesirable countries who provided less than 1% of his engagement.

Again, he isn’t clear here, but it sounds like he targeted ads at these countries. If he didn’t, I fully expect he would have made a very strong point to the contrary.

You get what you pay for. Yes, click farms exist. Yes, some countries are much less desirable than others. You should expect the quality of your audience to follow.

Small Sample Sizes
The most compelling argument was one built on the smallest of sample sizes: The $25 in ads for Virtual Cat.

I wish he would have done more here. I wish he would have spent more money and provided more details regarding the number of fans who liked X number of pages.

This is a phenomenon I have seen before, so I don’t doubt that it can happen. But I would have loved to see more details on how bad it was in his experiment. It just isn’t clear, which weakens the overall argument of the video.

We’ve established that poorly targeted ads will get you nowhere. This is precisely why I repeatedly tell you not to use the quick fix ads tools of Boost Post and Promote Page. Use Power Editor.

You no longer need to broadly target a country based on age and gender (recall that the Virtual Bagel ad targeted 112 Million people!). You can target based on the basic things like interests and even buying histories (Partner Categories).

But do you know how you can really avoid any of these issues? Focus most of your budget on the people you know care about your brand.

That’s why I talk about targeting your email list with Custom Audiences and targeting your website visitors with Website Custom Audiences (and previously with FBX).

If You Target Ads Poorly, They Won’t Work

None of the conclusions should be a surprise here.

If you target countries that aren’t relevant to you and are known to be havens for click farms, you will end up with a bunch of worthless likes. This isn’t 2012 anymore. You can no longer play ignorant to this.

Likewise, if you target ads very broadly at “cat lovers” don’t expect to get high quality fans. In fact, don’t expect any actual “cat lovers” to respond when you create a completely unrelated post about a scientific experiment.

Your most relevant audience is your actual customers. When you create Facebook ads, you start with them. The further you get away from that center, the less confidence you should have in the results.

Luckily for you, there are plenty of ways to target a highly relevant audience instead of blindly targeting click farm countries and broad, fluffy interests.

If Facebook Ads Don’t Work…

Let’s assume for a minute that this video is correct. Paying for Facebook ads is a complete waste of money.

I guess we also first have to assume that Facebook ads are only used for getting likes. But stick with me…

My entire Facebook strategy is based on building a relevant audience — largely through ads. If what I was paying for was only fake profiles, this would be obvious.

How would it be obvious? Well, I wouldn’t get anyone to opt in to my newsletter. Or register for my webinar. Or — most importantly — buy my stuff.

But my strategy is based on the importance of building that highly relevant audience. You can’t sell up front. You attract the right crowd. So when you’re ready to sell, you do use ads — but you target your fans.

My results?

Yes, Facebook Ads Work

Facebook Ads ROI Fans

I’ve seen first hand that Facebook ads work. They drive website traffic, build my email list and produce sales.

In fact, I’ve found repeatedly that it’s a highly relevant fan base that produces these things. Read these posts:

[NOTE: I included the last blog post because it details my Cost Per Registration and Cost Per Sale by placement.]

If my fan base — built largely through ads — was built with bots, this would not be possible.

My Stats and History with Facebook Ads

I think it’s only fair that I share some of my stories and the breakdown of my own audience.

I am someone who has spent more than $12,000 on Facebook ads for my page since the start of 2013, and I am now routinely spending more than $2,000 per month.

But know that I’m just like anyone else. I didn’t fully understand all of the features when they were rolled out. I didn’t know of the pitfalls of poorly targeted ads in the beginning — and the targeting was not always all that good anyway.

As a result, I can include my name on the list of advertisers who regretfully paid for ads that weren’t nearly as successful as they thought they were at first glance. And some of those fans undoubtedly still like my page.

Here is a breakdown of my fan base in order of country (including top 10 only, which makes up about 80% of the total).
Jon Loomer Percentage Likes

  1. United States – 34.47%
  2. Brazil – 7.53%
  3. United Kingdom – 6.88%
  4. Thailand – 6.46%
  5. India – 5.70%
  6. Australia – 5.01%
  7. Portugal – 4.97%
  8. Canada – 4.04%
  9. Philippines – 2.78%
  10. Italy – 1.76%

Recall that the video talked of a page being overrun with likes from click farm countries (75% of likes). I’m not getting that, as you can see, even though I spend quite a bit of money on ads. But I do have about 15% wrapped up in Thailand, India and the Philippines.

I can attribute a decent portion of that to lessons learned with targeting. In the beginning, I just assumed that if someone liked my page, they actually liked it — it didn’t matter where they were from.

Later, I would promote posts to people outside of my core countries thinking something similar — I was just looking for website traffic. Of course, many of those people liked my page, too.

Lessons learned, and these days I target almost exclusively the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. I do hate this because I know that business exists outside of these countries, but I also need to be careful.

Now, I’m not sure how the graph was made in the video to determine where fan engagement came from, but note that Facebook doesn’t break down engagement via fans and non-fans by country. I am going to assume he was referring to the People Talking About This by Country metric within Insights (note that this leaves out all sorts of good engagement, however).

Here are my top engagement countries by Talking About This over the most recent 28-day period (this makes up 83% of my Talking About This).

  1. United States – 45.98%
  2. United Kingdom – 12.38%
  3. Australia – 6.99%
  4. Canada – 5.28%
  5. Ireland – 3.46%
  6. India – 3.27%
  7. New Zealand – 1.74%
  8. Brazil – 1.72%
  9. Israel – 1.25%
  10. Italy – 1.14%

Now, if you’re following and you’re smart, I know exactly what you’re thinking: “Where are Thailand and the Philippines? And what’s the deal with Brazil? Doesn’t this partly prove the point of the video?”

Well, remember that I also advertise quite a bit these days. And as I said, I target the top four countries in these results almost exclusively. Since these stats don’t separate fans from non-fans or paid from organic, it’s really hard to make any sense of the numbers.

So the Talking About This numbers coming from all but the top four countries is organic only (or nearly organic only). That tells me that the fans in India, though I don’t doubt issues, have some value.

Is it possible that my audience from India, Thailand and the Philippines are horribly engaged compared to other countries? It is. But we already know the issues with these countries, and I seem to have that under control.

Yes, There’s a Problem, But Mitigate It

Those who watch that video will likely walk away into one of three groups:

  • It validates their lack of success with Facebook ads
  • It proves that those who take shortcuts will fail
  • It’s a cautionary tale

The first two groups already know where they stand. I’m hoping to help the third group understand that they can find success with Facebook ads. They just can’t take shortcuts.

I will not deny that there is an issue with fake profiles, bots and spam accounts on Facebook. There is a problem. When you spend money on ads to get likes, you expect them all to be real people.

Facebook does need to clean this up the best they can. But understand that the problem is not unique to Facebook. And it’s a problem that will never be completely eliminated.

Your job as an advertiser is to understand the environment. Undesirable people and accounts are everywhere. They are a minefield. You need to avoid them and reach the people most likely to care about your brand.

Because Facebook’s ability to target is so powerful, you have more tools than the typical marketer to do just that. If you ignore these tools — or are unable to use them properly — you will fail. You will not get value out of your fan base. You will not build your email list. You will not profit.

It’s up to you whether you’d like to put in the effort.

  • http://www.eugenoprea.com Eugen Oprea

    Jon, as always rock solid content.

    I agree with you on everything you mentioned above, but I had similar issues (likes from fake profiles and lower engagement) with trying to promote my Facebook page.

    I must admit that I haven’t spent more than a couple hundred $ on advertising the page and I haven’t gotten into trying the items below, so most probably this is the reason of my failure:

    Custom Audiences
    Lookalike Audiences
    Website Custom Audiences
    Partner Categories

    … even if I had properly targeted my audience, as you advise in your articles.

    But what can someone do if they don’t have enough traffic for their website nor an audience yet, but still wants to get more page likes?

    • Julia Bramble

      Hi Eugen,
      You don’t say what targeting you have tried when trying to promote your Page, but I would always suggest targeting people who like similar Pages to yours, and also thinking about related Pages that they would like and using those as a basis for targeting to precise interests.
      Say, for example, you run a hotel and you know that the people who come and stay with you love the countryside around the location and, in particular, love to go walking there – you might think about targeting people who likes other Pages related to the area of the country and also people who like Pages run by the kinds of walking gear used by your guests. In addition, you might think about targeting people who have liked photographers who take stunning photos of the local scenery. I have used this strategy very successfully.

      In addition, I have found that, if you start sharing value by offering an attractive ‘lead magnet’ (free ebook, guide, video course, etc) via opt-in on a squeeze page and you promote that to targeted audiences, then again your Page likes will grow as a result.

      As Jon has demonstrated in this excellent post, we all need to try, test and measure for our own Page with our own audiences to see what works. If I’m running any sort of ads to ‘precise interests’ targeted audiences, I would split test and try the ad out on several variations before plumping for the best performing one and ramping up the budget.

      Hope this helps!

      • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

        Hey Julia, great advice.

        Just wanted to clarify something – I don’t think it’s possible to target people who like similar Pages unless you have administrative controls over those Pages right? I tried it myself and was unsuccessful. Let me know, thanks!

        • Vincent Vizachero

          The fans of some pages that are not yours can be targeted, but not all.

        • Julia Bramble

          Hi Jason – if you hit the ‘precise interests’ box and type in there the names of the Pages whose ‘likers’ you’d like to target and then hit ‘return’, Facebook will give you the option of that Page (click on the + box to the right), and will also bring up suggestions of similar Pages you could target underneath in a list underneath.

          Facebook’s definition of what you are targeting here is “Description: People who have expressed an interest in or like pages related to …..”

          (If the audience for Page you have chose is too small it won’t show up, so you might have to think again.)

          Hope that works for you :)

          • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

            Thanks Julia. The last time I explored that option was a couple of months ago. I’ll try it again, thanks!

  • Lenny Teytelman

    I disagree with the notion that there is nothing new and important in Derek’s video. We published an exposé on this two weeks ago. Our company fell victim to Facebook’s “promote your page” button, and as we showed clearly, this is a pervasive and systemic problem for life sciences companies with Facebook pages. It is a problem that Facebook is trying to disingenuously dismiss.


    • Vincent Vizachero

      Here is what is not new: don’t spend money buying something you don’t understand.

      I don’t design my own antibiotics in my kitchen.

      Why people assume that advertising and marketing can be done for free (or nearly so) by people with no training or experience is beyond my comprehension.

      • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

        Why people choose to disagree after the author repeatedly said not to use “Promote your Page” button is also beyond my comprehension…

        But I won’t disagree that Facebook could certainly do better.

      • matthias4332

        Vincent, to continue your analogy about antibiotics, you might not design your own antibiotics in your kitchen. But antibiotics aren’t an OTC drug. There are regulations in place that make sure that the consumer makes informed decisions.

        With the “promote my page” button, the point is this: Facebook makes you believe that by clicking the “promote my page” button that you will be reaching real people. So what do people do? They buy it. But I have never seen that button work — in fact, it looks like no one on here has ever seen it work.

        Do we allow random people to sell “miracle tonics” and “cure-all potions” in pharmacies and stores? Nope, we ended that a long time ago, because it was patently obvious that people were NOT getting what they paid for and in fact were being hurt by the product.

        I don’t see a difference between those scammers and Facebook in this instance. Your tough talk is just that: tough, but hardly logical and very unconvincing.

        • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

          I use it all the time for my small town local pages and it works great. You can target demographics with it. If you aren’t doing that then you’ll get junk Likes.

      • Lenny Teytelman

        Advertising on Facebook as a startup, without experience is like mixing my own antibiotics in the kitchen? How so? The whole point of Google and Facebook ad model is that people can use it to promote, without contacting expensive ad agencies. Certainly Facebook strives to make this advertising as easy as clicking a single button that it claims will connect your company “with the people who matter to you”.

        Without a doubt, professionals can use Facebook effectively to market. That does not mean there is no problem. Facebook is covering up and dismissing this scandalous practice, and that is not the fault of startups.

        (And as a side note – I switched from an undergraduate in math to molecular biology in graduate school, without a single college bio class. I co-founded a successful company without any entrepreneurial experience or going to business school. I did all of this by plunging in and learning. But when I try to use Facebook to reach an audience, you say I am not qualified and should leave it to professionals?)

        • Vincent Vizachero

          What I’m saying is that when we see someone make rookie mistakes, we chalk it up to them being a rookie. Not to the game being “too hard” or “rigged”.

          Learning how to best promote your page IS “plunging in and learning”. Making mistakes, and learning from them, is ALWAYS part of gaining a foothold on the path to success.

          I guarantee you made plenty of mistakes in your degrees and your startup that you could have avoided if you’d had more training or know-how. I’m also willing to bet you aren’t the kind of person who tried to blame “the market” or your grad school for those mistakes: you sucked it up, moved on, and did it better the next time.

          In advertising and marketing, you pay to learn. Either you pay for the training, put in the time to learn, or pay with avoidable errors.

          • Lenny Teytelman

            Vincent, what you are saying is that I got into a car without knowing how to drive, crashed, and blamed Toyota. In reality, this is more like a car manufacturer that misleadingly sold me a car, claiming it drives itself and I don’t need a license, and then I went off a cliff.

