Are Facebook Likes Useless for Marketers?

Derek Muller, who has more than 1.1 million YouTube subscribers thinks the Facebook like is dead.

As Muller’s Facebook page got more likes, he saw his engagement percentage drop. And as a result, his posts were appearing on the News Feeds of fake accounts that had liked his page, but had never actually interacted with him.



The Real Story Behind the Facebook “Like”

Muller says, in this Mashable article, that “the like” is a quirk of the Facebook ecosystem that has emerged as a byproduct of how the News Feed has evolved to display content.

In other words, insincere likes have become all too common.

And since Facebook’s algorithm is built to reward posts that have a strong engagement with its users, the phony likes were making his legitimate posts look bad.

The Investigation

A 2012 BBC investigation highlighted the fake like phenomenon.


Facebook marketing has improved, however, according to Jeff Selig, CMO of social media marketing firm BostonMediaDomain.

“We gave up on [likes] ages ago,” Selig said. “If you take likes out of the equation and you are actually selling something, I think you’re better off. I think the days of the popularity contest are over.”

Facebook recently admitted, according to Mashable, that as much as 11.2 percent of its accounts are fake, but it did not publish any numbers to back up the fraudulent likes.

More on Muller’s Facebook Like Adventure

Muller contrasts Facebook’s business model with that of YouTube:

“YouTube is paid every time a creator’s video is viewed. That means it’s in YouTube’s interest that each of us reaches as many of our subscribers as possible because it’s financially beneficial to both of us,” Muller said. “Facebook has the opposite business model, where it’s not beneficial to them for us to reach our audience. They want to restrict our organic reach to make us pay for it.”


Facebook Speaks Out

A Facebook spokesperson said the company has worked to mend the Facebook “like” problem.

“Fake likes don’t help us. For the last two years, we have focused on proving that our ads drive business results and we have even updated our ads to focus more on driving business objectives,” a Facebook spokesperson wrote in an email to Mashable. “Those kinds of real-world results would not be possible with fake likes. In addition, we are continually improving the systems we have to monitor and remove fake likes from the system.”

Let us know about your experience with Facebook likes in the comments section below.

Comments are closed