Facebook is appearing more useless by the day to businesses as brands claim they are not reaching their followers due to tweaks the company has made to its news feed. The reach of Facebook pages, in fact, is down by 12% to just 6% of followers since October. This means every item posted to a fan page reaches just 6% of those who liked the page, despite companies spending millions to amass their followings.
Ad agency Ogilvy, the author of a new report, claimed that the decrease will continue until the social media site is rendered worthless, and advertisers will no longer have access to the platform for free.
Non-paid reach declines continually on the site, necessitating paid campaigns to reach Facebook’s users. Yet brands are discovering it is expensive to trust Facebook ad results because of “like” fraud.
Much of the clicks, or likes, are being attributed to bots and not real people and clients are beginning to wonder if any of their followers are real at all.
Like fraud is serious because brands have spent a lot of time and money developing followers that they aren’t reaching. The amounts of money being spent on ad space end up being worth close to nothing, and yet have increased by 437% since 2013.
Facebook essentially charged companies to obtain fans and then made those fans worthless at the flick of a switch leading to intense distrust of the social network.
While Facebook has severely devalued fans, there has simultaneously been a rise in clients reporting click fraud, from 20% to 30%, according to forensic software that searches for bots. This software determines whether likes are coming from real humans or bots.
These problems--the falling client reach, higher ad prices, and fraud--is leading brands to leave Facebook altogether and find other platforms on which to advertise.
To solve this problem, Ogilvy suggest avoiding trusting likes as a symbol of audience reach. Rather than look at likes, industries should evaluate their ads and make them more targeted.
They also recommend moving from standard to viewable impressions. Click fraud is not limited to Facebook. It can occur on mobile and desktop ads. Using viewable ads means only paying for a specific amount of space and time, from 5 to 30 seconds, and only paying if the ad is viewed for a certain period of time. This helps ensure clients only pay when a user genuinely engages with the content. If the viewer does nothing, the advertiser does not pay.
Ogilvy does not suggest leaving Facebook entirely just yet, but warns that the increase in like fraud means changing advertising styles on the social media platform to really reach users.