            Do take an actual look at our exposé. This is not a problem of our little startup. This is a pervasive scam that Facebook is enjoying but denying it exists. We are talking about companies like Matlab, Novartis, and Pfizer falling for it.


            And see today’s piece by Jim Edwards from Business Insider.

          • Vincent Vizachero

            I read it this morning, and I applaud you for putting that out there as a cautionary tale. I really do.

            But I’ve NEVER seen Facebook make the claims you attribute to them. When I see them bosting “Promote Page” I see claims like “It’s easier than ever to create an ad to encourage more people to like your Page” or “Create an ad to get more people to like your Page.”

            For most of my pages, the default criteria that I see when I have pressed “Promote Page” have been spot on (e.g. targeting the same town as my business, with great keywords). Other times, it is less spot on but it is so easy to edit that there is no excuse to doing it.

            I just started a campaign for one of my pages using the “Promote Page” button. I’ll report back on how it goes.

      • sidster

        “Why people assume that advertising and marketing can be done for free (or nearly so) by people with no training or experience is beyond my comprehension.”

        Uh, because FB rams it down people’s throats that they can do so (and without actually informing people of the realities of the advertising environment, e.g., link farms in India, etc)?? SMH. Oh and your analogy is terrible.

        • Vincent Vizachero

          There are a million things in life you COULD do yourself, without training, that you probably shouldn’t. You don’t like my example, pick another.

  • Lynn O’Connell

    I am sharing both the Mashable article and your response later today. I think you both raise important points. My big concern is that the average Facebook advertiser doesn’t understand custom targeting, much less custom audiences, look-alike audiences, etc. Facebook is making a LOT of money by convincing small businesses to bypass consultants/specialists/agencies and manage their own Facebook advertising — often by simply clicking promote post. That’s not going to change, so IMHO Facebook needs to step up and do more to ensure the validity of likes delivered by ads. It’s obviously not easy, and I’d guess that many of the enhanced features are designed to help address problems like this. Still, Google and other online ad providers faced similar challenges with click fraud and had to come up with solutions. Facebook needs to do the same.

    • matthias4332


    • Ray Grau


    • https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-21st-Century-Online-Marketing/279417042162640 Roy Moyo


    • http://www.CarriBugbee.com/ Carri Bugbee

      Neither Jon nor the video creator has mentioned something KEY to this discussion: Facebook has explicity told marketers in recent months that Facebook works BEST as a marketing tool if you build a fan base you can advertise to in a more targeted way (than advertising to non-fans).

      That was widely reported in December. Ad Age summarized Facebook’s own documents (created to make the case to marketers) like this: “the main reason to acquire fans isn’t to build a free distribution channel for content; it’s to make future Facebook ads work better.” [http://adage.com/article/digital/facebook-admits-organic-reach-brand-posts-dipping/245530/].

      So, regardless of whether Jon and other savvy marketers here (who can dedicate time to figure out the vagaries of the platform’s contant changes) can work around Facebook’s own stated best use case, the fact remains: if ads attract lots of fake or even non-useful fans, then ads do NOT work the way Facebook says they are designed to work. Period.

      This is, no doubt, just one of the many reasons marketers expressed strong dissatisfaction with Facebook in a November report by Forrester [http://blogs.forrester.com/nate_elliott/13-10-28-an_open_letter_to_mark_zuckerberg].

      As a member of several online groups filled with people who make a living by selling Facebook advice and services, I’ve heard the “buyer beware” or “it’s not for use by non-expert marketers” excuses a zillion times. Yeah, you have to get educated. Sure, you have to experiment (with money) to figure out what works. Of course, you have to read up on all the latest, blah, blah, blah…

      But seriously, how much can you really TRUST a platform that doesn’t seem to know (or care) about how it works in the real world, can’t adequately explain its own services to the only people who are paying for it (advertisers), and won’t try all that hard to fix problems of fraud that are widely reported?

      I’m friends with some of the smartest FB marketers in the world, so I know FB advertising still works – for a tiny handful of people who live, eat and sleep Facebook 24/7 and can figure out how to game it. But it doesn’t work well for most businesses these days. The negative PR is piling up and many are disillusioned.

      • kgal1298

        It’s true the negative is just building and building, but also for some reason only a few marketers seem to offer insight into their Google Analytics. If it works then you should be able to see the ROI. Facebook marketing isn’t for everyone as I’ve seen some people get better results with Pinterest and Stumbleupon.

        As for FB I run an animal one and my numbers dropped drastically in November only about 5K in referrals from FB to my site, but with some good content and minimum ads running I was able to get my referrals back up to around 20K for the month. The other thing is no platform is perfect.

        People want to compare Google Ads, but you can also run Google Ads incorrectly…what I always find funny with Google is they give you a better CPM with the more money you spend…so small businesses with a limited budget could actually not benefit from Google Ads as well. And then you also have Twitter Ads which is just in a growing phase right now, but the most successful campaigns I’ve ran were cross collaborations with YouTubers or 3rd party ad networks, which is also something businesses could consider. And when I did E-Commerce I used Affiliate Marketing, but you have to be careful with that because some Affiliate Marketers will scam you. So basically no system is full proof it seems like Facebook is just the scape goat right now for everything wrong with the advertising industry.

        Overall maybe we shouldn’t talk about FB so much and talk about the individual businesses and where they should focus in order to achieve success too many people want a reason as to why something doesn’t work, when really the reason something doesn’t work for you could be that it’s you, but no one likes to hear that so lets keep complaining about Facebook because then I can blame that instead of myself for my brand having issues. That’s what I’ve been picking up from some people not everyone, but a good few.

    • Prab Reyes

      Nailed it with this post. Jon’s followers know that we should create custom audiences, use power editor and whatnot, but the huge majority don’t. So in a way the Veritasium video holds true.

      This is actually the case in one of the pages that I manage. Before I came into the picture, the latter was how Facebook ads were run. It’s a mess, since the targeted/relevant people only count for about 40% of the total likes/engagement on the page posts.

  • Sarah Sal

    The way the BBC journalist and the video maker promoted their page was using the promote page button, that give them 0 control over the ad targeting.
    When I have multiple ads combination, text, targeting..etc Facebook tells me how many people did also engage with the page in regard to like, shares, comments,… so if i post frequently, and I keep an eye on the ads I can tell which ad give me better quality of fans. Problem is people are obsessed with cost per fan, they forget not all fans are equal. Another factor in fan quality is what reason did you give them to like your page..

    • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

      That’s not true about not being able to target using the Promote Page button on your page. Via it you can drill down by city, age and male/female.

      • Sarah Sal

        @Scott what about interest targeting like reaching only those interested in social media marketing, or hubspot, or social media examiner?

        • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

          You can choose interests inside the Promote Page button. Can you target fans of a particular page? Don’t think so. But not sure you can do that with any form of ad really.

      • Claire Chesneau

        Yes, Scott but I don’t think the ‘simple souls’ realise this and they may be intimidated by the forms and very worried about their budgets running away with them. That having been said I know at least one small local charity who are quite happy with the results from pressing the promote button from time to time so FB is doing them proud…..

        • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

          Well “simple souls” perhaps shouldn’t be doing their own ads then…

          • Lou Lou

            “Well “simple souls” perhaps shouldn’t be doing their own ads then…” wow after reading that, I need a bex and a good lie down.

            If FB shared your sentiment, then their mercantile interface would have an emphasis on herding average users towards consultancy services.

          • Michel Bonin

            “If FB shared your sentiment, then their mercantile interface would have an emphassis on herding average users towards consultancy services” Exactly Lou Lou… Is it not what Google has done with Google Engage and more recently with Google Partners (agents earning a well-deserved AdWords expert badge)? Facebook must do catch up their ad products mature.

          • Lou Lou

            I have to admit I don’t yet have any expertise or vested interest in the broadest focus of concern regarding monetising strategies used by FaceBook. And so I haven’t spoken to anything Google did yet, because: i. I thought we were talking about Facebook; ii. I’m a bit busy, so I don’t have the time right now to googlise which logical fallacy is in play when you dismiss a proposition by referring to a separate and non-causal scenario for the purpose of guilt-association and blah blah blah… erm, well, at least we seem to agree this is _all_ in bad taste.

      • kgal1298

        That’s true, but it’s still not the best method that’s for sure.

        • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

          It’s worked fine for me for local pages.

  • msmiskin

    Hi Jon – I have watched all the debate around this video unfold today, and completely understand and agree with much of what you have outlined in your response. I do also agree with Lynn however – that your average small business owner is not going to know a tool like Power Editor even exists, let along how to custom target ads effectively etc. Facebook have deliberately introduced steps in their advertising and promoted post processes to make it easy to advertise based on achieving certain outcomes – building trust with users who expect to follow a simple process and get results. I think the Veritasium video has highlighted the fact that there is indeed an issue with click farms and fake profiles across Facebook, and as a publicly listed company deriving financial benefit from this, it should continue to be diligent and take accountability for trying to address the issue where it can. The alternative will be businesses walking away from ad spend because they do not trust the process, results or are just fed up paying to each an audience they have already paid to acquire anyway.

    • Vincent Vizachero

      It is always true that if you buy something you don’t understand you are likely to get burned.

      I suppose it can be useful to focus energy on the precise WAYS you can get burned, and I also suppose it is cathartic to blame the seller.

      Nonetheless, this is not a Facebook problem. Or a “fake profile” problem. Or a new problem. We have adages for a reason.

      Caveat emptor.
      A fool and his money are quickly parted.
      Because we focused on the snake, we missed the scorpion.
      Only a fool tests the water with both feet.
      Eggs have no business dancing with stones.
      Look before you leap.

      You get the idea.

      • Lynn O’Connell

        As an agency owner, I’d love to see a return to the days when everyone relied on specialists for media buys. (I’d like to be 18 again, too.) Since that’s never going to happen, it is completely appropriate to pressure Facebook to take more accountability for delivering the product they sell. Magazines, newspapers, TV all had to verify their ratings and audiences when agencies were buying. Why should Facebook be held to a lower standard? Why don’t they return click fees when they delete a page? (Remember make-goods in traditional advertising?)

        Think about all the small non-profits that are hitting the boost post button. Are we OK with Facebook selling snake oil to those volunteers who are just trying to help their causes? (Who will never have the time or money to become Facebook marketing experts?) For that matter, why does Facebook get away with selling likes when they don’t show page contents to those people anyway? Facebook actively leads page owners to believe that paying for page and post likes with one-click will benefit them. It doesn’t. Can you overcome that with time and knowledge, sure. Is it OK for them to fleece others in the meantime? NO.

        • feloneouscat

          Facebook, as any other business, has only ONE priority – make money for its shareholders.

          Let’s face it, Facebook has severe issues in everything from security to community standards (breastfeeding is verboten but beheadings are okay? What “community standards” are they using? The Manson Family?).

          I have no doubt that there are some people who do find Facebook an excellent source of revenue. Jon Loomer, however, doesn’t tell you that it is freaking expensive compared to the competition.

          A male friend of mine was treated to ads for bras for a week. No doubt some people complained, but the real question is not “hey, can I advertise on Facebook” but “what is the advantage of advertising on Facebook?”

          As I pointed out, per CPM Facebook costs 10x more than the competition. I have yet to see how Facebook is 10x better than other forms of advertisement.

  • nam

    Hey friends, I have a problem in fb advertising. I would like to target my state – Maharashtra (in india) but fb says its not available. And I tried to add India first. But still I could not add my state. How do I know the reason behind it? FB says we should target minimum one country(learned this in facebook help articles). Say, If I target a country in location targeting and then am adding some states means, will my ads show only on the states or to the whole country? If I need to target only one or few states, still do I need to target my country? And how to clear my problem said above.

    Thanks in advance my friends.

  • Ricardo Azarite

    Hey, a Brazilian speaking here! Brazil has a Social Media market that has being increasing significantly since 2010, at least. People who work with Social Media here have a real problem: lack of good Brazilian content, so we HAVE to look for it outside Br. Most of our consume of content is based on really good blogs on the US/UK.

    Probably that’s why Brazil is your second biggest audience

    • http://anapaulaviana.com/ Ana Paula Viana

      I totally agree with Ricardo.
      I’m another brazilian that (really) likes your content ;-)

    • Vanessa

      And we don’t comment a lot because most of Brazilian people are best readers than writers (specially in english language).

  • http://blog.ianlyons.com Ian Lyons

    My issue is with the default state of FB’s revenue model – it pretty much drives people into fraudulent click farms. Yes, it’s possible to use Power Editor to properly target but this takes very significant effort. I’ve seen a $22 revenue for every $1 spent on FB (to a total of $100K) but boy does FB make it difficult. I defy any reasonable person to find a custom revenue/spend report in the ad interface – as opposed to all the BS vanity metrics shoved in your way. I suspect in a few years we’ll be looking back at what a swindle FB managed to pull over marketing budgets.

    At the end of the day, as long as marketing departments are tasked with spending budget rather than growing the business, this will continue.

