Spot a Facebook Ad Scam

This week we were approached by one of our clients with a question. The client had received an email from a Manchester-based SEO company offering their services promoting businesses using Facebook adverts. The proposal put forward by the SEO company was very attractive and the client wanted to know if we could provide a similar service. The answer was no.

Having been forwarded the original email from the SEO company we were able to dig into their proposal's claims a little more. Some stood out to us straight away as suspicious - most of the Facebook advertising services they were claiming to provide are simply not possible. We've seen an increasing number of unsolicited emails offering Facebook advertising services and so below we've answered some FAQs about what exactly can and cannot be done when using Facebook as an advertising platform.


Q: Can I target my ad only at 'Grade A' Facebook users?

A: No. This was one of the claims made by the aforementioned SEO company. Apparently 'Grade A' users are those that view Facebook at least twice a day - if Facebook collect this information they do not share it with advertisers and so you will not be able to target ads at users in this way.

Q: A company has promised me access to stock imagery to use in the Facebook ads they run for me - is this a good deal?

A: This is not a good deal if they are charging this as an extra. Facebook allows all advertisers access to Shutterstock's stock images for free, when used in Facebook ads. 

Q: I want to be the only business in my sector advertising to my audience

A: Sorry, not possible. We've seen companies boasting 'exclusive rights', but Facebook advertisers have no way to control which other companies are also advertising to their target market. If you scroll through your Facebook feed you will see that there are numerous ads targeted to you all at the same time - it's likely that some of those will be from the same sector. 

Q: Can my advert's bid be based on number of users seeing my ad rather than number of clicks?

A: Yes! This is called bidding based on Cost per Impression rather than on Cost per Clicks. Facebook will charge a certain amount (depending on your advert budget, reach and settings) each time it is seen by 1000 people rather than each time someone clicks. This is a good way to ensure your ad is seen by a wide audience. 

Q: Can my adverts be targeted to users in real time using data from status updates and posts?

A: The company we mentioned earlier alleged to be able to 'pick up on key words and phrases used in status updates, comments and chat function, and use this information to place your advertising directly in front of these individuals in real time'. This is tricky as Facebook does share 'keywords from your stories' with advertisers. However this claim implies that as soon as a user posts about dogs, they could see an advert for a dog groomer - rather, Facebook uses a range of data sources to build up a general picture of a Facebook user to target ads. Also, contrary to this company's claims, Facebook's privacy policy doesn't state that it uses keywords from Facebook Messenger to advertise.

Q: Well, what data can I use to target my adverts then?

A: Facebook offers many targeting options for advertisers including age, relationship status, birthday, location, gender, and mobile / desktop user. You are also able to target based on interests (e.g. hiking, spa, technology) - this data is gathered from information that users add to their profiles. This includes films they've watched, any interests added, and Pages they've liked.


Facebook ads can be a great way to target a specific audience at a relatively low cost. If you are interested in this, we are able to run Facebook ad campaigns for all our clients (and we don't offer any false claims!) - get in touch.