The more Facebook fans you have, the less likely they are to engage

Over at AdAge, Comscore VP Andrew Lipsman discusses  a study by the Ehren-Bass Institute that showed that only  1% of Facebook fans actually engage with brands they follow on Facebook.

Essentially, the research said that 1.3% of Facebook fans like, post, comment, tag or share content from brands they follow.   In response, Andrew makes a parallel between measuring Facebook content by likes and measuring display ads by clicks, saying that by only looking at the 0.1% who clicked on the ad you ignore the 99.9% that saw it.

Secondly Andrew says that even a low incidence of likes can have a large impact citing previous research that showed “Starbucks fans and friends of fans spent 8% more and purchased 11% more frequently in-store than non-fans who were also Starbucks buyers.”  Note the emphasis on friends of fans as well as fans.

I’d raise another issue with the 1%  brand engagement figure.

The Ehren-Bass study involved the 200 largest brands on Facebook -  the Starbucks and Cokes of this world where a lot of the likes are purely incidental and quickly forgotten about.   There is in fact evidence that the larger your page, the less engaged your fans.

A PageLever study last year showed that the larger the Facebook page, the fewer the % that even *sees* items in your newsfeed

PageLever found that daily unique newsfeed impressions were 9.38 per 100 fans for pages that have between 1000-10,000 fans.    Once you go up to pages with a million fans though, daily unique newsfeed impressions drops to 2.79 per 100 fans.

Visibli came up with a similar study last year.   It  found that for brands and media organisations, pages with more fans received proportionally fewer likes per post (not the case though if you are an artist).  Engagement went down as likes went up

The other week Diageo marketer Philip Gladman said if you don’t have a million Facebook fans you should stick your budget in TV.   Leaving aside for the moment the issue of how far that TV money will even take you  the question should be why a million, and what are they going to do for you?

Arguably as some of the studies I mentioned have shown, working your way up to the big number may not always be the best tactic.   There may even be a case for keeping it small by breaking your communities down by product or interest group to get a series of smaller, but more committed groups.

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