  • gnir

    We get most all of our fans from Facebook “Like” ads. We spend about $4,000-$5,000 per month using the power editor, oCPM, etc. We have 243,000 fans broken down as follows: 222,566 US; 750 Mexico; 707 Australia; 686 Philippines; 579 Egypt 550 Sri Lanka; 500 Malaysia; 466 South Africa and 454 Puerto Rico. People engaged with our page: 49,167 US; 96 Egypt; 90 Australia; 68 UK; and the final 5 countries are 55 and below. [We target US only in all of our ads.]

    BTW, I have seen our Reach drop a lot per post in the last few weeks. Even on a post with over 1,000 Likes, 123 shares, 104 comments and 2.4K engagement, Facebook only sent the post to 28,000 fans… less than 12%.

  • Dasean Barnes

    Great post Jon, I totally agree with you. There is no point in targeting your ad world wide and if you are a marketer who does that’s your fault. I have a fan page and with proper targeting I have managed to get the cost per fan down to .10 per fan and only US targeted fans. But I also target my AD to users who I KNOW are interested in my content! Not a hope or a guess but I know!

  • matthias4332

    I am a big believer in Facebook ads, targeted and especially for promoting content. But I have to agree with some of the other commenters. Small businesses LOSE with Facebook ads.

    Your basic message here seems to be “buyer beware” and though that’s true and important, you have to remember that Facebook has made it incredibly easy to click the big “promote page” button. Can you image how many businesses have started a Facebook page and seen that little message that says “Click me to get your first 100 likes!” Can you image the excitement of seeing the page likes start to come in?

    I certainly can. I’ve seen my small business owning friends do it. I’ve done it myself. And after too many tries, I always see that the people that I’m “paying” for are spam bots — every status is a “share” of another post, thousands of pages liked, etc. I think you GREATLY underappreciate just how systemic this problem is for the non-professional marketer.

    I work with small businesses all the time and I cannot tell you how sad it is to see older business owners who just want to succeed 1) think they are getting exposure because of the increase in page likes but are 2) not getting any value and are in fact ruining their chance to reach the real people who have liked their page.

    All that to say, your primary defense of “this data is too old” really makes me ask the next question: Ok, it’s been two years — has this problem improved? In my recent experience, the answer is a definite no. The data isn’t too old. The data is fine. Sure, Facebook has added new functionality, but small businesses shouldn’t be unknowingly dumping their hard earned money down the drain.

  • http://get10000fans.com Brian Moran

    Spot on Jon. My results are virtually identical to yours. If you’re smart with targeting, you’ll get results. If you’re not, you won’t.

    • Lynn O’Connell

      Agree about the targeting! It’s always been the smart marketer’s secret sauce, online and off.

  • http://www.agencyplatform.com/ Dave Thompson

    I never agree that Facebook Ads are just a waste of investment. We know that something popular always get mixed reactions and it is an individual perception to be considered here. I would like to take the video and the points against Facebook Ads in such sense. I am sure that many people are taking advantage from Facebook Ads and running it successfully for years. But just running Facebook Ads without any targets or goals won’t get you the best results, it can be only achieved by focusing on your target audience and researching what will work best for your industry.

  • http://www.digitalks.me/ Mohit Jain

    Jon great response to the video! I completely agree with your opinion and would like to add something to it. In the video at 2:01 he is highlighting that Facebook has deleted a very large number of Facebook accounts that resulted in a noticeable drop in many pages. Adding to same point, I work with few large pages in Middle East which are over 1m Likes. Egypt is a key target market which we can’t avoid. Whenever we have a large Ad spend even after tight targeting it is impossible to avoid attracting such click farms because these Fake users have created these profiles with all sorts of demographics and they make all of them look legit. As a result when the advertising spend is stopped we always notice a substantial increase in ‘dislikes’ that continues for few weeks if not months. I think that this happens because Facebook is running an always-on engine to delete these Fake accounts which is great but what about the money that was spent to acquire/engage those Fans which Facebook itself deleted from their platform? We are talking about Thousands of Dollars here and if you account all this money than it does impact the ROI of the campaign. The other part of the story is when you run Giveaway promotions and you have received hundreds of entries in your competition from these non-legit Fans and their is no easy way to identify them. We need to implement additional measures to identify fake Fans which increases our development costs. So you see the impact is not just limited to only Facebook – it effects the entire ecosystem. If Facebook has its own mechanisms to identify & delete Fake Facebook Users then they should credit back the money that was spent by any advertiser to attract/engage that fan. Google doesn’t charge an advertiser for any fake clicks and I think Facebook should do same. It is not the question of the power of Facebook advertising but it is about the Facebook being legit in what they are selling to their advertisers.

    • Craig Cameron

      This is why you should take the time to target your audience using the graph search and tools like data reach can help you understand your audience better. I would never use Facebooks built in targeting again. There are so many tools available so you don’t have to.

      • http://www.digitalks.me/ Mohit Jain

        Hi Craig thanks for the tip but certainly not using Facebook built in targeting.

  • Carlin Stanton

    Eloquent response, Jon. That was a disturbing video. Now I realize what he was talking about would be like putting a Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus billboard up in the poorest region in the country.

  • Reid Rosefelt

    Is there a way to delete obvious fakes nowadays? Because when I saw them I always notified Facebook but they never took a single one of them down. I can remove anybody I don’t want to follow me from Pinterest and Google+ easily, and can get rid of undesirable Twitter followers using Tweepi. Has this been changed?

  • harddica

    Hey, eu também sou brasileiro e vou falar na minha língua nativa quem quiser entender traduza, bom eu vi seu artigo e confesso que por alguns minutos pensei em desistir do facebook ads, porém com a sua explicação detalhada percebi que é preciso seguimentar ao máximo os anúncios para não ocorrer o problema de likes de pessoas indesejáveis, quanto a audiência brasileira em seus blogs e projetos, existem muitos brasileiros e eu me incluo aqui, que precisam de conteúdo de qualidade sobre marketing e mídias sociais, o problema é que no Brasil são poucas as pessoas que ensinam sobre isso e o mercado brasileiro é um grande campo aberto para que americanos possam ganhar dinheiro trazendo inovação e ensino de qualidade nessa área…

    Meu nome é Rodrigo Porto
    Sou Blogueiro Profissional e empreededor Digital

  • prowebinternet

    In my tests I see Facebook are doing things right and it is hard to solve for them because I think the people from those countries see the ads because they are using a proxy and have US or Canadian ips.

    I did advertising to latin american countries (I’m from Argentina and my business targets them) and had a very good results, just less than 10 “strange followers” in more than 4200 fans.

  • Paul

    A quick drop in from someone from Thailand. I am one of your audience from Thailand, and yes, we do see your ads. However, considering that less than 10% of the population are fluent in English (Yes, we are a country known for good English, but there are still many that do not understand English at all) and even less percentage of those are interested in Facebook Marketing or Internet Marketing, I can already see why the engagement number are just ridiculously low.

    My hypothesis on why people still click your ads and like your page? They want to see infographics and read stuff, regardless whether or not they understand it, and that’s all they do. I certainly fall into one of them. If you didn’t mention Thailand in this article, I would just keep quiet as well.

    But yeah, I am a facebook marketer and I do believe that facebook ads DO drive REAL people that DO engage in page posts, although a very few amount (even though Thailand is known to have the most facebook run-time among its users).

  • Michelle

    I am a Canadian photographer and run a very successful Facebook page with a very high level of engagement. I do so well because of people like you Jon, Post Planner, Shortstack etc…I read and research and when I think I have had read enough – I read more! I have had great success with Facebook ads. Sure a few hick ups here and there but I target my ads so diligently that I have found the engagement with those ‘likes’ to be very solid. You NAILED it when you talked about email lists etc…the real challenge is capturing those people and converting them to an audience that you can market to = outside of Facebook. Thanks for writing such a thorough response. I will continue to buys ads, target well and convert my ‘likes’ through engaging contests etc…

  • http://awesci.com/ AweSci

    I agree with the video because I’ve tried advertising for my page. Although I got several likes in just 20 minutes, that was all I got. There was never any sort of engagement ever from the people who liked it. Secondly, I also think that Facebook has some way to limit any more likes after your campaign has finished. After the campaign I saw no viral likes whatsoever. And let me tell you, the page is very interesting (I don’t say that, several other people send me mails about my website)

  • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

    The problem with this video is it’s not detailed enough about how he targeted IMHO. It’s a well done video that causes the viewer to believe everything that is said. If it was just a dude on his laptop webcam bitching about Facebook Ads no one would care. But he’s obviously an actor or trained speaker and does a great job of editing a video to prove absolutely nothing.

    If you target junk countries you’ll get junk results.

    His Virtual Cat example is BS too. He makes 1 post on February 7th not related to cats and gripes about no engagement? Of course you got no engagement as the post wasn’t about cats, which is what he targeted in his ads. I have a Fans of Bigfoot page that I targeted at people who like bigfoot, sasquatch, Finding Bigfoot and etc. If I were to go on there and post “Hey this page is an experiment of Post Planner, please comment if you see this post” I’d likely get no comments and realistically get unlikes and negative feedback.

    So his “test” is crap…

    And of course now his page has 3200 Likes and he’ll use it to drive traffic to his YouTube channel and website.. He’s just a crafty marketer gaming the system and everyone is falling for it…

    • Claire Chesneau

      Interesting viewpoint!

      • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

        If he had run a campaign and spent even $100 and showed us the exact results of the Likes from that I’d put more stock into what he’s saying. But he didn’t share that for a reason.. He’s hiding that.

        • Lou Lou

          If he was a journo doing an exposé for 60 Minutes, then yeah, maybe he should’ve put a bit more grunt and dollars into it. But he isn’t… and yet he still produced a solid investigative report (all off his own bat, to boot).

          (And dissing the integrity and motivations of the messenger does not invalidate the worrying observations. _And also_, if nerdy geeks like Dereck Muller/Veritasium were as collusive and self-affirming conspirators as you suggest, well… me, he, Hank Green, and every electrical engineer I ever met would be ruling the world by now.)

          • Vincent Vizachero

            Journalists do extensive fact-checking for a reason: it’s the only way to make sure your facts are, you know, right.

            A “solid investigative report” that is wrong is not what I’d call “solid”.

          • Lou Lou

            I’ve seen a lot of grizzling that Derek did it wrong and/or he didn’t go deep enough, but nothing to expose his story as incorrect. Add to that: he’s not a professional journalist, _and_ he still pumped out a story at least as good as the bell-curve standard of 60 Minutes… so what’s your real beef with the video?

          • Vincent Vizachero

            You should read the post that a guy named Jon Loomer just wrote about this that explains how Derek got it wrong. I’ll try to find the link for you.

          • Lou Lou

            Snap and burn. Let’s assume I’m the moron you want me to be, and you walk me through Jon’s post, step by step. Simple like, so a iggerant fool like me has a chance to keep up.

          • Vincent Vizachero

            But in all seriousness, the video amounts to Derek using several examples of people with no marketing experience using a self-serve tool intentionally badly, then concluding that “advertising your page on Facebook is a waste of money.” Period.

            Advertising is always a waste of money if you do it badly. So, don’t do it badly.

          • Lou Lou

            Okay. I don’t see any evidence that Dereck used any system “intentionally badly”, so I don’t wan’t to go there today. But I hope we can still have a discussion: FB’s self-serve interface presents itself as a universal tool for customers (come one, come all). But it doesn’t encourage inexperienced users to seek third-party professional support, so… to my mind that suggests two options:

            i. FB thinks it’s system is appropriate for all its users/customers. (But we seem to agree that is wrong, or there’d be no ymmv-based-on-user-experience comments.); or
            ii. FB knows that it’s system requires expertise to navigate successfully, nonetheless it doesn’t disclaim or disclose that to customers (and I subsequently think, seeing as FB is a professional outfit, what are the odds this feature is accidentally negligent in sweeping up noob customers?)

            If you think FB’s system is aimed at professional or expert users, then why are noobs being caught in the net? (There’s a clue there: are noobs really being sucked into the net? How do you tell? Beyond one noob’s subjextive report and one professional consultant’s subjective report, what info is available to inspect/investigate? What proportion of customers do get increased engagement after ponying up? What are the markers of success (especially, what are the customer markers of success, if different?)? etc?

            And if it _is_ a case of ymmv, wouldn’t you prefer to be defending a commercial entity ithat went out of its way to make sure noob customers were handled appropriately instead of being hoovered of their wallet contents? I want to end neutrally, but it’s hard to get past the dominant counter-argument, which sounds something like: “Facebook – caveat emptor biatch”. Tell me it ain’t so, please?

          • Vincent Vizachero

            This is a fact: every advertising and marketing channel in the world (newspaper, magazine, radio station, billboard company, you name it) promotes the fact that it sells ad space.

            We don’t insist that they keep people from running ineffective ads, and I don’t see why we should think that Facebook is unique in this regard.

            I am (a very little bit) sympathetic to people who buy things (like ad space) without a good plan for maximizing the ROI but that sympathy only goes so far.

            Fang Media had it right, I think, when they said that this story would be different if Derek had admitted that he made a terrible purchase and offered advice to others for avoiding that same mistake. Derek, instead, played the “blame game” card, and I’m calling BS on it.

            People should not even be administering Facebook pages, in my mind, if they don’t have the marketing savvy to do it right. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be allowed to, but that they should know better. Or know that they in for a rocky education.

