Does This Change Your Mind About Advertising on Facebook?

buying likes on facebook

Can advertising on Facebook to increase your page likes and social engagement be a bad idea? At least one commentator thinks so.

Derek Muller, founder and host of the educational science channel Veratasium on YouTube thinks so.

In this video, Muller recounts his own experiences and those of BBC tech corespondent Rory Cellan-Jones with Facebook advertising.

Muller explains there are two ways of paying for likes on Facebook. One is by paying for Facebook advertising. This is supposed to allow you to target those specifically interested in your content.

The other, Muller says, involves buying likes on Facebook through sites like Virall. These sites employ workers in developing countries like Egypt, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and India who are paid $1 for every thousand or so likes. (This is an approach explicitly forbidden by Facebook, Muller adds.)

And the trouble with this second approach, according to Muller, goes beyond the fact that it is against the rules. Acquiring these so-called “fake likes” might actually make it harder to promote yourself on Facebook in the long run. In the video, Muller explains:

“When you make a post, Facebook distributes it to a small fraction of the people who like your page just to gauge their reaction. If they engage with it by liking, commenting or sharing, then Facebook distributes it to more of your likes and even their friends. Now, if you somehow accumulate fake likes, Facebook’s initial distribution goes out to fewer real fans and therefore it receives less engagement and consequently you reach a smaller number of people. That’s how a rising number of fans can result in a drop in engagement.”

But Muller insists that what he and Cellan-Jones discovered suggests paying for Facebook ads may not be that much better.

It turns out likes Muller and Cellan-Jones acquired from Facebook ads seemed suspicious too. A large number were concentrated in the same developing countries so-called “click farm” likes tend to originate.

So these likes tended to result in less engagement too.


Muller theorizes that “click farm” employees may actually be clicking on legitimate Facebook ads to prevent detection by Facebook’s algorithm.

So essentially this is the same as if advertisers had bought fake likes from a site like Boostlikes instead. More from Muller:

“And from this Facebook makes money twice over, once when you acquire new fans and then again when you try to reach them. I mean your organic reach may be so restricted by your level of engagement that your only option is to pay to promote the post.”

The takeaway? When advertising on Facebook, be sure the likes you receive are coming from engaged members who share and comment on your posts regularly.

Otherwise, you may be paying to attract users who aren’t really interested in your content. That will make it even harder and more expensive to eventually attract the users you want.

Facebook Like Photo via Shutterstock

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Aubrielle Billig Aubrielle Billig is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. She covers business as it is impacted by pop culture, entrepreneurs in the arts, and other topics affecting creative businesses. She has a background as an illustrator and her design page can be found at AubrielleBillustrations.

9 Reactions
  1. True story. I ran some genuine Facebook ads through the site exactly as Facebook would have me do them. I got about 40 new likes over 7 days which seemed about right. This number then dropped to 24 and Facebook contacted me to tell me I’d had fake likes removed from my account. They then sent me a notification that patronisingly told me the perils of trying to get fake likes! The click farms and fakers who have ruined Facebook as a serious business tool have now caused Facebook to turn on a genuine advertiser, whilst that advertiser is paying Facebook for the privilege of using their ad services. I won’t be doing so again. Too risky in my opinion.

  2. It helps but it will depend on your niche and how you market your products or services. It is not like advertising on it guarantees some sales. You still need to do your part of providing what your customer needs.

  3. My recommendation would be to not buy Facebook likes without a compelling reason. Instead, use their other campaign objectives like Website Clicks to ensure that the clicks you pay for are going to your site where you can convert them.

  4. How well do the Website clicks work? are they all genuine visitors or are they fake?
    Have you used them?

  5. I am not a big fan of Facebook advertising. But my question is why were they advertising to locations that do not have their target market (i.e. “click farm locations”)? Facebook allows very targeted ads so their is no need to have your ads displayed in locations that do not have your target market.

  6. Facebook is now considered as anyone’s need. People are too involved in social media networks rather than engaging in reality. Sad but true.

  7. Not sure if this helps?
    Does anybody know is the best way to advertise on Facebook?

  8. Well said, the information in your blog is quite relevant to what I was searching for.