Is Facebook page promotion no better than buying likes from a click farm?

If you want to pay to boost your page on Facebook you have two options — buy fake likes from a click farm, or use Facebook’s own advertising platform to promote your page and garner likes from a targeted audience of engaged fans. However Derek Muller, who runs the popular YouTube science channel Vertiasium, has found little difference between the two.

Click farms are a cheap source of likes, but they are also counterproductive. The likes are not genuine; users who are paid to like your page will never interact with your posts. Having a large number of disengaged fans means your page will have low engagement, which in turn causes Facebook to reduce your page’s reach, the number of people who see your posts in their news feed. This makes it harder to reach people who are genuinely interested in your page.

Likes alone are a vanity metric; reach is what helps to spread your message across the network, so any system which causes an increase in fans but a decrease in engagement and reach is a very bad investment. At best it’s counterproductive and serious work is required to increase your reach; at worst you can find yourself spending more money by paying Facebook to promote your posts.

Muller availed of AU$50 in free advertising from Facebook, an offer which, as the network put it, allows pages to “connect with more of the people who matter to you”. Not so, according to Muller. The result of his Facebook advertising campaign was a massive increase in fans, and a massive drop in engagement.

In fact the 80,000 fans Muller’s Veritasium page acquired — mostly from countries in Asia — hardly engaged with his page at all. “I never bought fake likes,” he says in the video above. “I used Facebook’s legitimate advertising, but the results are as if I had paid for fake likes from a click farm.”

Facebook likes


Muller reckons that the people who work for click farms are liking any page they come across to prevent Facebook from recognising and disavowing the fake likes that users pay for; however this results in Facebook’s advertising product being no better than buying the likes in the first place, resulting in a drop in engagement and reach for Facebook’s own customers.

Have you used Facebook advertising to promote your page, and did you find it useful or not? Let me know in the comments, I’m curious to hear what other people’s experience of Facebook advertising has been.