            Derek didn’t know better, and he got burned.

          • Name

            Facebook’s PR in full force..

          • Leah

            Remember, tho, This isn’t *just* about running ineffective ads, this is also about how Facebook is not showing posts to all of the people who originally liked the person’s page once those ads are run.
            Here’s a parallel: If you pay to advertize for an email newsletter, and people sign up (or don’t) for the newsletter in response to your ad, at least everyone who signed up for the newsletter still actually receives it. Bad ad campaign or not, it doesn’t prevent people on your original mailing list from receiving your newsletters. That’s part of the allegation against fb.
            Between Derek’s video and some personal experiences in the comments on this page (Adrienne, Lori, and Stefan to name a few.), people are saying that their original followers are not receiving the posts they used to see before all the “fake likes” rolled in.
            It seems that Facebook – at the very least – is guilty of misleading users by stating (or insinuating) that “more likes=more exposure” when that just isn’t the case. It’s quite possible this whole thing wouldn’t be such a big deal if fb delivered *all* the content to *all* the people who liked the pages regardless of the amount of activity each post received.
            Also, See Carrie Bugbee’s comment towards the begining of comments thread. She also has a very good point that tracks with what I just said.
            so, there’s my 2 cents.

    • Lou Lou

      I think Derek’s “test” is a perfect example of how ordinary mortals handle the front-end of Facebook as presented to them. If it’s crap, it’s because it’s a result experienced by an ordinary user. The problem with Jon’s blog post is he uses his own success as a counterpoint case study for debating Derek’s video, and Jon’s success comes from his professional knowledge as a consultant for FB commercial optimisation. You’d sack Jon if he didn’t get good results. Where are the success stories for non-profits, or small business, or volunteer groups that _have not_ paid consultants or professionals to help them get it right?

      • jvibe

        I posted above, but I just want to throw my voice in, that as a small business owner with no consultant, I am seeing success with fb ads. I did put a lot of thought into my ads, and to my conversion mechanism, but I’m no expert. I’m very enthusiastic about fb ads.

  • Henri Deschamps

    With all due respect and deference to Jon Loomer. In theory very nice, If FaceBook ads were only sold to or through experts who know the minutia and expert use no problem, the fact is if you have a FB page you are spammed every second and at every click by FB to produce an ad, and for 99.9% of the people who do, it is a useless waste of money and a bit of a scam for my taste. This on an ever changing quicksand like platform where rules, results and policies as relate to the customer change weekly. These things do not happen in a vacuum and as such FB ads have joined Ponzy territory in practical fact, in the real world, for the majority of those folks who use them. It’s as if you filled your gas tank with 10 gallons but 9.9 gallons evaporated in a few moments, each and every time out. In my opinion, to use a web 1.0 term, it is a close cousin of “Vaporware” that sells, while never quite producing anything of tangible value for the masses :-) I may well be one, but after having spent mid 5 figures on FB ads over the years, only to see my 40+ pages with 350k fans-likes evaporate the last year of so, I no longer trust that company to deliver its clients what it sells.

    • Lou Covey

      I disagree, Henri. You don’t have to hire experts to do it. Part of my business is teaching clients how to better use the technology because it is easy, but it requires some thought and effort. People want Facebook and all other social media to be a magic button, but it isn’t. Social requires relationship and if you aren’t ready to put in the time to build the relationship, go back to advertising in the yellow pages. ;)

      • Henri Deschamps

        I for one have left the yellow pages and horse and buggy days behind since quite a while, and am a tech and communications pro and semi-expert practitioner in each of the social media: FB, G+, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn and each has it’s plusses and minuses. I also own a mid-sized business and use those tools and platforms for same. And as stated have been using FB ads from day one and have spent a pretty penny, some things worked some things didn’t. Have seen FB and ads evolve and used just about every approach and feature over the years. I have not seen any survey results on what % and how satisfied producers and consumers are with the ad product but I can certainly speak for myself and have. On why you would imagine I need to hear “Social requires relationship and if you aren’t ready to put in the time to build the relationship, go back to advertising in the yellow pages.” I’ll take a pass. What I do believe very clearly is what I wrote. Short of being quite astute most people will find the results a waste of money.

        • Lou Covey

          Henri, should have specified “you” was generic, not specific. The people spamming others on FB are not using the platform properly or effectively. Those who take the time and effort to do it properly see great results. The best example is between Ford and GM. GM ran a very ineffective campaign and pulled their investment in FB advertising thinking it was the medium at fault. Ford ran a very effective campaign and doubled down. GM has very smart people running their marketing, but they didn’t put in the effort to learn how to use Facebook. I have helped small business owners triple sales in six months using free Facebook features. Doesn’t take an expert. Just time and understanding.

          • Lynn O’Connell

            If it doesn’t take an expert, why do the small business owners need to hire you to help them triple sales? I have absolutely nothing against consultants, but Facebook is ACTIVELY selling the myth that you can get results with the click of a button. That’s on them.

          • jvibe

            I know I’m late to this conversation, and that I’m only offering anecdotal evidence, but I’m a small business owner who just jumped into Facebook advertising about a month ago. I’ve read a little online, including Loomer’s blog, but otherwise was coming at this pretty naive. Using only Facebook’s ad tools (not even power editor) I was able to set up targeted ads that are driving fb users to my email list, and then to sales. I’ve only spent $500 in fb ads and it’s generated over$1000 in sales. I was basically just experimenting to see if it was worth putting real effort into. I have my answer and will work toward optimizing and dramatically increasing my spend. I feel like facebook gives me am opportunity to reach potential customers I couldn’t reach in any other way (my audience doesn’t know they need to search for my product).

            I’m not trying for page likes, so maybe I’m not prone to the same issues this video was talking about, but I just wanted to throw in my two cents, since you all seem to think the ads are worthless, our that it takes am expert to succeed (and I’m certainly not that).

    • http://www.budgetvideo4.biz/ BudgetVideo4BIZ

      but after having spent mid 5 figures on FB ads over the years, only to see my 40+ pages with 350k fans-likes evaporate the last year of so, I no longer trust that company to deliver its clients what it sells.

      Nice to see a real industry leader share REAL numbers

    • Melissa Styles

      I believe there is an element of fraud involved with Facebook and their advertising model. Firstly, they claim to have over 1.3B users but as we know there are probably 30 -40 % fake users on FB. IN fact, I know some regular users in the Animal Rights sector who have up to 50 profiles. Facebook ARE aware of the number of fake users and in my opinion are offering advertisers statistics that are dishonest at best.

      Now, moving on. I have recently set up a Test Video ad campaign on FB. According to the ad stats provided by FB, this has generated 203 Video Views at a cost 0.04c per view. However, when I pop over to You Tube and check the view stats of the video it shows a whopping total of only 74 vies of which 70 were there before I launched the video ad campaign on Facebook.

      Now, anyone can see that there is something seriously wrong here.

      • Art

        Melissa you can’t really compare a video view post ad on Facebook to youtube. Those are two different things, at the same time you didn’t provide any details. What and who were you targeting on FB, and what tags were you using on youtube?

  • Arielle

    I am confused by the “Talking about This” section – This includes the countries we advertise to (including Thailand and India), but nothing is shown to discriminate between “likes” and “engagement.” Of course we are getting the likes from those countries, but what’s relevant is the engagement part. HELP! This is all very confusing!

  • Michelle Pescosolido

    Well done….thanks for taking time to post this.

  • kgal1298

    In the mean time can you honestly say you got no fake clicks with a Google Ad unless you did much better targeting with them? Because he’s using that as argument as well, but I find with Google you’re not going to be able to tell what is fake and real because no matter how good you are at targeting on Google your ROI is still going to be a percentage of those clicks. What bothers me is the lack of research shown in the video. It’s like here are some graphs believe me because GRAPHS.

  • http://renegadecinema.com/ Shawn S. Lealos

    What about the concern in the video that too many clickfarm likes will make posts less likely to be seen? Is that a real concern since Facebook limits who sees posts for those who dont pay a lot?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      If your fan base is built on click farms (or buying likes), a small percentage of your fans will engage. This sends Facebook the signal that your content is boring and will show it to fewer people. It’s why proper targeting is so important.

      • http://renegadecinema.com/ Shawn S. Lealos

        I noticed that having people *Like* a Facebook page using a contest (such as a Blu-ray or book giveaway) causes a lot of likes by people whose only interaction is entering contests. Is it a good idea to weed those people out after contests or just not do it at all anymore?

        • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

          It’s a good idea not to run contests like that and instead focus on offering prizes that appeal to your target audience — most sense is giving away your own products/services.

      • http://renegadecinema.com/ Shawn S. Lealos

        BTW, great blog. I just discovered you through this topic and started following in my RSS reader. Look forward to more.

      • sidster

        Is there any actual evidence for this theory that FB tests a post to a small number of people first and then increases reach if they respond well? Or is it, like so much else in the video, a conclusory statement? I’m not asking for anecdotal evidence. I’m asking for a definitive statement by FB or real scientific evidence.

        • Jenny Jerome Urbano

          Check out Edgerank, it’s how FB factors where your post is displayed in the feed. http://www.whatisedgerank.com/

          • sidster

            I know what Edgeranks is. The link is totally irrelevant to my question.

            P.S. Edgerank is way less relevant than FB would like you to think. I do this experiment sometimes and it’s eyeopening: I manage roughly 20 pages but about 7 I rarely touch anymore because they’re not worth the ROI. However, once in a while I’ll post something on those pages after weeks if not months of me not posting on there. And guess what? Reach will be 30% of my fanbase for that one post. Now, for my bread and butter pages, which have very high engagement and me posting engaging stuff all the time on them (a mix of memes, questions, articles, etc.), I’ll post something every similar but relevant to that page’s audience and my reach to my own fans will be at tops about 20%, but more in the 15% area. So what happened? Why would the reach be so much lower consistently on pages that have engaged fans, lots of content daily, and so on? Beats me. But there it is. Edgerank? I roll my eyes.

  • Kevin Hutto

    A lot of it depends on your fb page too… I own a golf course and our page means a lot to our business. We spend a lot to get a like because each like is a real person that lives within 30 minutes of our course. I would rather only have a few thousand likes for our page because they are real people for sure. We are able to run our specials and ads on our page rather than in the newspaper at $300 a week. That is where the ROI on a like is really…

  • Conscious

    A LIKE is not an ‘ad’. Buying LIKES is different from buying ads for LIKES and buying ads that are ‘real’ ads to sell something or lead to people to a website or Youtube away from Facebook. Changing the language. We move away from the ethics. Oh well.

  • sidster

    The guy in the video needs to learn the scientific method. He knows what he is doing from a marketing perspective, as is evident by how he structures the video and chooses the tone to make his Youtube vid more marketable. That works on sheep with no critical thinking skills. But for the rest of us, it’s obvious that he hasn’t done his homework and is merely being conclusory to convince people of something rather than actually seeking out the truth through rigorous analysis.

  • AMLazzara

    Good and valuable insight all the way around no question. I am a big fan of the value that you provide Jon but I am not surprised to see you take the stance you took. I wouldn’t suspect that you would completely agree with it because it fundamentally undercuts the value your clients are paying you for. If now you tell people that FB ads suck and do not work then you are going to have a lot of pissed off clients. I feel this post is biased and in defense to what you sell your customers.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      While it may not be surprising that I took the stand I did, I do what I do because the stuff works. If at any point I saw it didn’t work, I’d stop doing it and find a different path. That’s the beauty of being your own boss and not having to sell the wares of a product you don’t believe in.

      • AMLazzara

        I appreciate the reply Jon it says a lot about your integrity. I value the work and insight you give your followers but thought I would challenge you a bit on this. The last section of your post couldn’t be more spot on, keep doing your thing man.

    • James

      Agreed. Would be interested to know how much revenue you get from FB affiliate work. Give a client their free $50 in ads, rake in loot, much?

  • Adrienne

    personal experience has been that after the Facebook “crash” (meaning
    the big facebook algorithms change in December)
    we saw a huge drop in our likes and engagement. It was a big disappointment because previously, our organic reach was going through
    the roof – we were literally receiving over 1,000 new likes per week and
    massive engagement totally organically without pay. Then after a few weeks of almost nothing from our
    page AFTER the big change in December, I decided to purchase Facebook
    likes … immediately I noticed all of my likes coming from Indonesia.
    ALL of them. Then, no fan engagement after I had purchased likes. So,
    the last 2-3 times that I bought fan likes I specified where I wanted my
    new fans to come from – I got VERY specific … customizing my audience. I got more likes but
    even LESS engagement. The engagement on our page is still very low. I have fans on my page writing me all the time saying “I miss your posts” … “I wish I could see more of your posts”. I have to remind our fans to like our posts more often to continue to see them but I continue to get feedback saying they do not see our posts that often.

    even noticed on a page on facebook that I have sorta been following, that has received TONS of likes yet it has
    literally almost no engagement – yet they are getting over 3,000 new
    likes a week. But no one is commenting on their posts lol. Look closely
    and you will see the truth. FB is scamming us.

