Social Media

5 Ways to Avoid Fake Likes with Facebook Ads

If you advertise on Facebook, there is a good chance that you’ve seen Derek Muller’s video about The Facebook Fraud. If you hadn’t the chance, it paints a well-known reality for marketers, revealing that an alarming number of likes generated from legitimate Facebook fan acquisition campaigns come from fake accounts. This in turn undermines your real social significance and your return on investment:

The video investigates the ploy used by click farms, organizations that unscrupulously offer a high number of “Likes” often at a ridiculous price. Unfortunately, these likes come from profiles that cannot bring any commitment to your Facebook page, and ultimately to your brand.

Click farms robots also click on authentic Facebook ads to dilute the appearance of clicking only on pages they are programmed to “Like”. This activity results in bringing an army of fake fans, decreasing your rate of engagement and forcing advertisers to pay more to increase the reach of their Facebook campaigns with “natural” fans.


How can you avoid fake fans? One the greatest features in Facebook Ads is that it allows you to target your audience in an ultra-precise way. Why not avoid targeting options where there is more chance of receiving fake”likes” and drill down to find the real users that present real value to your business. Here are 5 possible ways to do it:

1. Use Remarketing

The Facebook remarketing tool is an attractive feature that allows advertisers to show ads to people who already visited your website or app. There is no doubt that users who already visited your website are authentic and more likely to interact with your brand. This in turn increases the click through rate of your ad. The remarketing tool also serves as vote of confidence in the authenticity of the like.

2. Use Custom Audiences

Custom Audiences is another interesting option to resolve the problem of fake fans. It allows advertisers to target sets of users with whom they have already established a relationship outside of Facebook. Custom Audiencez can be defined by email lists or phone numbers from an advertiser’s database. Facebook then links this data to users from its database, allowing advertisers to target users that are linked to those emails or phone numbers. The “Likes” generated from this will be authentic, because they are taken from your database and include customers who have already engaged with your brand.

3. Use Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike Audiences can target new people who might be interested in your brand because of their similarity to Custom Audiences. This option is a very good way to increase the size of your target, but make sure to use the “optimize for similarity” option when creating your Lookalike audience (as opposed to “optimize for greater reach”). The reach of this audience may be smaller, but it will be precise, and ensure you don’t open the door to false accounts.

4. Target friends of fans

Your true fans have real friends. Targeting them is the best way to filter out fake accounts. Although Facebook has announced that it would withdraw Sponsored Stories beginning in mid-April, it is still possible to target friends of fans solely in your ads.

Unless you already Facebook Ads fan acquisition campaigns without being careful and your page is already infested with fake profiles, targeting friends of fans is always an optimal option.

5. Avoid targeting uniquely by Interests

It is possible to target users by interest when reaching people who have expressed an interest (like or interacted with pages) related to brands, topics or specific personalities.

For instance, if you are a digital marketing agency, you assume that by targeting Facebook users with interest in «digital marketing» you’ll be able to join pertinent audience of people interested in your brand. As you may have guessed, by doing so, you’re also opening your page to fake accounts that could see and click on your ads.

The Interests targeting option is more useful when we combine it with more reliable audience targets such as Friends of Fans or Custom Audiences, for example.

Case Study: Toon Boom

Toon Boom, a leading animation software company, was interested in expanding it’s Facebook reach and turned to iProspect to generate a paid social campaign for a period of one month.

Toon Boon’s initial goal was to increase its Facebook fan base and to join a very targeted public of animation industry. We had to ensure that their fans were engaged, relevant and authentic.

Although we know that the number of fans on a Facebook page is not the most valid KPI, the acquisition of a relevant fans was a priority for Toon Boom as the company occupies fairly specific niche. Taking into account the five factors discussed in the article, we identified the best tactics to target audiences and the types of ads that would be most relevant for each target.

The results exceeded the expectations of the client: in less than 30 days over 11,000 new quality fans were acquired with a cost per fan falling below $0.40.

The results had also direct impact on the overall digital performance of the client. In fact, in 30 days, we recorded an increase of nearly 60 % of visits from Facebook, while the number of new visits to the site increased by nearly 35 % compared to February. At the same time, income generated on site have increased by 16 % comparing the previous month.

Final Words

In short, it is important to see Facebook as an opportunity not only to build your fan base, but also to increase your traffic to your website our email data list. The more people visit your website or subscribe to your newsletter, the more likely you will be able to target a relevant and authentic audience. It is important to do it through the most reliable sources such as remarketing or Custom Audiences and diminish your reliance on Interests.

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