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A blog post

Recent Study Evidences Less Than 0.5% Engagement on Facebook Pages

Posted on the 03 February, 2012 at 5:58 pm Written by in Blog, Digital Music Business, Marketing Tips, Piece of the Fame, Social Media Marketing, Trends

I read an article coming from Ad Age that confirmed the need for Piece of the Fame.  Even among large-footprint researchers, leading minds in the business of digital media and advertising don’t have all of their facts straight, and this article proved to be a prime example.  Half of it is correct and consistent with the metrics that I’ve seen across a number of Facebook Pages with which I’ve been involved, huge and not-so-huge: the truth is that if you include the initial “Like” only 1.5% of the Fans of a Page actually interact with that Page.  If you take the initial “Like” action out of the equation, that number drops precipitously to 0.45%.

And then the other half of the article was not correct and was inconsistent with the nature of Facebook.  A quote from the researcher that was included in this article, speaking on the engagement numbers:

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” said Karen Nelson-Field, senior research associate for Ehrenberg-Bass Institute who describes herself as a “Facebook advocate.” “People need to understand what it can do for a brand and what it can’t do. Facebook doesn’t really differ from mass media. It’s great to get decent reach, but to change the way people interact with a brand overnight is just unrealistic.”

I’m not going to make a comment on their data collection methods or the fact that they didn’t measure inbound traffic from links that may have been posted (they only used the “People Talking About This” feature to measure engagement), but what I will say is the conclusion above does not take into account Facebook’s use of EdgeRank, which is their algorithm that decides out of all the content posted on Facebook that your connected to, what you actually see in your Feed.  So, that means for a brand operating a Page on Facebook, essentially, if people don’t engage with your content on Facebook, they will never see your content.  It’s a bit of a vicious cycle. If you’re putting a ton of time and resources (in other words, $$$) into your Facebook marketing efforts, and you’re seeing results of under 0.5% engagement, that means that for all those Likes that you purchased at about $1.00 each on average, you’re getting essentially no return on your investment.  So, contrary to the above statement, a lack of engagement on Facebook is actually very bad because Facebook does differ from mass media, significantly.  An analogy would be, let’s say you watch CNN and every time a car commercial came on, you changed the channel.  Well, if CNN operated like Facebook, they would modify the commercials that you saw so that you specifically never saw another car commercial again, or any other commercial that made you change the channel.  Mass media is a one-size-fits-all model where all content, whether it be advertising or premium creative, is weighted equally and seen by the entire audience.  Facebook doesn’t do that.

I think that brands still have a long way to go in understanding what their efforts on Facebook mean in terms of real results.  Somebody paid that researcher above a lot of money for the conclusion that she reached…

To learn more about EdgeRank and what it means for brands on Facebook, pick up a copy of my book, Piece of the Fame: Rockstar Social Media Marketing Strategy for Everyone to Ignite Your Business, Career and Personal Brand on Amazon.  I tried to clear up a lot of this misunderstanding about what is actually going on with Facebook Likes, because it seems as if even the major research shops are still somewhat in the dark.  If you already have the book, discussion starts on Page 154.

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