  • http://www.39celsius.com/ Toby Danylchuk

    The guy in the video did another lame weak argument YouTube video against Facebook here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9ZqXlHl65g,
    where in essence all he does is point out the problems with Facebook for everyday users and the problem with FB curating your content — it’s a pretty illogical argument that won’t make sense to anyone that thinks a little about what he’s saying. I don’t know what’s up with this guy, but he must be a trader and is shorting the stock and trying desperately to influence people.

    • Rick Stephens

      This video is an absolute embarrassment.
      1. The data is from 2012
      2. It’s based on 2 “tests” spending a total of $125

      All of it is statistically irrelevant. That fact that some of you call your selves marketers and social media experts and take this video seriously really makes me wonder how much of an “expert” you are.

      Jon is 100% correct on his take on the video.

      • http://www.39celsius.com/ Toby Danylchuk

        Since your reply was to my post, I assume you read my comments on it and your comments are targeted to others? The reality is it didn’t deserve even a blog post about it because it’s a baseless weak argument.

  • Andrew Krebs-Smith

    Hey Jon. Great post – you’ve accurately described the reactions of many in our industry upon viewing the video. I think another point worth making is that in the “Virtual Cat” experiment, he chose the most popular icon of the internet: the cat. If he wanted to create a truly meaningless page, he should have chosen lima beans. But the obvious fact is that cats are popular online, and people who love cats love them enough to love just about any pages that are related. Furthermore I thought his description of that page could be interpreted as snarky and sarcastic – again, big wins when you are talking about a large portion of the internet population (especially those on Facebook).

    Overall, I’m glad he went through the effort to tell a compelling story. However I’m much more glad that you’ve gone through the trouble to frame the story in the appropriate context.

    • JCozz

      Andrew Krebs-Smith, I felt the very same way with the ‘Virtual Cat’ experiment. I don’t like cats much, but his snarky, sarcastic demeanor almost made me hit the ‘like’ button, just because it appealed to that twisted side of me. Lima Beans would have been a much better choice to prove his ‘meaningless page’ theory.

    • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

      Exactly Andrew.. His results are skewed and he knows it..

  • Shelly Hays Cole

    It’s a cautionary TALE. (just sayin’.)

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Oh man. I’m a big spelling/grammar nerd, too. Fixed. Thanks!

      • Shelly Hays Cole


  • James Brant

    Come on virtual cat is bound to get senseless likes, it’s got a cat in it. That’s like facebook porn :)

    • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres


  • http://www.keshkesh.com/ Takeshi Young

    Thanks for sharing this well though-out response. Too many people out there spreading sensational half-truths without doing any fact-checking.

  • Guest

    Well….there go 9 minutes of my life that I will never have back… Great post as usual Jon, only thing I don’t like / agree with is you sharing that video too: it makes it only more viral.

    I am so tired of arguing with people about the benefits of advertising on Facebook, and they keep using the same stupid arguments: ‘why I need to pay to make my content reach all my audience?’ or ‘If I paid for those likes, why I need to pay again to show my content to those followers?’ and many others.

    Too many questions that have one unique answer: pure and basic marketing!

    Anyway, I prefer not to keep talking because I don’t want to hijack your comments – I’m already annoying enough on your blog – but.. thank you for your article and more importantly: your documented arguments.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Well, I know my audience is sophisticated enough to view it in the right light!

      And no way are you annoying, Antonio. Keep commenting!

    • Ashley Carlton

      I think the question of, “Why do I need to pay to show my content to followers who already chose to see it?” is still a valid question. And I also wonder why Facebook doesn’t offer businesses, organizations, and perhaps even individuals the option to pay a flat monthly fee, based on the number of their followers, that throws the damn algorithm out the window and puts all posts of the paying business in the news feeds of all of its followers. If the brand spams or puts out weak content, the followers will unfollow. Allow natural selection, and hey, maybe make more money, too, Facebook.

      • http://www.antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

        Prior to asking that question, you should ask “Why did my current followers Liked my Page in the first place?”

        Perhaps they did it only because a friend asked them to do it, or maybe your content at that time was more interesting than what it’s now.

        And…have you considered those users that are not connected when you publish your messages? If you publish a daily post but they connect only once a week, why they should be forced to see 7 consecutive posts from your Page? (not to mention all the other Pages they follow)

        What EdgeRank does is right that: natural selection. I bet that if Jon stopped his advertising campaigns, I’d keep receiving his content – even if I don’t generally Like, Comment or Share. Why? Because I’m a highly engaged follower… This actually happens to me with other pages I follow that do not pay for ads…

      • Lou Lou

        In support of that question: there was a small discussion over at YT that stuck with me, around the example of one scout group. The group said they only use FB to communicate scouting info with parents, and the parents added the group’s feed to their FB accounts. But the scout group doesn’t surf the FB selective distribution algorithm, while the parents are generally under the impression they’ll get the content feed they clicked up for, they’re mostly unaware they have no such surety unless they manually modify their settings (and they have no systematic way to be alerted by the absence of a subscribed feed item), the burden of teaching about the settings falls back on the scout group, and there is no way for the scout group to tell which parents have changed their settings.

        I’m not a savvy fb user, but is this a realistic experience?

        • http://www.antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

          Lou Lou: it’s very easy to read all the content from a Page or group: just go into that Page’s Timeline.

          Relying on Facebook to receive the news on your personal News Feed is a risk – because of all the things we’re discussing here) but there are several ways – all very easy – to receive all content.

    • samsundar

      I guess your North Korean approach to any criticism of Facebook makes you the tyrant of marketers. As a Facebook advertiser vertisim has the right to air his concerns. If you do not like that and it is making your job of earning money as marketer difficult then it goes to show that many people out there have issues with FB advertising. So come to grip with that Punk.

      • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

        You are free to disagree with people, Sam, but you are not free to be a troll in these comments. Antonio said nothing that deserved your aggressive response.

  • moonmist

    What? He never said FB ad’s didn’t work. It’s an entire different market between facebook ads and promoting your page.

  • http://SportsGeek.com.au Sean Callanan

    Thanks Jon, great review and applicable common sense. We’ve seen pages especially around Cricket which is popular in India see a massive spike in fans that could be in click farms but if you are targetting the right fans Facebook ads have been very successful in building audience and selling tickets in sports space.

  • Matt Giovanisci

    When I saw the original video, it totally addressed the issues I was going through. In November, we ran a heavy facebook marketing campaign targeted at young males in the US who drink beer. We got a crazy amount of likes, and have since been promoting content on our page.

    I’ve noticed that our engagement went down significantly. While I’ll admit that we picked up some real folks, I’d argue that a majority of our likes were BS. Mainly, people who like pages to maybe get free stuff or perhaps a click farm.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      The problem is that your starting point is SOOOO broad! Young males in the US who drink beer? Man, I didn’t know many young males when I was growing up who didn’t drink beer. I’m also not quite sure how you would’ve targeted that.

      Did you have a customer list? Did you target that? Do you have a website? Do you get traffic? You should target people who visit it. Those are by far the best places to start, then move out from there.

  • http://about.me/ajarn Ajarn Donald

    Thanks for sharing this info Jon.

  • http://rainmakerclicks.com/ Mary Sloane

    Hey Jon I share your viewpoint and perhaps I am even hopeful that is is not really so bad. I get fans and create a lot of engagement from fans I got through FB advertising This video is a bit more troubling, not only because it is an article by Business Insider but it is also a tech who really does some digging. I’d love your comments as per above http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-accused-of-click-fraud-by-advertiser-2012-7

  • Mark Able Jones

    I’ve noticed problems witth targeted engagement (website clicks), too. Say I set up an ad with the goal of website clicks and pay by click at first to gauge my CTR. If my ad has a high CTR, I should be able to change to CPM and capitalize on the quality of my ad–but it doesn’t work that way. Facebook changes the algorithm based on the payment method, even though the goal of my ad doesn’t change, preventing efficient low-cost advertising. Seems purposefully deceptive.

    And funny you mention targeting … Facebook could certainly allow advertisers to target by combining unlimited “and” search terms, making ads even more efficient. But Facebook doesn’t, because it’s better for their pocketbook if ads are inefficient.

  • Mike

    BOOM. Thanks for providing this. Shortcuts in all forms of digital media result in a ton of “clicks” (maybe) and no results.

  • Cait

    Thank you for posting this, Jon. Loved the audio portion of the post. Great to listen while I was making dinner! 100% agree with everything you said and am honestly fed up with other people (particularly my fellow marketers) perpetuating these claims that facebook is purposefully ripping them off.
    I’ve been marketing on facebook since 2011 and have definitely experienced the range of it all. I’ve had ups and downs with pages–that’s the nature of the beast. I’ve had to readjust my strategy when I’ve seen dips or higher costs and have seen positive results. I’ve had clients who insisted on purchasing fake likes and I’ve had clients willing to put in the spend and time to target quality fans. I firmly believe and can attest to the fact that if your content is relevant, timely, and interesting to the fans you want, you WILL have success. It just takes time, patience and spend (doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank).
    It’s not facebook’s job to hold our hands as marketers. If you don’t understand the tools, go out and research it! Ask for help. We are not entitled to be told this is exactly how you get this many fans or purchases. That’s simply not how business works. I went out and learned through trial & error, classes, webinars, blog posts from marketers like you, mentors (the list goes on) how to effectively run facebook ad campaigns. It took me over 2 years to really get a solid grasp on it, but I feel confident in my abilities thanks to the resources available (thank you, internet).
    Case in point: I recently ran US only targeted ads to build up a fan base for a gaming startup/app (only had 200 fans, mostly friends/family/investors) for 2 months at the end of 2013 and got to about 11K at a cost of under 20 cents per fan. During that time we studied what our target customers liked, shared, interacted with, etc. and posted content we believed they would find interesting. The engagement gradually grew and now we’re seeing massive spikes on a regular basis (no ad spend on promoting posts). Additionally, after our first major/viral post we’ve been averaging between 150-200 organic likes a day for the last two months and counting. Over 50% of our web traffic is from Facebook alone (~37% is mobile) and 90% of our app users were acquired via facebook app install ads/directly from our facebook page. Certainly seems like success to me!
    People have to understand and accept (as much as it sucks) that it’s always going to ebb and flow, you just have to be persistent and flexible. I continue to carefully monitor and nurture my clients pages and can honestly say I haven’t seen any of these reported major declines.
    There are no shortcuts with social media if quality is your ultimate goal. It’s YOUR job to understand and engage your customer, not facebook’s. Period.
    Thanks for the rocking blog post! You explained what I wanted to far more eloquently/succinctly than I could have. :)

  • emanueledc

    Very well written, I totally agree with your conclusions

  • adam acar

    This is another experiment that shows some other problems with Facebook’s ad delivery system. It is not from 2012. http://adamacar.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/is-facebook-telling-the-truth/

  • http://twitter.com/brucewarila Bruce Warila

    Someone help me out. It’s undeniable that clickfarms are part of the problem. I get the clickfarm incentive in search advertising. However, where is the clickfarm incentive coming from in regards to irregular FB likes and FB ads? Who’s paying the clickfarms in the FB like/ad ecosystem?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Companies whose business it is to sell likes.

      • http://twitter.com/brucewarila Bruce Warila

        The advertiser is paying Facebook, and Facebook is paying the clickfarms?

        • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

          No, Facebook isn’t paying anyone.

          • http://twitter.com/brucewarila Bruce Warila

            Are you sure? I have been watching this feed over the last couple of days.. https://twitter.com/search?q=%20Veritasium&src=typd there’s a LOT of people wondering where the Likes are coming from. Who’s paying who? If the advertisers aren’t paying for “useless” likes, then who is?

  • Orlee Berlove

    Listened to the podcast. You mentioned ‘like farms’ during the podcast. I am wondering how do you determine if your Facebook fans are fans who ‘like’ a thousand pages or are really true fans?

  • jeffespo

    These are all great points Jon. Another underscore that I think is missed in both of his videos is that he’s sour that the way Facebook is set up. With YouTube, he is a content producer and paid for views and ad overlays, click etc. The one thing he glosses over is that Facebook is not part of Google’s network.On Facebook he is not an individual and runs a brand page like a company. So he’s bound to the rules that companies are. That is a simple fact that he glosses over and the masses quickly jump on and say SEE SEEE he used science – albeit flawed. He also forgets to mention that ads to drive people off-platform are ads, but he won’t upload to FB for video as there is not a revenue stream like Google on FB. Like your charts I can agree that #s don’t lie and those jumping on the anti-ad game have only themselves to blame for an inability to track ROI or do targeting correct.

    • samsundar

      OK so if his video is not scientific enough for you can you produce a highly scientific video proving FB advertising works

      • jeffespo

        @samsundar:disqus I work for a public company, we don’t share results of individual marketing channels. However will note that we are a very direct response-driven company and spend where it works. While all platforms are flawed, the Veritum videos glance over the facts of his test and how he didn’t use targeting. If you are doing like-only campaigns and not acquiring people who will engage with your content, you will see the results he did. In terms of some additional insight into his test, check out this article with responses from Facebook addressing his claims ~ http://www.shiftcomm.com/2014/02/facebook-like-fraud/

  • Michelle

    Hi Jon,
    Thanks for your post.
    What are your thoughts on using tools that focus on organic reach vs. paid reach? The marketing tools I’m thinking of include Crowdly, Klout, and Splashscore.
    Especially with this type of talk floating around saying that paid ads are ineffective…

  • http://www.dakinassociates.com/ Shaun Dakin

    Great piece. Thank you.

