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Facebook 'Likes' - What are they worth?

facebook-likes
By On May 15 2013 Insights With 0 Comments Permalink

So the other day, somewhere between my third caffeine hit and trying to keep up with the torrent of information that is my inbox, something caught my attention. Facebook-related things usually perk my interest, but more so recently as here at XCOM we run a lot of successful competitions on FB. When briefed by the client, the objectives of these competitions very often include increased social presence, fan interaction, sharing and making that ‘like’ ticker roll higher and higher.

As a measure of success in a campaign it can leave many wondering as to what is the actual use? What is the actual worth? I figure there is a threshold for social cred – if you’ve only got 5 likes vs 5000. There is an immense gap in social proofing of the brand.

However, what’s the value of making that number jump from 5k to 10k? From 10k to 100k? Well a recent study by Syncapse, a social intelligence firm would argue that Facebook fans spend more on brands they have liked – $116 a year more than non fans actually. They were also almost 20% higher for brand satisfaction, and 11% more likely to buy more of that brands products. Somehow, no doubt using some fancy calculations they figured that your likes equate to a dollar value of just under $175.

Now if I was to tell my client who just hit 100k in FB likes that their like counter was worth $17.5M, not only would they call me crazy but they would also prefer that in cold hard capital – not intangible digital ‘likes’.

A final point worth noting is that a big part of the value of large fan lists depends on engagement, a quality vs quantity argument if you will. In my humble learned opinion, 100 engaged fans interacting and taking into account Facebook’s inherent sharing structure, promoting your brand, are far more valuable than 1000 unengaged users. In fact, according to a study by Napkin Labs, found that as a brand’s fans increased, engagement actually had the potential to decrease; brands pages with 900,000-1,000,000 fans had 60 percent less engagement than brand pages with 500,000-600,000 fans. Add to that the a brand’s most engaged fans, or superfans, have a greater influence than the brand’s quantity of fans.

The key take away from all this is while Facebook ‘Likes’ are great and should be part of any applicable campaign KPIs, a healthy focus on actively engaging in richer social media experiences and building brand super-fans, rather than just targeting your Facebook ‘Like’ counter growth will likely pay far better dividends.