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Is Facebook Cheating?

February 27th, 2014 - 3:26 pm

I don’t know what other conclusion you can draw after reading about the company’s clickthru advertising practices as discovered by publisher Raaj Kapur Brar:

The results were disastrous, Brar says.

Facebook’s analytics said the campaign sent him five times the number of clicks he was seeing arrive on his sites, which Brar was monitoring with Bitly, Google Analytics, and his own web site’s WordPress dashboard. There was a reasonable discrepancy between the Bitly and Google numbers, Brar says, but not the five-fold margin between Google’s and Facebook’s click counts.

At one point, data from Facebook indicated his ads had delivered 606,000 clicks, but the site itself registered only 160,000 incoming clicks from Facebook, according to data supplied by Brar. (160,000 clicks is a not insignificant return. After all, these are not clicks on a mere Facebook page, these are users who clicked through to an off-Facebook site.)

“I don’t know what to say, right? This is a huge loss. This ran for four days, then we just stopped the campaign,” Brar says.

Then, things got worse. Even though Fetopolis wasn’t advertising, the likes and new followers kept on piling up. Normally, an advertiser would be pleased at such a result, but every time Brar checked a sample of the new fans he found people with dubious names; a picture of a flower as a profile shot; and fewer than 10 friends — classic signs of a fake profile.

I suppose that’s one way to generate $19 billion to spend on a messaging app.

Facebook’s terms and conditions forbid any third-party audits of clickthrus, contrary to industry standards.

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All Comments   (6)
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"Facebook’s terms and conditions forbid any third-party audits of clickthrus, contrary to industry standards."

WTF? Anyone who signs up for that deserves to get screwed. Anyone who demands that you not6 audit their work is promising you they're going to cheat you.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I actually have some experience with Facebook advertising. It's abysmal if you just load up an ad campaign and let fly, like this guy seems to have. But if you're highly selective about who you advertise to, it has a good ROI. Being highly selective pretty much excludes fake likes.

Oh, and whatever Facebook's faults, Google treats its advertising customers far worse. After all, they know who's clicking on your AdWords, and they're probably providing your analytics, so they know which visitors are buying. I've seen mysterious increases in AdWords per-click charges that precisely track the keywords giving us the best sales. We ended up dropping AdWords because Google would always (yes, I mean ALWAYS) increase the charges on successful campaigns until they had eaten up our entire margin.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Using adwords and analytics for the same site always seemed a particularly silly thing to do. Doing business with google is war, not tea time.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bingo. Too bad it's difficult to correctly target AdWords any other way. Which is why we don't use AdWords any more.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Facebook is going to be myspace in a few years. If they're lucky.

Doing business with a contract like that serves only to reinforce the old adage that a fool and his money are easily parted.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why would you pay them a nickel if you couldn't quantify click-through hits independently?

Facebook and Twitter have a huge credibility gap, far as I'm concerned. Weren't our own Marie Antoinette's (FLOTUS) twitter followers proven to be mostly fictitious?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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