A series of studies were conducted on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, which all reach the similar conclusion—that up to 1/3 of all social media users are bots, duplicate accounts, or fakes.
While at first this conclusion may not seem relevant, it is of great concern for advertisers who are spending large sums of money on social media marketing campaigns. One of the primary selling points social media networks have for advertisers is how many “active users” they have on their site. However, with such a high level of bots and fakes, it is nearly impossible to gain an accurate understanding of just how many “real” active users each social media network has acquired.
While the numbers are just estimates, it is believed that approximately 100 million Facebook users aren’t real. And and untold – but presumably large – number of Twitter users are fake too.
What also has to be taken into consideration is that sometimes users create accounts on different social media networks and simply become inactive, but never closer their accounts.
So Where Should Advertising Dollars Go?
More than 1 in 4 UK adults seek out online product reviews prior to making a purchase, and that number doubles when you look at teenager’s ages 15 to 19. That being the case, many advertisers fear that the fake accounts, duplicate accounts, and bots are drastically skewing not only each social media networks user numbers, but also customer and product reviews.
Just consider for yourself how many times you have looked to see how many friends, followers, or “likes” a business, product, or brand has before you make a purchasing decision. You are not alone in this mindset, but if the majority of the friends, followers, or “likes are from bots or fakes, you are not making your decision based on sound information.
It is this the same concern that leaves many advertisers thinking twice before they invest their money in social media marketing.
While advertisers will still continue to invest in the leading social media networks, the potential for fakes and bots makes it increasingly difficult for new social media networks to generate ad revenue.