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I started a Facebook page for my comics back in April... To build an audience, my friend recommended I advertise internationally. I immediately started gaining likes... the majority of them coming from the Middle East (Pakistan, Egypt).

However, I soon noticed several paradoxical things:

1) Fan base and comments

I would gain hundreds of likes to my page or promoted post, but the people who liked seemed to have "bot-ish" profiles- ex: names like "Gemini Queen", "Lovely Guru", Pinky Angel", etc. And their comments were equally as eyebrow-raising... often times pure gibberish or advertisements...

2) Liking/disliking trends

I've reached around 51k fans, 30% of them Middle Eastern. It seems at this point that there would be a higher virality of page likes (intuitively, if more people know about my page, they're more likely to share it with their friends... thus increasing virality)... but instead each week there's counterintuitive fluctuations of likes and dislikes.

3) Post propagation:

When I used to just post images onto my page, it'd get a decent % of pre-promotion reach (meaning, it'd reach a good amount of my fans before having to pay). But I recently just finished my own comics website and want to drive traffic there. So, instead of sharing the image, I'll share a link to that comic on my page. I noticed that Facebook seems unwilling to share that kind of post with people unless I pay more.

I'm wondering if someone can explain the way Facebook works. It seems ever since they've gone public there has been a lot of "sketchiness" going on. If these "fans" are bots, what's in it for the bot creators? I'm not paying them for anything, I'm paying Facebook... so where's the incentive to spam nonsense in the first place?

This article also provided some interesting insight on this, but never really answered my questions: http://www.fetzervalves.com/post/33503162498/facebook-promoted-posts-foreign-likes

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

If you're targeting those countries, your ad is probably performing better there because the CPC or CPM rates for those countries is lower, so your ad is getting more impressions there than in other countries you're targeting with higher rates

If you're NOT targeting those countries, it may be a bug.

As for the specifics you asked about:

1) That's likely a cultural thing, you're also self-selecting because the spammy users with fake names are more likely to seek out the posts to comment on than users you're actually trying to reach - try to target the ads more specifically to reach the users you actually want

2) Is there some reason the middle-eastern fans are likely to genuinely like and share your page, or are you assuming that because they clicked the ad they're more likely to actually want to interact with the content?

3) this is likely due to the domain you're sharing links to having no solid reputation built up - link shares are pretty viral in many cases (see george takei's page or posts from The Onion for US-centric examples) but it takes a while of people interacting with your site's content before facebook's algorithms understand that the content is 'good' and should be surfaced instead of other posts

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This YouTube video explains it better than anyone else can. When you pay Facebook, you end up getting a bunch of likes from foreign click farms, a lot of which are in the Middle East. So Facebook makes money and you actually end up worse off, since a smaller percentage of your likes are interacting with the page, which means that the Facebook algorithm shows your posts to fewer and fewer people.

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