Digital Insights

Why Your Facebook Likes are Basically Worthless


Published: October 3, 2014

Let’s face it – Facebook may not be dead but it sure isn’t healthy. The average reach for organic posts has plummeted to somewhere south of 6 percent, and by Facebook’s own admission an estimated 11.2 percent of all Facebook accounts have been faked. While no figures seem to exist for the number of fraudulent Likes, it has to number in the millions.

As if that’s not enough, a study commissioned by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science has concluded that more than 98 percent of all Facebook fans are basically useless to the digital marketer. When the metrics for the top 200 brands active on Facebook were examined, researchers found that the actual engagement of fans averaged 1.3 percent.

The Real Problem with Fraudulent Facebook Likes

  • Facebook’s official explanation for the decline in organic post reach is that the sheer volume of new posts competing for the limited real estate within each news feed means that many of your posts will never see the light of day.
  • When you take into account the fact that Facebook grades your posts based on the degree of engagement, pushing the higher engaging posts up and the lower engaging posts down, you get a better idea of the real depth of the problem.

Fans may “like” your page but if they rarely, if ever, engage with your brand they’re worse than useless; they are actually dragging your Facebook efforts down to the point where the legitimate fans that are engaging with your brand are being cut out. You need to realize that quality is a much more valuable metric than quantity, and take the steps necessary to remove the non-engaging fans that are hurting you.

Improve Your Facebook Marketing by Removing Non-engaging Fans
Start out by determining exactly who represents your audience. If you can define your audience by geography, you’ll have an easy time identifying the obvious faked fans. For instance, if you operate a steak house in Kansas City, you’re probably not going to attract much interest from people living in Bangladesh or the Philippine Islands, and can safely delete those Likes.

Crank up your Facebook Analytics dashboard and look for your least engaging fans. Compare that information with your geographic audience definition and hit the delete button. Even if you inadvertently delete some people who genuinely like and follow your brand, they’ll most likely return on their own.

Remember that Facebook likes, like SEO backlinks, should be earned and not bought. Forget about the ego-boosting thrill of having 100,000 fans; your goal should be to grow a base of real people who genuinely want to be engaged with your company.

How to Find and Market to Real Fans
Once you’ve cleaned up your fan base, create a new list of those fans that actively engage with your brand and add them as a custom audience. When you promote posts to this group, you’ll most likely see a higher rate of engagement and realize a better return on your ad spend.

Consider a campaign to drive your fans to your website or landing page with a special offer that gets them to opt-in to your mailing list. This will eliminate the need to pay Facebook for the privilege of reaching your own “Likes.”