“We have also moved away from using Likes, comments, or engagement metrics to determine success for businesses.” – Facebook.com
by Hassan del Campo
Well, there you have it. Straight from the zebra’s mouth. While working through study materials for Facebook’s Blueprint Certification I came across the above. Now that’s interesting, I thought. Is Facebook reducing Likes to the dreaded ‘vanity metric’ category? And what does this mean for businesses with active Facebook Pages? Perhaps the better question is ‘Why is Facebook abandoning their own metric tools?’
It’s not like Facebook hasn’t had its fair share of challenges. Last year, for instance, Facebook announced that errors in its reporting produced some significantly skewed impressions of engagement across its Pages. And it happened at least three times. This is problematic – as Facebook is among the leading advertising platforms for digital marketers. These inaccuracies in metrics paint a misleading picture. So, does this mean
looks likes are deceiving? Not necessarily, but proceed with caution.
For starters, marketers and Facebook ad gurus will have to look to other more reliable methods to measure the true impact of their marketing campaigns. Sophisticated tools that can accurately and consistently capture the activity of users, from initial contact to purchase, will be in higher demand. Maybe this is not a bad thing after all. Online marketing expert Tony Guo has already predicted a shift in the industry towards more transparency. Even DJ Khaled would say the day soon come when marketers won’t be able to repurpose faulty metrics to report unfounded claims to their clients.
Secondly, on a superficial level, Facebook engagement signals have already been compromised. Consider for a moment that anyone can go to Fiverr and purchase Facebook Likes for all of $5. You might even receive some generic comments from foreign IP addresses. While it looks good to have a significant following it is best to not give in to the temptation of paid Likes from third parties. Why? We talk about it at length here. Think quality, not quantity. In short, purchasing Likes defeats the purpose of a system created with sincerity. If you purchase engagement, then what good are your metrics? And in case you’re wondering, Facebook is already familiar with this widespread tactic and has started to respond.
How can I get Likes to my Page?
Technically, you can still buy Likes (and kinda have to), directly from Facebook. Essentially, anytime you pay to boost a post or release an ad campaign to bring awareness to your Page or brand, you’re paying for engagement. On your Facebook landing page for your business, you will see Facebook explicitly offering you campaigns to earn more Likes and reach more audiences in your area. In order to reach more than the 1-5% of actual people that see your Page activity (including your followers), you have to open your wallet…or perhaps, sign into Google Wallet, would be more fitting. The other way requires more time and effort. It is the foundation for your marketing strategy and how well you are at activating channels on and offline to drive traffic to your Page.
Our thoughts? Don’t pay for Likes, even through Facebook. At the end of the day, you want engagement that will lead to a specific action. In other words, the goal should no longer be to gain Likes but to have people respond to a call-to-action.
$5 to boost a post so that it is seen by thousands may seem minimal. But, if there’s no action or incentive for a person to go beyond Liking or reading the post, it’s not that efficient and your ROI will suffer for it. For Facebook Pages to work for business your content must have mileage (reach) and CTAs that lead to conversions. Drive your paid campaigns to a button, landing page, or something beyond the vanity metric of a Like that may or may not translate into a new customer.
As for your current fans, they might not even be aware. In this case, not much will change in terms of perception – at least for now. But, once the culture of transparency in online marketing goes mainstream, expect the expectations of your customers and audience to change. Hint: start using best practices now so you don’t have to create excuses later.