Blog

Why we don’t like click farms

March 14, 2019

By Jon Horsley and Ellie Glason

Click farms have been on our radar for some time, but when the following video, first tweeted by Jamie Bartlett https://twitter.com/JamieJBartlett, was passed around the Ginger Comms office we were enthralled.

To see the inside of an actual “click farm” in China – where hundreds of phones are set up and connected to social media, ready for someone (who is paid a pittance) to click “like” on whatever content they are instructed to – was fascinating.

And it’s not limited to Chinese click farms, or taking place entirely out of sight. Here’s a picture of a vending machine in Russia at which passersby can pay 50 roubles to get 100 likes on Instagram. You can’t get much more public than that.

The tactics of false engagement are obviously letting down consumers, brands and may have serious political consequences beyond steadily chipping away at the validity of social media and influencer activity. People just do not trust social content much – it’s entertaining, but not reliable.

And as many of us know, there simply aren’t reliable metrics to judge the value of your social media content.

The academic paper: Successful Social Media Measurement From an Agency Standpoint by Emily Cray states:

Most commonly, the favored metrics are “vanity metrics,” such as #tweets, “likes”, shares or mentions. These metrics show interaction with the brand, but are more insightful when converted into rates like share per post or retweets per tweet (i.e. amplification rate). These rates can potentially help advertisers understand the reach of the channel.

So unreliable vanity metrics combined with false engagement activity equals a big problem with social media platforms for brands.

One of the reasons why we think 2019 is the year of earned media. Traditional media relations remains a solid, robust and trustworthy pillar of any PR campaign, and one brands should continue to rely on for communication of their key messages.

Other posts

THINK SOCIAL: DON’T MISS A TRICK WITH CONSUMER RESEARCH

June 14, 2019

At GingerComms, we’re best known for creating and executing consumer research projects for traditional media.

As a team of ex national news journalists and seasoned PR practitioners, we know how to hit the sweet spot of what brands what to say and what the media will want to cover.

Yet consumer research is also perfect collateral for social activation, especially when used as the basis for graphics, animations and videos.

Read more

WHY WE WHITE LABEL

June 3, 2019

Our role at Ginger Comms is to help PR agencies garner kickass newsgen results for their clients – it’s as simple as that.

Read more

HERE ARE THREE SURPRISING WAYS YOU CAN MAKE JOURNALISTS’ LIVES EASIER IF YOU’RE A PR

May 8, 2019

Being a journalist isn’t that fun anymore. Gone are the days of boozy lunches, huge expense accounts and an unquestioned position of authority in society. Staff numbers are shrinking and so is the amount of time each reporter has to spend on a story. We want to do a good job, the industry is full of hacks who have pride in what they produce, but it is getting tougher.

Read more