  • http://www.windycityparrot.com WindyCityParrot

    Facebook metrics are so convoluted and inaccurate I’ve stopped paying attention – in that Facebook has zero transparency is not helpful. We’re in a situation now where we are increasing fans organically 20% faster than we were 6 months ago but seeing a 14% decrease in reach – in the real world those two metrics could not exist simultaneously, the new fans should cancel the reach reduction and should improve reach but Facebook’s math is 3 + 3 = 7.1234903484823 because they take into consideration 100,000 factors when determining to show me what my friends had for dinner – how much error could there possibly be when factoring in 100,000 signals to 1,000,000,000 fans? By god this is the 21st century – the formula has to be accurate it was all done with computers – right? Just because you can steer a boat doesn’t mean you can steer an ocean liner

  • Ed Castillo

    Yes, the audio version is something I find helpful! http://schedule.sxsw.com/2014/events/event_IAP22773

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Thanks, Ed!

  • Sigrun

    Liked to listen to the audio while working on images, thank you!

  • http://www.about.me/nayduarte Nayara Duarte

    “And what’s the deal with Brazil? Doesn’t this partly prove the point of the video?”

    Well, I’m brazilian and probably part of the problem. I visit the blog quite frequently and like the FB Page, but I’m not used to comment anyway. I’m quite new in this FB Ads business and it’s all about learning and getting to know the new possibilities everyday. It all evolves really fast.

    I’m lucky to work with online retail, so my job is not really focused on growing pages, but in selling. And I had some great results in the past months, so I do have some good evidences that FB Ads can really work! =)

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Thanks for representing Brazil with a great comment, Nayara!

  • http://www.jeremyestes.com/ Jeremy Estes

    I just found my new favorite blog.

    There are a lot of affiliate marketers in your top 5 countries that HAVE to be eating this stuff up. Well done with the podcast version too. I was on my mobile and besides being a little hard to hit play, the audio is what kept me here.

    Man…. your COMMENT section is fkn awesome. lol

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Thanks Jeremy!

  • Archie

    I didn’t even finish the video. He clearly doesn’t know what he is doing with FB advertising, or FB marketing in general.

    Of course people from a non-English speaking country will seldom interact with your content.

    And of course those fans are useless, so why on earth did he target them in the first place. Talk about throwing money away, or giving money to Facebook when he could have kept it in his own pocket.

  • Liz Lewis

    I think the Facebook criticism is merited. The number of unaddressed mistakes by Facebook is overwhelming. With a Google ad you can access a live person, and tweak the ad, and they clearly take customer service and corporate responsibility much more seriously. The custom audience features of Facebook simply does not work, it uploads the correct numbers (in the thousands) then disappears to under 20. Secondly the targeting is faulty. I just recently ran an ad that specifically was to target people not associated with my page, yet it actually just showed up on my personal homepage????!!!!
    Not to mention that FB restarted an old ad which had been paused, and charged my my daily budget before I caught it. So, if these are the things I see, what are the things I don’t. While I agree that larger numbers are needed to create certain data proofs. I think that when it comes to small businesses they often don’t have money to throw away on faulty platforms,

    I can see how for a consulting business such as yours it could work, but for brick an mortar businesses, and or events there as some serious flaws with the platform and not a lot of desire on the part of the staff to address them directly with the customers, instead they grab the money and hide.

  • Stefan Tertan

    I’ve read through a few comments here and I don’t see a subject being touched. I apologize if it has been discussed before. The thing that people don’t realize is that Facebook leaves a big room for negative advertising (like Google allows you to do negative SEO). You can’t delete likes to your page and with a big fanbase of fake likes your posts are very unlikely to reach people that actually want to see your posts and engage with them. These days you can buy 5000 likes for as low as $5. I’m sure plenty of fb advertisers are careful about who they market to and choose their audiences accordingly but what happens if one of your competitors decides to get rid of you? Say you have 4000 page likes that you achieved by good targeting, you have good engagement on your posts and everything is working well for the most part. All your competitor has to do is spend $20 on 20 000 fake likes to your page and you can pretty much say goodbye to your organic reach and free traffic. It will also cause a big problem with your current subscribers who won’t see your post anymore and you will have to spend even more money promoting your posts. My conclusion? FB ads work if you do a good targeting job but not being able to delete likes means that sooner or later you can realize you`ve wasted a lot of money to get somewhere only to see it crumble.

  • Brodie Tyler

    Great article. I agree, I’ve noticed that if you target your ads well, you will get legitimate likes. I think his video is very helpful for people who don’t have much experience in facebook advertising and think that all likes are equal.

  • http://www.shop.graciousstore.com/ Gracious Store

    Jon, thanks for sharing your personal experience in the use of Facebook ads in response to the viral video. I must confess that I am a skeptical newbie when it comes to marketing with Facebook. Without even being aware of the existence the click farms, I have never seen Facebook as a marketing platform owing to the fact that it was originally designed for social networking with friends and families. .

    Many people now shun Facebook with all the ads all over the place, Though you assert your success with those ads, many people see those ads as a menace and sometimes click on them without real intention of following through in completing the purchase. as such you have many wasted clicks, though with your success with Facebook ads you must have a high ratio of revenue to cost of advertising in Facebook.

    • samsundar

      Jon is not sharing his personal experience. He is a facebook marketer!!!!.

      • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

        I’m not sharing my personal experience, Sam? You may want to re-read. I regularly share my personal experience.

  • Sam

    Have to disagree with you on this Jon. Because you predominately sell products related to facebook advertising your opinion is going to biased. Veritasium doesn’t have any reason to be for or against facebook ads. For my own business I have over 8 thousand likes earned through legitimate well targeted advertising and they are about as useful as the likes in the Veritasium video.

    • Tim Burd

      Then you arent using them correctly. Some pages I have had with only 10k likes had images and posts go viral and get tens of thousands of likes, thousands of shares etc. You need to nurture the users properly and post the right content, at the right time, in the right way :)

      • Sam

        I’ve pretty much followed Brian Carter’s book “The Like Economy” to the T since last year. On my page Memes still get the furthest reach but that doesn’t really help me in anyway. My page is for a web comic about a very specific genera when people like my page it’s clear that is what they are liking yet engagement is very low and close to the Veritasium video and if they don’t like the web comic they why are they liking the page to begin with?

    • samsundar

      And Jon is using the familiar tactic FUD to defend FB advertising.

    • http://nex2host.com/ Marketing-hosting

      True, i have to agree with on this, even laser targeting wont deliver quality audience, and trying to sell with facebook ads will only leave you with an empty wallet. I think we are all becomming immune to ads online (Like and forget) and (click farms) are making facebook ads a complete waste of time and money.

  • Laura B. Poindexter

    I’d love the audio version if I could download it to play on the go.

  • JLeavitt0719

    Incidentally a potential client of mine passed the video along to me a couple days ago. This article validates my response to him, only more in depth. I agree that there is a problem, but the key here as the article says, is to mitigate it.

  • lukethedjdj

    As a person who markets on and does make money from Facebook, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep making that Facebook Fraud video go viral everywhere. It could ultimately scare off all the amateurs from advertising on it, leaving mainly quality marketers, advertising in a quality way. Then the advertising becomes better, the consumers start reacting better to the quality forms of communication and not developing banner blindness so quickly or deeply, thus making our ad dollars go farther. My .02

  • Tim Burd

    Most of the fake profiles and fake likes that exist in the US, UK etc are from fake facebook accounts. WHY do these fake facebook accounts exist? Why would someone do this to make $0 from it? Those were questions posed in the video as well. There are 2 main reasons. 1 – tens of thousands of accounts per ad spy tool is needed to give any sort of decent info. These fake accounts needed for this must be in top tier countries like the US to gather relevant info, they must like thousands of pages so that it picks up a large number of ads and the end result is a usable spy tool for facebook ads. The other reasons for fake accounts are for spamming or other illegitimate purposes.

    As for the rest of it, its common sense. All of those “problem countries” are certainly low quality. Lets look at CPA offers for example. A game download offer pays a few dollars in the US, and pennies (give or take) in india for example. Why? Many reasons but safe to assume the US has more consumers with money able to buy, and since there are so many marketing and advertising efforts going on in the US, the advertisers are able to better monetize the users. A game download cant pay as much when there is nothing of significant value to advertise to users in india that will add any sort of extra monetization.

    The other points made here by Jon are very true. You would see very little engagement from poorly targetted ads. Running a lead gen offer and spend $500 to not get a single conversion? Does that mean FB is Frauding everyone? NO. It means your ad, targeting and/or landing page isnt how it needs to be.

    Like Jon I have made millions of dollars from facebook ads from the dating vertical, legal, solar, tax, you name it. Facebook ads work if you know how to work them! And calling facebook fraudulent because you dont understand how it works is just a bit ignorant if you ask me. Get the facts or atleast spend more than $25 to do a case study :)

  • Unclefishbits

    Here, let me help you: Facebook ads for Travel, Hospitality, etc are a scam, don’t work, bring the wrong followers, don’t create activity, and are nonsense. If you need another case study. I crunch numbers for our industry here: http://www.hrabaconsulting.com/blog/2010/09/01/facebook-brand-pages-community-interaction-what-do-we-know/

    YEARS AGO, I knew there was fraud. About a year ago, one of our hotels lost 2/3 of likes, 2000 or so. That’s fine…. but knowing there’s fraud and having evidence are two different things. These guys are going viral because it’s a bunch of corporate marketing guys calling lawyers ready for class action lawsuits.

  • Jimmy

    HI Jon – Great post ! I used to spend a lot of money on advertising my FB page and I was extremely careful to get the “right” fans. But now with the new Algo. change. It’s not worth it – no matter how much money and time I spend on getting extremely targeted fans – FB will not show them my content. I am sorry engagement doesn’t cut it anymore with the new algorithm. I’ve had people who routinely made comments on every post, completely gone. My general question is what’s the point in using all those tools and (in my case) getting the right fans, if FB doesn’t deliver them my content. It does seem like a waste of time at the moment so I stopped my advertising campaigns.


    You’ve some GOOD points, if one likes to sit and examine split hairs. There’s a forest well beyond ‘facebook’ (which is ONE man’s massive website) called the WEB. As a well trained adman, I have to stress folks learn real advertising skills, and spend angel and VC funds on legitimate brand building to the MASSES. Its not a pissing contest of who’s ‘smarter’ – thats always reduced to insults and distortion. THINK about it: if you seek to build real (pure) #FAME (for you? for your client?) – then reporting KPIs will be like doing a bit of laundry.

  • http://warrenwhitlock.com/social-media-expert Warren Whitlock

    Thanks for the post. I’ve had the video sent by dozens of clients and friends and haven’t got around to writing something myself :).. and you did a much more thorough job that I would have LOL

    I say whatever the problem, it’s not productive to fret about it. I get an ROI (more money in than I spend) and know there are problems. Learning the rules is just part of the job.

    It’s naive to think that there are no problems. Also naive to think it’s a conspiracy.

  • Lori

    I see a lot of professional marketers weighing in on a subject that small business owners are extremely frustrated with. I would love to be be able to afford the ads AND a professional to help me get my ads out to the exact audience I need but I couldn’t when starting out, like almost every other small business owner we are working within a very limited budget growing slowly, building a solid base before getting bigger and having a bigger budget. So I used the tools at my disposal, including my intellect, and I read and read and read some more and learned how to target a facebook ad… to only US audiences (still get other countries), only a specific gender (still get the opposite gender liking the ad), only a specific age group (still get teenagers), choosing very specific keywords that target my business (still get people who obviously would never like my products), AND putting in targeting to precise interests for companies that are “competitors” (big competitors are the only companies you can target your audience toward) all with a compelling image and a deal for our product or a giveaway targeted to their interest that coincides with what we sell. I did the best I could. And I thought it worked. Our page went from 300 likes to 10,000 likes on a $20 a day budget in less than two months! Say what you will about all the stats, but real world results for small businesses are what I experienced and what so many other small companies I interact with are experiencing: that our engagement not only didn’t go up, it went down! I had MORE engagement on my page with just 300 likes than I do now at 12,000 likes (haven’t paid for any ads since we hit the 10,000 mark because of the lack of engagement).

    I have contacted Facebooks advertising team about this since we started the ads only to be told to target the ad even further (which I did) and to try other giveaways or try other content on our page. We did absolutely everything suggested and could never get the engagement back up on our page because our posts are going out to a bunch of people who never interact on our page and not going out to real followers. We are told over and over from our customers (the ones who purchase consistently) that they don’t see our posts on their feed. I, as the owner of the page, don’t see my business posts on my personal Facebook page! I put a lot of effort into crafting posts that don’t do any hard selling (or soft), I put up quality images, and none of it works to get engagement. Do you know what works? Giveaways! Those are the only posts that get interaction on our page! With over 12,000 followers I initially naively believed that people who followed us would see our posts. That’s the way it works on twitter, on Instagram, and even old school newspaper ads. But Facebook claims our feeds would be too full of “stuff” from all of the things we follow so they have taken it upon themselves to filter the “stuff” for me! NO! I’m a big girl. I can hit delete if I dont want to see it. But it’s the only way Facebook can control everything to make sure we as business owners have to advertise. So I accepted that my posts would only reach the 12-18% that we read we would see back in November ’13. And I advertised more to make sure that 12-18% was a big enough number to market towards.

