As part of its quarterly earnings call, Facebook reported that the company has seen an increase in mobile use as its smartphone and tablet applications become more advanced. While this represents a strong opportunity for companies to boost social media marketing engagement, another revelation from the company sent a red flag to some. Facebook announced that it believes 8.7 percent of its accounts are fake, with people creating dummy profiles.
Still, many of these “fake accounts” still have real people behind them – and the company offers access to more consumers in spite of some spam accounts.
According to previous earnings reports, 8.7 percent is an increase from fake accounts documented in March, when the company said between 5 percent and 6 percent of profiles weren’t real. Moreover,Facebook found 4.8 percent of accounts these fake accounts are duplicates, 1.5 percent are “undesirable” (or spam) and the rest are likely “misclassified.”
Facebook said most of the “fake” accounts aren’t particularly malicious, with some standing as parodies or profiles for users’ pets. However, the issue of spam accounts or others created solely for unethical purposes is something the company is taking seriously. For marketers, the problem of phony accounts can inflate fan counts and other metrics.
Also, Facebook identified some other reasons contributing to the 8.7 percent of phony accounts. According to the report, some marketers are still maintaining profiles for their businesses instead of using Pages, which puts their marketing efforts at a major disadvantage on top of the issues it causes Facebook.
Marketers will still find opportunities for meaningful engagement with prospects on Facebook, as the company’s 900 million strong user base continues to grow with actual users – fueled in large part by mobile audiences.
In terms of its mobile growth, Facebook has dealt with criticism in the past for poor performance from mobile apps. Brafton reported in February that 425 million people accessed Facebook’s various mobile applications. Growing to more than 540 million is a strong indication of the company’s improvements in mobile technology as well as the growing significance of social marketing to target smartphones users.
A mobile presence powered by content marketing for social and search reach can help companies appeal to the burgeoning smartphone web user base, which has seen consistently strong adoption in 2012. Brafton recently highlighted a report from comScore that found nearly half of feature phone users who have made new phone purchases in 2012 have upgraded to smartphones. Separate data from comScore said that more than 110 million Americans currently own smartphones, and accessing social media and web content are among the most popular uses of these devices.