We stopped advertising on Facebook

Or, How to get Facebook “likes”? We (nearby.lk) stopped advertising on Facebook to get Facebook “likes”, because we felt that it was a giant fruitless scheme of making Facebook rich. Most of the “likes” on Facebook are useless, they are basically random clicks, which adds no value to anybody, and you need to pay Facebook for that. By the way, this may not be the case with advertising for Clicks to Website, Website Conversions, etc. - I don’t have experience with those.

We got on Facebook when one of our employees created a fan page for the company, which we later made our official page. Facebook advertising was important for us to get awareness and to build reputation - so that our clients know we are popular because a lot of people like us on Facebook.

It didn’t take us long to realize that the first goal is never met because we got almost no traffic to nearby.lk from Facebook; it was way lower than the number of likes we were getting. What we expected was the other way around - lots people visiting the site and a few “liking” us. “Like” never meant like, it meant click. People who “liked” probably didn’t even know what they clicked, so it didn’t do any marketing for us. Also, more “likes” didn’t mean that there was a large set of users who would see our updates, since most of these people have liked hundreds of pages.

Our second goal, building a reputation, a public available figure to show we are popular, was met. And it still works, because most people don’t know how Facebook “likes” work. They believe we have a lot of likes because we have a great product and people like it. But there’s absolutely no correlation between the two.

This are articles about State Department spending $630,000 on Facebook “likes”.

“Many in the bureau criticize the advertising campaigns as ‘buying fans’ who may have once clicked on an ad or ‘liked’ a photo but have no real interest in the topic and have never engaged further,” reads the Inspector General report.

At least they got their “likes” from homeland.

When we launched a prototype in with attractions in India (we didn’t focus on it after launch, it still running our old system), we advertised on Facebook targeting India. With a bit of research while doing that, we realized how most companies in Sri Lanka, which has almost nothing to do with foreign countries, get Facebook likes from countries other than Sri Lanka. They simply advertise targeting other countries, especially developing countries with large populations. And it is cheaper.

For instance the page FYI - Sri Lanka Mobile Directory probably, as its name implies, has nothing to do with Turkey.

Most Popular City

Not all companies are stupid enough to let others see their likes are useless. They spread it among a number of countries, while putting a little extra advertising in homeland, so that the most popular country remains to be homeland. To see how they do it you need to go create an ad yourself. I’m not sure how accurate the figures provided by Facebook are, but I’m guessing it should be at least approximately correct.

Ad Targeting

So it’s all about a race to get more likes, not creating a product that people like. And since these are not genuine likes, number of likes in Facebook becomes just a figure of how much money you can waste on Facebook; that is exchanging your money for Facebook “likes” which has no meaning.

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