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Advertiser Claims 80% of Facebook Ad Clicks are From Bots

April 11, 2018

 

Advertiser Claims that 80% of Facebook Ad Clicks Come From Bots

Last month, we reported that the click-through rates on Facebook Ads average a dismal 0.04%, which is approximately 10x less than the equivalent display ad on the Google Display Network.

Today, e-commerce store builder Limited Run is claiming that 80% of the clicks paid for could not be verified! The company is so unhappy with the results on recent Facebook ad tests, they're deleting their Facebook page entirely.

Limited Run claimed that 80% of clicks that they were being charged for came from users who didn’t have JavaScript turned on. As of late 2010 the number of users who did not have JavaScript turned on in the US was only 2%. Seeing this information, Limited Run allegedly built their own analytics software that found 80% of the clicks were coming from bots. The company claims bots were loading pages to drive up advertising costs.

The company’s Facebook post states:

“Hey everyone, we're going to be deleting our Facebook page in the next couple of weeks, but we wanted to explain why before we do. A couple months ago, when we were preparing to launch the new Limited Run, we started to experiment with Facebook ads. Unfortunately, while testing their ad system, we noticed some very strange things. Facebook was charging us for clicks, yet we could only verify about 20% of them actually showing up on our site. At first, we thought it was our analytics service. We tried signing up for a handful of other big name companies, and still, we couldn't verify more than 15-20% of clicks. So we did what any good developers would do. We built our own analytic software. Here's what we found: on about 80% of the clicks Facebook was charging us for, JavaScript wasn't on. And if the person clicking the ad doesn't have JavaScript, it's very difficult for an analytics service to verify the click. What's important here is that in all of our years of experience, only about 1-2% of people coming to us have JavaScript disabled, not 80% like these clicks coming from Facebook. So we did what any good developers would do. We built a page logger. Any time a page was loaded, we'd keep track of it. You know what we found? The 80% of clicks we were paying for were from bots. That's correct. Bots were loading pages and driving up our advertising costs. So we tried contacting Facebook about this. Unfortunately, they wouldn't reply. Do we know who the bots belong too? No. Are we accusing Facebook of using bots to drive up advertising revenue. No. Is it strange? Yes. But let's move on, because who the bots belong to isn't provable.”

WordStream has attempted to contact the Facebook PR department regarding the allegations and has not yet received a response at the time of this writing.

Earlier this month, it was reported that more than 50 million fake Facebook accounts are bots created solely for the purpose of liking pages. Also this month, the BBC set up a fake bagel company that got 3000 likes from fake fans from a $10 ad campaign. Facebook advertising seems to have a problem with click-fraud and bots!

What are your experiences with the quality of traffic from your Facebook advertising? Is anyone else seeing this? (What the heck is going on with Facebook ads?!) Write your comments below!

UPDATE - August 2, 2012: Facebook has officially confirmed that 83 Million of their accounts are fake accounts/bots.

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Larry Kim

Larry Kim

Larry Kim is the founder of WordStream and CEO of MobileMonkey, a chatbot building platform.