Facebook Advertising Issues: Click-Bombers

By: Dusty Arlia
Published on February 24, 2012
Last Updated on Wednesday, July 08, 2015 at 10:30 PM
Total Updates: 3

With the Facebook IPO looming, I have came across a major issue with Facebook's advertising. After their IPO, Facebook is projected to be worth somewhere between $75 and $100 billion. The value of their company is determined by many factors. One of the largest components is their advertising revenue which made about $3.2 Billion in 2011 and is projected to make about $5.06 billion in 2012.

As of February 20th, I thought I would start some Facebook advertising campaigns. Advertising online is something I'm not new to. In the past I have used Google which I have been extremely satisfied with, but felt the need to do some additional advertising.

Through my advertising experience with Google, I encountered what is known as click-bombing. Click-bombing is when you have clicks on your ads, but you determine that these clicks are fraudulent. The motivation behind click-bombers might be one of the following:

  • To deplete your advertising budget
  • Lockout your account with an advertising agency if you are the person to benefit from the ad revenue
  • Someone who might have a financial interest with the advertising company
  • Not click-bombing: Accidental ad clicks (becoming more common with touch screen mobile devices)

The reasons for click-bombing might have some other explanations. In fact, to prove that your ad clicks have been done in a malicious way can be hard. It's possible to misinterpret people who click on your ad multiple times and people with bandwidth or browser issues as click-bombers. People who jump to the conclusion of click-bombers or advertising fraud might not take some of these factors into account.

The only way to determine if you ad traffic is fraudulent or not is to investigate your website analytics. Analytics from your website can be compared to your Ad metrics. If you are getting billed for a 1,000 ad clicks and your website records only 300 visits, then something is going on. This information requires a closer look.

Most website owners program analytic software into their web pages. This software will be the leading indicator that something suspicious is going on. When the discrepancy in ad clicks to actual visits is determined, check your server logs to confirm the issue. You should do this because your web page analytics might not count visits where the web page wasn't loaded all the way.

After advertising the last four days with Facebook, I have determined that there is some sort of fraudulent activity going on. Who is to blame for my fraudulent ad clicks, I don't know? I have tried to get a hold of Facebook support, but I haven't heard a response yet.

Take a look at the traffic data and you will agree that there are some serious issues with Facebook advertising:

3,011 Ad clicks

929 Visits on my webpage

These numbers should be the same or close to it. I can understand my analytics software missing a couple of visits because the page did not load fully, but this is a large discrepancy. But hold on, it gets worse. The page that should have received 3,011 visits is the introduction page for my study flash cards. On this page is a link that says "click here" to start the flash cards. This link was clicked 6 times.

It gets even worse. The 3,011 ad clicks is what I got billed for. The 929 visits is what my webpage recorded. Those 929 visits could have been from other places beside Facebook. Those visitors could have come from search engines or other ads that I have running. So the actual Facebook traffic could be lower. And as far as the 6 visitors who actual even looked at my flashcards, I can't even be positive if they were from Facebook ad traffic.

This might not be fraud on Facebook's part, but this definitely proves that this company has huge issues with the quality of their ad traffic. Personally this low quality of traffic isn't worth it to me and should not be worth it to any company.

Hopefully when Facebook goes public they can work out some of these issues. It wouldn't be too hard to determine the click-bombers and assign their clicks to no-charge for advertisers. Facebook advertising just needs to improve and quickly. Issues with their advertising don't go unnoticed. Just Google "Facebook advertising scam" and you will come across others that are having the same issues.