In a recent publicized report, thanks to Facebook having to keep its business in more of a public eye due to the company being publicly traded now, we learned that 8.7 percent of Facebook accounts are “fake”, more more than 80 million. We already knew this. Why? Because most Facebook advertisers who know what they are doing have been measuring the performance of their ads and have found that they get billed for more clicks then they really received. And most likely, these clicks are from fake accounts and bots.
In fact, a company called Limited Run reported that 80% of its clicks were from bots!
My own research from clients puts this number at closer to the 1-in-3 or 33% range, still horrendous by any measure. And, that’s based upon about $1.5 million dollars worth of clicks analyzed.
It’s the cost of doing business with Facebook. In other words, if the ROI you are obtaining from your ad campaign is tolerable, then the click fraud is just part of that campaign’s cost. Obviously, we would all love to higher higher ROI (via a lower cost). Facebook is not motivated to put systems in place to do better at weeding out click fraud. Google is much better – having been sued several times into improving. So, maybe its time to start forming a class against Facebook so that advertisers can obtain rebates for these fraudulent clicks. Its to Facebook’s long term sustainability and advantage to not bill clients for these clicks because that lowers client’s campaign ROI – making them less likely to run more campaigns over the long run. So, if Facebook rebates these fraudulent clicks, ROIs go up, costs go down, clients are happier and keep pouring money into Facebook, and in the end Facebook generates more revenue.
Until then however, make sure you allot about 1/3 of your budget to “sunk costs” of click fraud – clicks that will generate no value for your business whatsoever.