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Fraud ‘Likes’ Are Egg On The Facebook

02/12/2014

iStock_FacebookLikeHand-e1355880961312From the onset I have been skeptical of the ROI of social media. More specifically what is a Facebook ‘Like’ worth?

This perspective runs counter to nearly every agency or individual in marketing these days.

To some my skepticism makes me an old guy out of touch with today’s digital enlightenment. To others it makes me old school. To me it just makes common sense. I want to be able to connect the dots between an activity and sales.

I’m not suggesting social media should be avoided. It is difficult to argue with the opportunity for engagement. Rather my approach is to tolerate social media.

Today, my hunch about ‘Likes’ has been validated.

The video below, posted yesterday on the YouTube channel of Veritasium, a science video blog run by Sydney-based TV presenter Derek Muller, starts out with the story of VirtualBagel. For those of you who aren’t familiar with VirtualBagel (you must be so 1990’s) here’s the deal – VirtualBagel is a fictitious London bagel shop was set up on Facebook  by BBC correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones. Cellan-Jones bought ‘legit’ Facebook ads asking people to “like” it. He racked up more than 1,600 likes within 24 hours, but curiously, most of them were coming from places like Indonesia, India, Egypt and the Philippines.

But back to the video below. Muller calmly, clearly, succinctly – in the manner of your best high school science teacher – explains his own more recent discouraging experience with advertising on Facebook to gain Facebook fans.

Anybody who questions the value of Facebook likes — and the wisdom of spending money to grow fan “communities” on Facebook — will want to watch this video. And then you can say ‘Thank you, Rick’!

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