Facebook is a Numbers Game!

The race to get Facebook fans mesmerizes clients. I guess because its easy to measure and a pure ego thing.

But just as I was getting geared up to talk my clients out of massive acquisition efforts, Dan Zarella, my favorite data wonk, showed up with hardcore data to suggest that Facebook like TV is all about getting eyeballs; lots of ‘em.

Zarella makes two persuasive points. First, he argues that the combination of natural Facebook behavior (friends first, brands last) combined with the impact of the EdgeRank algorithm seriously degrades the reach and impact of brand messaging on Facebook.

econd he ran regressions on a year’s worth of data for two popular Facebook brand pages and found that there was no correlation between engagement (comments and likes) and page views. This basically zaps the current rage to create more and more content which, according to the conventional wisdom, drives more engagement which yields reach and impact among target customers.

But Zarella proves that content does NOT drive page views or extend reach.

That leaves us back at the race for fans. The more fans you get for your page, the greater number of messages that are likely to get thru the human and mechanical filters.

Consider the NewsFeed math …. Assume you have 1 million fans.

  • If the average fan has 229 friends, you can potentially earn 229,000,000 free impressions in an ideal world if 100% of your brand posts end up on the Walls of every one of your fan’s friends.
  • BTW, this NEVER happens.
  • 10% of fans opt to “hide” your posts. So instantly, your net potential impressions are 206 million.
  • Most fans visit your brand page just once. The average brand has just 25% active fans, those who have clicked or visited the page in the last thirty days. This being the case your reach shrinks to 51 million impressions.
  • Then factor in EdgeRank which essentially filters OUT all but 10% of fans based on their interactions with your posts and your branded page on Facebook.
  • That leaves your net reach potential at a mere 5 million impressions.

The potential huge number of free earned impressions now becomes just a trickle. Therefore rather than focus on social CRM and enriching the experience or enabling more engagement, brands who want to drive awareness, preference and loyalty need to amass large fan bases to insure that enough of their messages get through to activate and motivate their fans to impact on their business objectives.

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