    So what is my true reach??????? ONE PERCENT! One! Most of our posts are seen by 1% of our followers and no matter what we do we cant get that number higher. I paid to get all of those followers to our page and now I have to pay again to get them to see posts they should be seeing in the first place? AND the paid for posts or ads directed at followers is still going to ghost or fake followers that have no interaction on opur page and just take up virtual space. AND I cant delete them!!! It’s not right. It’s a scam. And it is taking down small business! Friends and other competitors who built their pages before all of these algorithm changes happened in 2013 were making $1 million a year with less followers than I have now (‘m lucky to make a few hundred a week through Facebook). Those same friends are now contemplating closing their doors because their reach is so low they cant get through to their audience anymore.

    I understand Facebook needing to make money. I get it. But they have killed small business in the process. All they seem to care about is keeping big businesses big bucks so everyone’s feeds are full of prime time “commercials”. I come to FB personally to find the things that truly interest me, the small businesses across America that are doing wonderful, brilliant, creative things that I WANT to like, not to see another ad for Procter & Gamble or Coca-Cola.

    As a small business owner I am at a crossroads. I am contemplating dumping all of my followers, one by one over the course of the next few weeks to get back to the beginning and grow organically without any facebook ads. I havent seen anyone address this approach and I would love some opinions!

    • Stefan Tertan

      I shot myself in the leg with 10k likes bought on fiverr which came from a like farm in Turkey. They were cheap ($10) and my organic reach went down the drain. So I thought “OK, I need to find a way to get rid of all the fake likes”. Apparently FB only allows you to view the last 500 persons that liked your page for “privacy security reasons” (searched even the API and loads of posts at stackoverflow.com to look for an answer). I call it bullshit :). After congratulating myself for this stupid mistake I changed my marketing strategy. So I went for payed ads from FB itself. I used the Custom Audiences features to make sure I have a good targeting and I actually got pretty good results. The thing is I gained about 500 new likes since I started using FB ads and those seem to be from people genuinely interested in my page which is a needle in the haystack compared to my other 10k fake likes. The only way to get around them is to use the country targeting option when posting but that is annoying because I can’t say “everybody except Turkey”, I actually have to add all the countries I want to target and leave Turkey out. But even that is not the best option because I still have fans in Turkey that are actually interested in my page. So it seems that anything you want to achieve with fb pages it works as long as you are paying for their ads. If your brand becomes big enough for people to actually come to your page and check for new posts constantly you can do without them but if you think “I’ll pay for ads to get some brand awarness until I get enough organic traffic and then stop advertising”, think again because you will throw a lot of money at FB before that happens. And I also realized that I could shoot somebody else in the leg with fake likes and ruin their hard work on their pages. Obviously I will not do that but if FB leaves room for that somebody will do it eventually (not to mention it is very cheap too). As long as FB doesn’t allow you to manage your fanbase I say paying for advertising is a big waste of money!

  • Rox

    Why cant facebook pages run there on adds?

    • Rox

      Own rather

  • JB Nichols

    I think you should get someone else to read for you – that audio was super annoying.

  • Kim Henning Olsen

    Lets also look at this issue without using the words “click farm countries”. Facebook have a HUGE problem with targeting the right people at Facebook Like Campaigns. Becuase by experience Facebook targets with the most Likes, becuase they will most probably Like your page since they have liked thousands of others. And yes! They will Like your page. The problem is that these people dont engage and you will have a huge effort coming through to these persons since the allready Like hundreds of pages.

    I run a small campaign in Norway targeting a similar web page of mine with the same theme. The target was about 8.000 persons. I had no previous audience. What I did see that from the Likes I got every person had at least 300-400 Likes on different pages. And that was every single one. This was not good. After this I tried to engage this audience. This was not possible. Still targeting this small audience I got I got followers that was just Liking every page on facebook.

    if you still use Facebook ads as if it’s 2012, you deserve the results you get.

    I think this is a veriy ignorant thing to say. Of course not!! You dont deserve bad results if you are not an specialist! Remember there are many many small businesses that dont have the skills and dont have money to hire. They listen to what Facebook says and suggest for them on marketing. Facebook is suggestion audience that is wrong!

    To help on this Facebook could do some easy steps. But they dont. They want business to spend most money right ? They want them to keep using money to find out how the system works. Or else they could just do the follwing:

    – They could add a function so that advertiser could choose maximum Likes a person have to Target. So that we could target persons example with less than 50 Likes etc.
    – They could also add a Like cap on persons. To be able to maximum Like 100 pages etc. This would make more value for the persons
    They could also target people that Like several pages. Not just one. So that the result would be more relevant.

    They dont do nothing of these.

    So Jon:

    If a page dont have any pre audience. They start on scratch. No audiance on webpage and on Facebook. As many Small businesses. How should this page use Facebook for marketing and get more Likes to his page ? Most of your suggestions is realible having data to use. But without data, how should a small business proceed. Because todays Like campaign on Facebook dont work.

  • http://www.ezydiscount.com/ Ezy Discount

    I have seen the Veritasium movie and many of the media coverage stories that followed as well as earlier stories. You can easily argue for and against but there is no escape from the fact that Facebook advertising suffers from lack of integrity and FB is not doing enough to perfect their system. Their aggressive promotion of “boost page or post” which is highly picked by small businesses and inexperienced users speaks for itself. Allowing anonymous page likes and not refunding budgets spent on fake likes is another warning sign.
    We ran a real experiment over the past two weeks (this is not for virtual bagels or cats) using Power Editor and could not agree more with Derek’s findings. We blogged our experiment at http://arabic2000.com/blog/

  • Jams Myth

    Seems to be a bit of a hot topic certainly. My experience is one that dosn’t ring true with me in terms of what I would expect to happen. Brief overview my company has spent around $150k on FB ads across various products and various target groups. My major gripe is that a massive % of the clicks I get to the webpage are on the site for less than a second. I have raised this with FB a number of times and they have no direct answer. They try to confuse the matter with talk of tracking issues and pixel placement but I have been in this game 14 years. I know how traffic works. A user no matter how unsatisfied with the page does not make a judgement in less than 1 second. They just don’t. All that said I am still able to make FB work for us but there is definitely something not right in the state of Denmark. My ad costs are being driven up by clicks from users who have no interest whatsoever in my ad. I have asked Facebook straight up on that and they denied it but didn’t actually give me any other explanation. Maybe you can?

  • http://kimprint.net/ Kimberly

    Wow, thank you so much for 1.) the post 2.) the audio version (life-saver). You answered quite a few of the questions I was wondering about, namely how he was using the 2012 data to explain how things work in 2014 and how he was keeping track of the information.

  • anon

    ads? i havent seen a single ad in my browser in like… forever

  • http://warrenwhitlock.com/social-media-expert Warren Whitlock

    This is the best post I’ve seen on this and pointing to it will save me answering this question for the 377th time and make me look smart by being associated with you :)

    PS (noting that the above is generic language and doesn’t prove I read the fraud post, have been buying PPC for 16 years or much else.. which makes this comment about a fraudulent as my Facebook ads. (about 0% fake)

  • Pooja

    I did targeted FB advertising and was very specific with gender, country and interest. The fans that end by liking my page are no doubt from my targeted audience but on an avg every single one of them have liked 5K+ pages. This alone makes me skeptical of FB advertising. There is an increse in “likes” but not in “engagement”. How does one explains that?

  • aptucker

    I paid for very targeted ads on Facebook and still ended up with Manila, Philippines as the most popular city on the People Talking About This page. When I confronted Facebook about this, they gave me a very generic answer. When I pressed them on their response, they failed to respond. Coincidentally – or not – the very next day my page’s most popular city changed from Manila, Philippines, to Plano, Texas – my primary target. Facebook IS scamming businesses that pay for ads.

  • Emma Anderson

    You say that people get what they get because of places they target. Unfortunately, that is incorrect. People are targeting specifically and then getting likes coming in that are from people and places that did not fit their targeting profile. So how does this happen? Is it FB or is it click farms somehow having access to ads promoting a page that they shouldn’t have access to. And this includes businesses advertising on fb that can only be used locally. They are not an online business where somebody can get benefit from them online. You can only get benefit by shopping with them locally. So what is the purpose of somebody who lives far away liking those businesses? There is something not right with it. You have missed this very important reality in your article. There are profiles liking ads that aren’t supposed to be liking them. It’s a major problem.

  • Emma Anderson

    You say that people get what they get because of places they target. Unfortunately, that is incorrect. People are targeting specifically and then getting likes coming in that are from places that did not fit their targeting profile. So how does this happen? Is it FB or is click farms somehow having access to ads promoting a page that they shouldn’t have access to. And this includes businesses that can only be used locally. They are not an online business where somebody can get benefit from them. You can only get benefit by shopping with them locally. You have missed this very important reality in your article. It’s a major problem.

  • Adam Duffy

    Jon, you state here you main fan base is 34.47% from US, but when i go into your likes tab in Facebook, it says your most popular city is UK, how does this add up?

  • http://www.tiagoprofits.com Tiago S.

    Guys let’s not make a drama out of this. Just target decent countries and use IMAGES that rock to increase CTR. Here’s the 12 best types of images to use in FB Ads: http://www.tiagoprofits.com/12bestimagesfacebook

  • acoyfellow

    If anyone is reading this, and they are pissed and scared that Facebook isn’t a viable advertising platform.. Don’t worry!

    Here is a simple 5 SECOND fix for the entire “Link Farm” situation.


  • Jenny

    I found the video to be spot on with what we are experiencing. I am a small business owner but I do a fair amount of research with advertising (including reading this blog) and know about Power Editor but I am far from an expert. In the beginning I too paid to promote my page assuming i was paying for legit likes from people who actually wanted to see my brand. I got a ton more likes but as my likes grew my organic reach plummeted- probably because a large majority of these likes were from essentially fake people. I even tried targeting specific places (to avoid click farm area), demo info, interests and STILL the more likes i got the less reach i have. Now i have to pay to boost posts (or do ads through the power editor) if i want anyone to see them and even still when i do that no engagement happens (again, probably because im being seen by people who had no interest in my page to begin with). So I’m no longer wasting money… And most small business owners don’t have the budget to hire a consultant full time to manage this stuff so it not like I can just go that route and even if i did at this point it wouldnt matter since my fans seem to be largely fake anyhow. Its frustrating that fb makes it seem like you get A (legit likes) but in reality (at least in my experience) I got B…

    I did set up Website Custom Audiences but have not gotten any conversions from those yet but at least those should be more targeted…

  • djtrist101

    I run a facebook page as a music artist, I am not trying to spend money on ads. I just want my content I post to be available for ‘fans’ who liked the page. I dont have capitol to invest in trying to generate sales or a marketing strategy to take over the music scene – no I am just a creative individual who wants to share music that I work on. Problem is, facebook thinks I am sitting on a huge cash pile and that I want to generate a ton of sales and revenue, but the only thing I want is to make my content available, but instead I am punished for using facebook. It seems like a damn waste to me, I am better off spending my money on hosting my own webpage where people who visit can actually SEE WHAT I POST.

  • moretard

    you didn’t discuss at all ur points on the FB scandal… all you did was bitch and whine about how bad the video was and how his conclusions contradict himself at the start or his low experimental sample was bad… bla bla bla… dude this is a stupid rant and i wish there was a dislike button.
    ur terrible at voice presenting… ur tangents are painful. “um… were do we agree… um….” fml your train of thought is a failboat

    after your big rant you then go “AND MY DISAGREEMENT WITH THE ARGUMENT IS!!!:”

  • Tommy Barrios

    IF you have content and a product that is worth a shit you don’t have to pay some propagandist to get folks to come to your page or buy your product.
    It will happen all on it’s OWN!
    Marketeers are just like lawyers, liars trying to convince you otherwise!!

  • feloneouscat

    Brilliant. And by brilliant I mean bad. Let me break this down:

    1) The two fake pages show that there is chicanery going on (whether intentional or unintentional, it is hard to prove – but it is going on).

    2) Jon Loomer is technologically ignorant if he believes his “likes” are all genuine. Just as he bemoans the author treating this as if it is 2012 he ALSO acts as if this is 2012. it isn’t. The click farms may still exist in third world country, but go through a US server. To you it is magic. To me, it is called technology.

    3) Like’s vs. Engagement – even Jon’s own figures show that many of his likes may in fact be bogus. 34% of likes produce 45% of the engagement? Had he provided some raw numbers it would be even more interesting – but he didn’t.

    4) Nothing Jon has said invalidates anything said in the video. He may know marketing, but I have 35 years of software engineering and a degree to back up my talk.

