There is a difference between traffic, and the perception of traffic.
At Luce Performance Group, we deal with many advertisers and their advertising challenges. Here is one that I personally took on who expressed his frustration with Facebook. He wanted to know why his competition had more "likes" than him. This wasn't just a few more likes. We are talking 50,000 versus 5,000. He also said his competition almost never posts on Facebook, while he is posting several times a day.
This client was convinced that more likes and more posts on Facebook would mean more sales. He went as far as to hire a guy to set up a dedicated Facebook presence for his product. Using an aggressive marketing and like-building campaign, he has done well to grow his Facebook page. He directs the traffic to a specific domain so we know the sales came from Facebook. Thus far it's been two months, 5,138 likes later, and not a single sale.
It's possible to pay companies to get you thousands of likes. But those likes don't mean anything if they are set up by fake profiles, and people who really have no interest in your product.
Even if you were to get 50K real likes from people truly interested in your product, you only have their attention while you are at the top of their newsfeed. Five seconds later, photos of someone's cat pushes your product post down.
Due to the way Facebook is constructed they don't allow direct third party graphics and links. On other sites you could use a beacon image to track your open rates. This is similar to how e-mail newsletters are tracked. Even with e-mail newsletters you are lucky to hit 20 percent open rates.
Just think how you would feel if you posted something on Facebook and realized that of the 100K likes you have only 50 people saw it. Your ability to reach new customers is based on those 50 people commenting or liking your post so that all their friends are potentially exposed to it. If no one likes or comments on your post, then nobody sees it. Plus, on Facebook various advertisements are trying to get visitors' attention on the right-side column of the page.
Instead of chasing likes on Facebook, focus on your own Internet properties. Focus on developing quality content that will engage your visitors. Facebook should only be used as a way to drive people back to your website where you DO CONTROL the advertising. When you do post to Facebook post something interesting. Simply showing your product and saying "Buy Today" doesn't get you far.
Keep these things in mind next time a client has focused the majority of their advertising budget on Facebook. Has your client actually measured the return on investment, or are they just buying advertising for the perception of traffic?
Some will say that branding is important, and that is true, but branding is also expensive and can take months, if not years, to start showing signs of progress. Don't use branding as the excuse for why advertising with your property costs more than it returns to the advertiser.
If an advertiser does not get a return on investment, they are unlikely to keep advertising. A good advertising mix where you dominate the "air" and the "ground" is always the most advantageous when it comes to dominating your competition.
Paul White is the Head of IT for Luce Performance Group and can be reached at Paul@luceperformancegroup.com or www.luceperformancegroup.com.
As seen on Radio Ink Headlines July 29, 2013.