Operation Unlike – Are you losing Facebook Fans?
Have you lost some Fans beginning September 25, 2012? We at IMEG have been tracking this since September 25, 2012 and for most of our clients it seems Facebook has been cleaning house. We see the greatest fan decline on September 25, 26 and 28 as of today September 30th as you can see from the chart below.
You yourself may have experienced a small dip in the total likes on your Facebook page in the last couple of days and yes, it does mean that people are fleeing your page. Why have you suddenly lost so many? The Fans fleeing from your page aren’t actually what Facebook is calling real Fans and this is actually part of Facebook’s efforts to clean up fake or inactive accounts.
On Thursday morning, Zynga’s Texas HoldEm Poker page had lost almost 200,000 Likes since Tuesday, according to Facebook analytics site PageData. Pop star Lady Gaga lost about 66,000 during that same two-day span, and “The Simpsons” dropped about 21,000 Fans.
Late in August 2012, Facebook announced a site-wide purge of what they call fake Likes. These Likes, Facebook says, could be ones derived from malware, fake accounts, compromised accounts, duplicate accounts, bulk purchases, and accounts that may have not been verified or signed into in many months or perhaps years. This suggests that the fake accounts can be and are essentially dead profiles that have an associated Like but don’t interact.
Below is what Facebook says about this latest effort to clean house.
“A Like that doesn’t come from someone truly interested in connecting with a Page benefits no one. Real identity, for both users and brands on Facebook, is important to not only Facebook’s mission of helping the world share, but also the need for people and customers to authentically connect to the Pages they care about. When a Page and fan connect on Facebook, we want to ensure that connection involves a real person interested in hearing from a specific Page and engaging with that brand’s content.
Facebook was built on the principle of real identity and we want this same authenticity to extend to Pages,” said the company in a security note in August.
What do we think at IMEG?
We feel a little different about this. We understand for news purposes calling something fake or fraudulent gets more reads and click-throughs for certain. So here is our take on what they are really doing. We manage many accounts and have never bought fake Fans. We get them from people opted in from invites or from ads. We are 100% certain we have never done bulk purchases or anything like it. But we are seeing that our accounts are still losing on average about 112 Fans in this recent process. We think this is an anti-spam effort also. We do believe they are cleaning up fake accounts, accounts not logged into for a very long time and possibly never validated for sure. But we also think and have some evidence they are cleaning up people who have not engaged with your account in a very long time or if ever after you gained them as a fan. We do not see this as a big risk for any of our clients as we have not seen any client lose more than .009%.
Facebook said pages that have been abiding by its rules should expect no more than a 1% dip in Likes. Even Zynga’s big drop represented only roughly .3% of the more than 65 million people who like that poker page. So with us averaging .009% we feel we are doing very well and not very concerned but will keep a watch out for this for our clients.
The Good News
If all of this means getting rid of spam… this is good!
If it means getting a more accurate measurement of your audience and interaction…this is good!
If it means having a better understanding of where you stand with your Facebook marketing efforts… this is good!
Once again, you can’t hide now. Strip away the fraudulent activities that have provided a false sense of security and you may not like what you see.
But it’s true.
We’ll never completely get rid of spam and all of these shady methods of manipulating data, but the less you run the more you can focus on tangible — not imagined — success.
So why is this good? It will be nice to look at your Likes and know that you earned them! It also means that they’re people who are there for the picking and when you get “X” interactions, it’s because they actually cared.
It means that we’ll be able to run ads without feeling cheated when we notice that we spent a large chunk of our Facebook ad dollars on fake profiles.
A lesson to learn from this
Be sure you only get Fans that are target market exact match of people who do business with you. Also, be sure you engage with them in a way that they will be excited to engage back with you and share your content with their friends as will as “Like” your postings. This seems very basic and simple, but most companies on Facebook do not take this approach due to the lack of understanding that social media is not a channel to be treated like email, online ads, or any other push media channel. Social media is a 2 way conversation and it is critical that you engage and LISTEN to your Fans.
If you are a legit user, as in a real human being and not a spam bot, you don’t have anything new to worry about, personally. In fact, you can breathe a little bit more easily since there should be a lot less spam on the social network. Even if you have done everything through ethical means, you will undoubtedly see some dips. This could mean that the way you evaluate performance in Facebook Insights will need to change.
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