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You are killing me Facebook ads!

An article about the promises of Facebook advertising and the buts.....

Facebook with its 1.44 billion monthly active users is undoubtedly one of the best places to advertise your business on. It’s so very tempting to run a Facebook ads campaign because it all sounds too good to be true. Maybe it is… Let’s take a look at the reality of Facebook ads.

Targeting audiences

Facebook’s tools for audience segmentation are amazing. Marketers have the option to use the standard or very advanced audience targeting like this:

  1. Target only the people that like your page
  2. Target people that have a lookalike audience
  3. Target your chosen demographic by age and sex
  4. Target by interests
  5. Target by behaviour
  6. Re-target to your website visitors
  7. Target people using their email addresses with custom audiences.

The possibilities that Facebook offers with their audience targeting are staggering and, if you ask me, extremely exciting. Imagine a world where you could reach exactly the people, down to the person, you want to reach with your ads.

The But

The problem is that, in reality, your ad campaigns on Facebook are likely to simply be very disappointing. The But is the Bot.

Facebook has always tried to get a grip on fake profiles and click farm setups, but to this date have had very little success. This is where the problem with Facebook ads stems from.


Don’t ever think about paying for your ads by impression! In an experiment carried out by the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, Microsoft and AT&T’s research labs, it was discovered that a mind blowing  67% of likes gathered during ad campaigns are served to fake user profiles and click bots. So by paying for impressions, you’d just be paying to have your ads appear in front of nobody at all.

hand drawn robots
Facebook – the home of click bots!


If you are paying by click, you won’t have to worry about your impressions being dominated by bots at least. But there are still huge problems here.

Facebook ad clicks are regularly being executed by click bots. So you are likely to find that 50% of your clicks won’t show up as sessions in your analytics.

That’s ok though because you’ll just need to think of your cost per click and double it to know what you are actually paying per website visitor.

Another problem unfortunately is that of those visitors the bounce rate will be very high. Anything between 70% and 90%.

A numbers game

Even though you have to be very aware of the real cost of a click from Facebook ads if you have a neatly defined audience, the real users that end up in your website are likely to convert, so you might well end up with a lower cost per conversion than for Google PPC ads.

So be prepared to be disappointed when using Facebook ads. Use them wisely and you might be able to get real value from them.

Now let’s all get on Facebook’s back so they take action against the bots. And then be outraged because of the unbelievable steps a user will have to go through to verify their profile!

Anna Corbett

Anna Corbett

Director of Client Success

For over 14 years she has devoured every scrap of knowledge about search marketing and is diligently passing her knowledge on to her team, clients and anyone else who cares to listen.

I’ve got plenty to say

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The way we consume information online is constantly changing and our industry is used to this. Adapting to change, new technology and conveying our messages in fresh innovative ways is a standard of the world of digital marketing.

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