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Are Clicks From Bots Driving Up Your Facebook Advertising Costs?

Usually Facebook advertising costs are driven by a cost per click (CPC) model whereby every click an ad gets the advertiser pays.

This model is similar to the established Google AdWords model which is commended for the fact that an advertiser only pays for direct audience engagement. However, a recent study has raised the question of who or what exactly is clicking on your Facebook ads and driving up your spend.

 

Music camera focus

 

Limited Run, an American start-up that specialises in designing a software platform for musicians, has raised some red flags as to how many clicks are actually being performed by humans.

When testing their ad system before the launch of the new Limited Run, the team noticed that 80% of the clicks seemed to be coming from bots rather than human Facebook members. Perplexed by these findings, the team signed up to number of reputable analytics sources, including Google Analytics and Click to further investigate this strange finding.

The results from all sources produced similar statistics, showing that 80% of the Facebook visitor clicks were not registering images from Limited Run’s site, indicating that it wasn’t being visited by a real person.

The idea that 80% of the clicks they were paying for were from bots was enough to drive the team to create their own analytics program for further investigation and findings showed that visitors were appearing on Limited Run’s servers as “non-standard” user agents.

Limited Run’s co-founder Tom Mango stated, “Essentially they were just not your standard Chrome / Firefox / Safari / IE / iOS user agents. They were things you would see with random crawlers and bots.”

Limited Run approached Facebook about this alarming evidence but found they were initially met with indifference from the company. This coupled with another disagreement where Mango says Facebook required the company to spend $2,000 to change their company Facebook name has led the company to completely erase their Facebook profile and rely on Twitter as their main social media outlet.

Facebook has responded stating they are actively working to ensure clicks are coming only from authentic Facebook users and that there was a miscommunication between agencies as Facebook does not charge for a page name change. To read Facebook’s full response and more about this story check out the details on TechCrunch.

24 September 2012


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