Buying Facebook Likes Costs You Money While Reducing Real Likes And Fan Engagement

Facebook-unlikeBy Michael Brandvold @michaelsb of Michael Brandvold Marketing.

I have said a number of times you shouldn’t buy Twitter followers or Facebook likes because you aren’t buying real fans, you are just buying a number. Quite often you may be buying a fake account. Well I thought I would share a real example of someone who did buy some Facebook likes and the results of that purchase.

I am going to change the name of the artist, but this is all real data. I did a consultation call with Lyndsey last year and in reviewing her online world I suspected she might have purchased some YouTube views, Twitter followers and Facebook likes. When I asked she confirmed she had. Six months after the call Lyndsey contacted me because she was concerned because she was losing Facebook likes. So I did some research.

Looking back over a month of stats I noticed there was no significant increase in unlikes to the page. Actually most days she had 0 unlikes. Looking at the data I saw that people are not actually clicking unlike. In the last month only 4 people have clicked unlike. In the month prior only 3 have clicked unlike. You can view this data on your Facebook Insights Likes page. So people actually clicking unlike was not the cause of the dropping number of likes. My initial feeling was she was losing likes as part of an overall Facebook housecleaning of fake accounts. This seemed to be confirmed by the fact she had large numbers of likes in foreign countries such as Mexico, Bangladesh, Indonesia, India.

Lyndsey is a local artist from Arizona. Facebook over the last couple months had been deleting fake accounts, which in turn drops the like counts on any pages that had purchased likes. It is very likely this is what is happening, the purchased likes are being deleted. Those likes were never real people, they are often stolen or fake accounts. Facebook is just dong some housecleaning. Here is a link to a article about Facebook deleting fake accounts, http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/26/facebook-fake-accounts/

I counted at least 2000 likes that I suspected were fake accounts.

Here is a list of the top countries that Like the page: (remember Lyndsey is a local artist in Arizona)

  • 2,759 United States of America
  • 1,156 Mexico
  • 326 Bangladesh
  • 197 United Kingdom
  • 163 India
  • 48 Indonesia
  • 40 Philippines
  • 39 Canada
  • 36 France
  • 35 Brazil
  • 32 Spain
  • 29 Turkey
  • 21 Italy
  • 20 Egypt
  • 19 Azerbaijan
  • 18 Chile
  • 17 United Arab Emirates
  • 16 Hong Kong
  • 15 Nigeria
  • 14 Pakistan

I would expect to see the top cities for Likes to be Phoenix and regional to Phoenix. But below are the top cities for likes:

  • 1,122 Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
  • 511 New York, NY
  • 443 Los Angeles, CA
  • 272 Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • 198 Seattle, WA
  • 144 Miami, FL
  • 144 London, England, United Kingdom
  • 137 Dallas, TX
  • 122 Houston, TX
  • 61 San Diego, CA
  • 54 Denver, CO
  • 53 Chicago, IL
  • 52 Washington, DC
  • 49 Las Vegas, NV
  • 46 Chandigarh, India
  • 45 Brooklyn, NY
  • 41 Atlanta, GA
  • 34 Paris, Ile-de-France, France
  • 34 Superior, CO
  • 29 New Delhi, Delhi, India

All those likes from Mexico, Bangladesh and Indonesia will never talk about Lyndsey, and they will actually hurt her because Facebook saw 6000 likes but only 30 people talking, Four months after this analysis the number of likes has fallen from 6200 to 1800 with 48 people talking. It appears that all the purchased likes are disappearing. Of course you won’t get a refund on the money spent on buying those likes.

The total likes is not what is important. Very few people are actually talking about Lyndsey. This will only increase by developing a full content strategy of what you post EVERY day, and engaging with fans as they get more involved. But, engaging with REAL fans. You can’t engage with fake accounts.You want people talking about you. This is how you grow and get more fans. in Facebook’s analysis (EdgeRank) it says you are not interesting and your followers don’t like your content. The result of this will be Facebook not displaying what you do post to those who actually did like your page. So in the end you lost your money, you lost those fake likes and you actually hurt your ability to communicate with your real fans.


Share on:


  1. Great article! Thank you for being so transparent with the data. Such an important lesson for artists today.
    It should be noted that you can buy comments too, though. (You’d have to write out each comment one by one and send it to the company running the script)
    In turn it can look like the page is “alive” and when coupled with targeted ads, it lends itself to more real human likes due to the social proof. This is effectively what every major brand does, going viral and acquiring users is, in most cases, an adbuy.

  2. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t buy Facebook likes, but if you’re buying ads off Facebook and target them to only U.S. users, within a small margin of error you will get legitimate likes from real accounts. That’s more expensive, but you also will get real people instead of buying likes for $5 off of Fiverr (or the equivalent type of site that promises the world for real cheap).

  3. Glad to share Danny. I am sure many people who bought likes never thought they would actually lose them and end up back where they started, less a few hundred dollars.

  4. I’ve run into similar troubles. I actually targeted places like Indonesia and Pakistan back in the day because of how cheap it was, almost getting a penny a like. I didn’t care who was listening, I just wanted people listening (I run a music blog). Now though, I realize not many of those accounts were “listening.”
    How do you feel about Facebook’s promoted posts (or “Boost Post” now)? I’m seeing some potentially worthwhile results, but I have a feeling in a couple months I’ll hear a different story… like always ;·)

  5. Yeah… too bad some managers, booking agents, and even record labels will totally sign bands based on those numbers alone. Oh, and Gear companies will give bands endorsements based on fake numbers too! So, in some cases, even if they do end up losing numbers in the long term, it helps them in the short term and then it doesn’t even matter because the band got what they wanted… they faked their way to signing with a label, manager, booking agent and got some free gear… while other bands who have more self respect continue to work for it and get nothing because “their numbers are too low.” Awesome, eh?

  6. I’ve seen some bands do this successfully and some not. In and of itself, I don’t think that a band can buy total success merely for paying a few bucks for extra likes. However, I think that a new band that starts out with a handful of likes is at an unfair and significant disadvantage. Anybody checking out your Facebook page is going to see that you have very few likes and is going to use that as a social filtering signal to not even give your music a listen because they’ll say to themselves “Nobody else likes them so why should I?”. In that kind of situation, buying some likes to give yourself an initial boost can conceivably portray some kind of benefit just to give some people confidence to check you out. There are so many companies listed at BuyFacebookFansReviews that do this so I think its a fairly common practice that lends itself to some measure of success, even if its just a psychological boost for visitors that instills some confidence in you.

Comments are closed.