Facebook Ad Disaster

Facebook Ad Disaster

You may have been given quite a few Facebook Ad tips by well-meaning friends or forum members. I just read one tip you should definitely avoid – and that’s creating a new Facebook account under a pen name for your business.

Let’s take the case of Walter (not his real name, of course.) Walter wanted to market and create a Facebook ad for a small game he had developed, since he knew that Facebook was an especially fertile ground for ads involving fun and entertainment. However, he found out that all Facebook ads are linked to personal profiles. His main Facebook profile presented him in a light that he felt would not sit well with his potential customer base, so he created another profile under the pen name he used for his blog (one he actually had registered at his bank so cheques could be made out to the pen name and cashed). In other words, it was perfectly legal with his bank to do business under that name.

Walter had taken great pains on that particular blog, without telling any outright lies, to allow readers to think of him as much younger than he was. He used a younger “tone”, and learned the right idioms to help him fit in with his niche’s 17-21-year-old age group. So to fit in with the blog, he gave his Facebook alter-ego a much more recent birthdate, and randomly typed in the name of a college he’d never attended.

9 months later, his game was just beginning to enjoy success. He had added some apps, created a Facebook group and had about 23,000 subscribers. The ad had been a definite success.

Then – disaster! Facebook somehow found out his profile was “fake”. It was promptly pulled.

So was his ad.

His 23,000 subscribers – and all his apps and data – disappeared… into thin air.

There was nothing Walter could do about it… except start all over from scratch.

Note that Walter had no intention of being dishonest – merely clever (and perhaps a little playful). “Fraud” never entered his head; and he had indeed checked to make sure that he was allowed to have more than one profile on Facebook. But what he didn’t was thoroughly read Facebook’s terms, in which Section 4, “Registration and Account Security” states up front that you have to provide your real name and information.

The very first point in the list states:

“1. You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.”

Not only was Walter’s pen name “false”, in Facebook’s eyes, but also his birthdate and college.

Now, whether you think that Walter was being fraudulent or whether you understand his intentions and agree with his viewpoint that it was “marketing”, it doesn’t matter. The point is, Walter lost months of hard work, 23,000 and a lot of money.

The fine print can be maddening – especially on Facebook, where sections seem to contradict each other, and definitive answers are often only found after accessing many pages (not all of them easily found).

But if you are going to invest that much time and money into a marketing and advertising campaign, it pays not to ignore that fine print.

The price – as Walter will ruefully tell you – is far too high.

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