Someone recently asked a question on the Digital Eve Israel mailing list about a problem they were having with a facebook ad they were trying to create. When creating a facebook ad, you can target very specific people according to various parameters including country, age, gender, and “Likes and Interests.” Likes and Interests refers to people who have expressed interest in things either by adding them to their profile as an area of interest, or by Liking a related Page.
This person wanted to target people who liked the facebook Page of a particular chain of stores in Israel. This brand has an official Page on facebook, as well as a bunch of unofficial ones. Their official page alone has over 14,000 fans, yet when the person selected that Page under Likes and Interests in the Facebook Ad dashboard, they were told that the estimated reach was less than 20 people. I tested this out, and the results were the same, no matter what country or age group I entered (including all ages):
I was determined to get to the bottom of this, so I started running a bunch of tests. Eventually I realized the following:
If the title of a facebook Page has Hebrew in it, the Estimated Reach number is much lower than the number of fans. In fact, the number is always 20 or less – this goes for sites with 50,000 fans and up. And having English and Hebrew in the title doesn’t help. However, if a Page’s title is in English, even if the content is completely in Hebrew the Estimated Reach is in line with the number of fans of the Page.
I wanted to see if this is a problem with non-latin languages in general on facebook, so I decided to test a page with Arabic in the title: Al Jazeera Channel. The Page has over 1.2 million fans. I tested the Reach for this channel in a bunch of countries with large Arabic speaking populations: Israel, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, United States, United Kingdom, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt. The Estimated Reach for those countries ranged from 20 to 180 at the most. When I added all these countries, the estimated reach maxed out at 240 people, which doesn’t really make sense.
So unless I’m missing something, which could be, it seems that Facebook Ads have a problem with Facebook Pages with titles in Hebrew or Arabic. Which makes you wonder if there are any other issues with Pages with titles that include Hebrew, Arabic, or possibly other non-latin languages like Chinese or Russian. And if that’s the case, maybe Page owners should use English titles wherever possible for now.