    5) “Your job as an advertiser is to understand the environment.” To me this was basically an article justifying paying $2000 / month to Facebook. For the sake of argument, however, let us say that $12,000 for a year is what generated your 51,000 likes:

    $12000 / 51000 = approx. $0.24 per like

    HOLY COW! That’s $240 per CPM! Compared to the following:

    Average CPM for video ($24.60), mobile ($3.00), general display ($1.90), and premium display ($10.40) – ZenithOptimadia

    In other words, the CPM on Facebook (using YOUR examples, Jon) exceed all other industries.

    Now, perhaps, just perhaps, you were talking about a DIFFERENT Facebook page (which you conveniently didn’t point out), but you really haven’t made your point. In fact, you have successfully argued that Facebook is a horrible method (unless your name is George Takei) to get your message across.

    Bottom line: Facebook is a great method for Facebook to make money, and Jon will encourage you to do so, but if it works so well, then why does it cost so much?

  • Arjun Chandra

    Check out http://www.fanharvest.com and get rid of your problems

  • http://catalystmlm.com/ CatalystMLM

    Great article Jon!

    This video ignores one of the largest and most relevant variables – people. People behave differently in different cultures and in different stages of life. The example of the “fake” US based account that liked thousands of pages listed their employment as “Disabled” and I personally know many disabled or elderly people who “like” everything they don’t absolutely hate in real life … everything. Additionally, real people in developing countries can act the same for different reasons.

    The fact of the matter is that people use Facebook differently.

    How do I know this? We work with contractors, customers, and partners around the world which has shown me the importance of removing all assumptions time and time again. For example, we work in the network marketing industry and the number of people signing on as distributors of various companies within the Philippines has risen dramatically over the past two years. Across the multiple pages we run for our clients we saw that changing the way you speak to these audiences dramatically increased engagement with accounts that would otherwise appear to be fake. We regularly generate substantial revenue from developing countries by speaking THEIR language, not our own.

    I completely agree that targeting is key, but all too often people look over the variable of people. Not everyone thinks like you and understanding that in the context of Facebook ads can yield huge results. Our typical conversion rate for a product sale is $1.07 and our minimum revenue on those conversions is $18.50. So in regards, to “is Facebook advertising worth it?” I would have to say “Hell yea … so long as you take the time to use the tool correctly.”

  • miteshsoni1995

    I am from India and I know a lot about the spamming sort of marketing.

    facebook is doing a fraud I realized it therefore I reached at your post.
    I had tried many experiments and I am sure that the update which the facebook made that it will show that content only to people who involve in your post is only for maximizing the revenue from the advertisers.

  • Churchill4President

    Of course you are going to debunk the Facebook fraud video because you are in the business of selling courses on how to make money via Facebook ads.

  • Jonathan

    I just launched an IndieGoGo campaign and paid for some facebook ‘boosts’… in turn I recieved hundreds and hundreds of Indonesian likes, and only 4 post clicks. The link was a video for the campaign.


    Thanks Facebook. I appreciate wasting money. As a start-up company, we obviously have copious amounts of cash sitting around!

  • hidden_agenda714

    Complete rubbish

  • http://www.achieveee.com navinkulkarni

    Search for ‘facebook fraud’ on google and you land up here.
    Nice work Jon Loomer :)

  • Anna Rys

    Targeting just by country doesn’t exactly work either. Yes, you will eliminate most of fake likes but I found that only when targeting non-English speaking people in non-English speaking countries can I get rid of all the fakes.

    When targeting ads to English-speaking people in Poland, I got about 15-20% of likes from people who pretended to live in Poland but in fact had non-Polish names and seemed to have nothing to do with Poland. Other than the “Lives in” part of the profile, of course. Seems like they do that to make it look like they’re not part of a click farm.

    I wish there was a way of targeting English-speakers around the world (or even just in Europe) on Facebook and actually getting good results.

  • halicon

    I dont care what anyone says. I have used facebook advertising for the first time and ever since using facebook advertising the engagement and views on my page have dwindled since when before i used advertising. Riddle me that.

    Where before I would get about 100 views per post this has gone down to about 7 after using advertising to boost overall like for my page.

    Facebook’s advertising formula is a farce and if you still thinking of using advertising on a page that you have organically grown… DON’T or you can kiss your current organic engagement and impressions goodbye.

    I’m not sure why I am so upset considering this is what I have come to expect of corporations who lok out for their shareholders. Bye Bye Facebook Pages.

  • Kevin

    Jon you just sound like a salesman. Sales to anyone at any cost. I would run a mile from a mouth like yours. Kevin

  • Jack White

    You raised a valid point here. In my experience though, the best way to generate valid leads is to invest in better visuals. Even with the new algorithm of FB, I’m able to still reach a significant percentage of my target audience after I’ve become more focused on creating eye-catching ads. I don’t have photoshop so I use Banner Machine (http://adfilic.com/Banner-Machine) or Pixlr (Pixlr.com).

  • Coco Surf

    Maybe this is why they don’t do phone calls.

  • Benjamin Morse

    How exactly do you explain all the fake accounts that now like my posts that are boosted, and only boosted to the US? They specifically target the US and gamers and the likes are overwhelmed with foreign names and fake accounts.

  • Allen E Hall

    the problem is that facebook does little to facilitate value…. if you invest in advertisement and gain an interested target audience through likes … facebook denies you the tools to realize any value from this. you cant even work with the data …who are the likes. I could accept the fake likes if i had the ability to engage the data in detail so i could see the real likes. the potential real customers who like my business should be able to see whatever i post to the news feed and if they dont want to see it they can mute it … but since they liked it facebook shouldnt make the decision for them not to see it. Its a total scam … i paid for marketing that i cant use and has no value unless i spend more and even then there is no assurance that the people who really are interested will ever see it. Im waiting for the inevitable class action lawsuit to jump onto …. maybe i can get back a little of the $10k i wasted

  • Melissa Styles

    I believe there is an element of fraud involved with Facebook and their advertising model. Firstly, they claim to have over 1.3B users but as we know there are probably 30 -40 % fake users on FB. IN fact, I know some regular users in the Animal Rights sector who have up to 50 profiles. Facebook ARE aware of the number of fake users and in my opinion are offering advertisers statistics that are dishonest at best.

    Now, moving on. I have recently set up a Test Video ad campaign on FB. According to the ad stats provided by FB, this has generated 203 Video Views at a cost 0.04c per view. However, when I pop over to You Tube and check the view stats of the video it shows a whopping total of only 74 vies of which 70 were there before I launched the video ad campaign on Facebook.

    Now, anyone can see that there is something seriously wrong here.

  • http://www.skooppa.com scamo

    Hey John.

    Coming in on this late, but do you have an article or know of one that shows people how to mitigate the effect of click farms? I say it is impossible and you won’t find one, because FB wants them to waste our money (and make it for them). I started a page ad campaign a few months ago and did targeting for the US and UK and still got a good number of likes from all the wrong countries. How does that happen? 1000’s and 1000’s of pages on FB and these fake accounts find my page and like it, just by chance? Right.

    I am not sure why you are trying to rebut the video in some cases, when in the end you agree there is an issue. Let’s just all agree, FB is ripping people off and it should stop.

    The sad thing about this? This ripoff scheme lowers the value of a like and a fan. People who see pages with a lot of likes and know this situation is occurring have to question the integrity of the fans and the number.

    The other sad thing about this? If Facebook could get it right and make the likes and fans legit, then they could make more money and have better usage of their platform. But it seems, they are happy with this scenario. They get enough content from the users and tell everyone, “be happy with what we show you. We know what is best for you.” That in itself is an arrogant and very condescending position to take. Why can’t users decide for themselves, what they want to see, by rating their interests in importance and get a feed accordingly? Why isn’t this happening? Because truly, in the end, they don’t really care about you as an individual. You are just one of over a billion.


  • iuyyyyui

    Facebook … nawww, not really. Even 50 years ago the saying “I know half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted; I just don’t know WHICH half” was current in the ad industry. Today it’s the “better data-driven narrow-casted” model via _______ (insert your money loser here).

    GM figured Facebook out almost 5 years ago. GM advertising dollars were very VALUABLE to Facebook’s revenue, but almost WORTHLESS to GM’s revenue. In that sense, you have to give it to Facebook: getting people to hand over money for next-to-zero results (above article notwithstanding). And GM figured this out years ago, before the media publicizing research indicating that something like 10% to 20% of click-thrus are wholly automated and completely divorced from any money-spending human being.

    And by the way, what is “engagement”? If “engagement” means Liking a page and then leaving a comment like, “Wow, excellent!” – – – even if said comment comes from within the U.S. – – – it’s the equivalent of a scrawl on some public bathroom wall. NO MONEY’S COMING IN, no matter how many “Wow, great!” comments pile up.

    Effective ad strategy is an art and mobile platforms are great for reaching 20-30 somethings, but volume spread over all media (covering all the bases) is what works, to compensate for that “half” you know just isn’t working.


  • harsha

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  • BMG4ME

    I quoted you in my LinkedIn article here. Thanks for writing this. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lessons-learned-from-going-viral-youtube-barry-graham

  • Arvind Jayaraman

    Hi, I am from India and I follow you regularly. Most of your content is helpful in businesses making sense of social media in third world countries. There is a huge market for social media done right in countries like India. I run a digital marketing agency called Reapsocial (www.reapsocial.com) – so yes, your likes from India are not necessarily from click farms and FB ads got me to your content concluding the fact that your Facebook ads work!

    What most of the clients do not understand is that proper content advertised towards a very relevant audience is going to have ROI than just putting in money and expecting results. That typically is a conventional school of thought.


  • Natalie Peall

    My online business would not exist without Facebook advertising, it’s been a key element in its success but took a long time to learn what works and what doesn’t.

  • ParanormalNJ

    Well, it seems that the original video was more correct than the response. It is nearly impossible now for very small and small businesses to justify a FB expenditure. I look at this as a lesson learned and too much money spent building a base that FB won’t allow me to reach even when I pay to do so.

  • Felix

    I’m having the same problem now and I’m glad I found this video…
    My *Metalcore* band posted a video today. We paid 25$ and most of the likes to the post were arab speaking people…which of course have nothing to do with metal…(checked their profile).
    None of them watched the video or liked the band page
    Luckily we started paid post after we reached lots of organic traffic.
    What to do??

    BTW – I narrowed the targeting to 4 countries and specific interests…so wtf?

  • H J


  • http://www.emea-mcs.com Mohammad Zaki

    Nice Information you have shared. I read it fully and enjoy.

    I am also represent management consultant which is based in DUBAI, EMEA Management & Consultancy Services Ltd was incorporated to provide a complete consultancy solution to the modern and fast moving business of today. These consulting services cover all aspects of the business including Management, Strategic Planning, Viability Analysis, restructuring and Project Management fields.

  • RippedOFF

    I recently installed google analytics and find that the majority of traffic driven to my website from Facebook was from out of the country even though I specified a very small target area. I feel so ripped off. I thought I was getting quality traffic from local users to my site. My bounce rate is almost 100%.

  • LA on a Leash

    I think Facebook fraud is alive and well. I ran an ad yesterday using the quickie tool and I targeted people in Los Angeles with an interest in motorcycles, age 30-65+. I got dozens of likes, many from around the world, and none seemed to have any indication of interest in motorcycles on their pages. I ran an ad two days ago on a different page, targeting people in the US with an interest in marketing and social media. I got about a dozen people in the US, but many were teens and none had any indication on their pages that they were interested in my topics. Last month I ran a campaign for a alternative comic book page and selected only people who liked specific competitor pages, in the US. My first concern was that one competitor page had about 50K likes and the “interested in this page or pages like this page” group was 852K. This is a very specific target and that is a big number for this little niche, so I already knew Facebook’s algorithm was casting a wider net than I wanted. The results? Everyone who responded to the ad was African American. The alternative comics scene doesn’t skew racially, and America is only about 14% African American, so this is a highly suspicious result. Facebook is CLEARLY not posting the ad to the specified audience in the first example of LA motorcyclsts, garnering people in Uruguay and beyond, and it is highly suspicious in the other two examples. Would love to hear if others have had similar, recent experiences. I’ve had very good luck with Facebook ads and boosting posts in the past. Something has changed and it looks like outright fraud or a serious error in programming. But an error in programming wouldn’t cause people who have no apparent interest in my promoted pages to like them and follow them.


    I warn anyone who pays for Facebook ads. Even if you target your market, people are just not interested. They are to distracted with what is going on with their friends on Facebook. Plus Facebook traffic is not like it use to be. In the past if you hash-tagged several popular words in your post you would get many likes and lots of engagement. Today the traffic is just not there any more…same with Twitter. Instagram is on fire right now, businesses are now marketing on Instagram by simply targeting their market using hashtags. I would post random photos in relation to my business and use about 30 hashtags and get many likes and interaction. Bottom line is do not pay for advertising on Facebook and don’t you dare pay for it on Twitter. Those sites are slowly losing traffic and will soon end up like Myspace. Facebook brought Instagram cause Facebook is fighting to stay alive. Best form of advertising is direct email marketing. Teens and Non business owners will call it spamming but that’s because they are not getting a piece of the profits. I made over $500k in 6 years as my only marketing campaign. Its a lot of work yes,but it works and it saved me thousands.

  • jmar42

    We have a study on ad fraud 80%+ . FB is also included in the study… http://goo.gl/l5cSli