Explained: What are Click Farms?

A click farm is the name given to a group of low-paid workers, often in impoverished countries such as Bangladesh, hired to click on advertising in order to simulate web traffic. Typically, someone seeking a ‘quick fix’ for their unimpressive social media account may resort to buying followers over the internet, and this money goes to a click farm where likes and follows are harvested. These enterprises are often difficult for authorities to detect as the click farm user’s behaviour is the same as that of a legitimate visitor. Research shows 31% of consumers will first check social media statistics (such as number of likes or followers) before they choose to buy something, meaning click farms could play a significant role in promoting brands by misleading would-be consumers about their popularity.

“A like that doesn’t come from someone truly interested in connecting with the brand benefits no one”

Click-farms can request as little as $15 per 1000 clicks, with workers typically paid $1 for every 1000 clicks. Twitter has sought to clamp down on these ‘fake-clicks’, deleting accounts associated with the activity. Facebook has also made its stance clear by stating: “A like that doesn’t come from someone truly interested in connecting with the brand benefits no one. If you run a Facebook page and someone offers you a boost in your fan count in return for money, our advice is to walk away – not least because it is against our rules and there is a good chance those likes will be deleted by our automatic systems.”

While brands may see ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ as important statistics in their social media strategy, it is the quality of engagement that is key to high and sustained ROI. Our 5 stage fan engagement model shows that the ultimate aim for brands should be to mobilise consumers and create a fully loyal and retained fan base. These types of insights show why it is key for brands to hire experts to manage their social media activity. Buying likes from click farms actually dilutes a brand’s message and will certainly not help encourage fans to engage with them.