Posted February 18, 2010 3:00 pm by with 9 comments

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Last month, Facebook announced a conversion tracker tool to help marketers determine the value of their efforts on the world’s most popular social network. The tool would help marketers track conversions (obviously) and determine the value of brand fans. And now researchers at Rice University have examined the real-world value of Facebook fans.

They surveyed customers at a local restaurant chain, Dessert Gallery, that had no Facebook presence before the study. Naturally, as part of the study, they created a Facebook Page for their fans. Over the next three months, they surveyed 1700 customers at the chain and found that FB fans:

  • Made 36 percent more visits to DG’s stores each month.
  • Spent 45 percent more of their eating-out dollars at DG.
  • Spent 33 percent more at DG’s stores.
  • Had 14 percent higher emotional attachment to the DG brand.
  • Had 41 percent greater psychological loyalty toward DG.

To which I say, “Um, whoa.” But, says one of the researchers, there are a number of cautions here, too: only 5% of the 13,000 customers actually became Facebook Fans. He says this “indicates that Facebook fan pages may work best as niche marketing programs targeted to customers who regularly use Facebook.”

Y’don’t say! Is radio advertising more effective when targeted at radio listeners, too?!

Okay, while that statement may be a bit of a “duh,” it is a good reminder that marketing’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition. They concluded that Facebook marketing programs may be especially effective for iconic brands, which appear to attract a higher percentage of their customer base as Facebook fans.

Of course, I have to wonder what the restaurant did to promote its Facebook Page, both on Facebook and in the real world.

What do you think? Have you seen Facebook Page affecting your bottom line? And most importantly, have you joined Marketing Pilgrim’s Facebook Page yet?