Ever since first seeing the video "Facebook Fraud" by YouTuber Veritasium (embedded below), I knew I had to act or at least analyze the situation of our TweakTown page. Veritasium basically claims that Facebook likes, whether bought legitimately or illegitimately, are not worth it - and can actually hurt your page and how far its posts reach people on the social website.
Veritasium in his popular video identified several countries that are known to host click farms - a new-age kind of factory that pays employees around one US dollar for liking 1,000 pages. Are you going to pick up that $1 off the ground now? Anyway, the video goes on to say your Facebook ads are still shown to those people who work in the click farms and to maintain their legitimacy, those people will like regular ads, no matter whose they are.
Some of these people like more than 5,000 pages and will never engage with your page or more importantly the posts you make. And Facebook's EdgeRank rewards posts with higher engagement, and hence the post will end up being seen by more people, thus giving you better chances of someone visiting your website and reading your content, or buying something.
So, with that information in hand, I spent most of the day today trying to figure out what to do about this. We at TweakTown have spent quite a bit of money with Facebook over the years to help grow our Facebook page, and we also run global giveaways, where anyone in the world can enter. Initially, for testing, I went and blocked the countries straight away that Veritasium mentioned in his video - Bangladesh, Egypt, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. However, after further thinking, I thought surely that it wouldn't be the case for all pages. Sure, some pages may see a higher percentage of non-engaged fans from those countries, but I thought there had to be a better way to confirm this and use more accurate figures, relevant to our TweakTown page.
Well, here is a potential fix to improve your Facebook page EdgeRank. Now, I've only just figured this out and ran the numbers, but I have a feeling it could work out well for increasing our page post reach based on comments I've read and heard since Veritasium's video went live. Head on over to your page's "Insights" area and click on the "People" tab at the top right. The first sub-tab you see is "Your Fans", which is the total number of your fans by country. Then click on "People Engaged", this is a very important page because it shows you the number of people engaged with your posts in the past 28 days.
Now you want to calculate the percentage of engaged people by country. I've done so, here are TweakTown's actual figures as of less an hour ago for our top 10 countries:
- 35,329 Pakistan fans / 663 fans engaged (1.9%)
- 13,526 Bangladesh fans / 460 fans engaged (3.4%)
- 8,905 India fans / 615 fans engaged (7%)
- 6,194 Philippines fans / 1,307 fans engaged (21%)
- 5,680 USA fans / 2510 fans engaged (44%)
- 2,947 Indonesian fans / 192 fans engaged (6.5%)
- 1,137 UK fans / 353 fans engaged (31%)
- 1,062 Vietnam fans / 54 fans engaged (5%)
- 1,034 Australian fans / 514 fans engaged (50%)
- 932 Canadian fans / 380 fans engaged (41%)
These figures, once digested, are rather compelling. I've immediately blocked people in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam from viewing our page and posts. I would also recommend going through all countries, even if small, because if Facebook decides to sample your post to people in a country (even with not a lot amount of fans) that have low engagement, it could really harm the reach. With the help of a friendly Facebooker from Pakistan, we can also confirm that if you block by country in your Facebook page settings (Country Restrictions), it will stop people from those countries viewing your page and posts, whether logged in or out of Facebook. That's something I wondered anyway and wanted to be sure about.
The idea here of course is that by blocking those low engagement countries, hopefully your overall engagement will increase vastly, and with the way Facebook works, your posts will (should) start being seen by more people. Not only that, if you are an online publisher like TweakTown that relies on display advertising for revenue, you are drawing in fans from developed countries such as USA, Canada and Australia that pay a higher CPM per visitor than some of those blocked, lesser-developed countries. It's kind of like a win / win situation, if it all works out as discussed here. I was excited and wanted to get this blog post out ASAP to share these details.
It will be interesting to see what happens. I plan to manually analyze our page engagement and also use tools like EdgeRankChecker to see if these moves of blocking certain countries actually helps or not, but I suspect it will - it's just a matter of time to find out. I will report back again once I have meaningful figures to present you with.