Posted February 1, 2012 3:50 pm by with 7 comments

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In an ideal Facebook marketing world, fans would like our pages, leave sweet comments on our amusing daily updates, and share their joy with their friends.

In the real world, it doesn’t work that way. You already knew that, but did you know how much it doesn’t work that way?

AdAge recently published the results of a study by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute and here’s what they found.

1.3% of brand fans on Facebook are actively engaging with the brands they like. (Meaning I fudged the 99% in the headline slightly, but it’s more about the point than the number.) The study tracked the top 200 brands for six weeks, counting all of those actions that go into the “People Talking About This” number. That means shares, likes, comments, posts and tags.

Take that number, divided by the number of brand fans, and you get the 1.3%. Then the study takes it down even further by removing new likes and it drops to .45%.

A spokesperson for the study says this is not bad news. I wouldn’t say good or bad. I’d go with irrelevant. It’s common sense that the majority of people who like a brand are already loyal customers. So even if they don’t leave a comment, they’re still buying the brand. What Facebook does so elegantly, is it acts as a gentle reminder. I love my local Chick-fil-A, but I might not have lunch there today. Then I see a Facebook post about a special on the menu and that makes me change my plans.

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I didn’t leave a comment. I didn’t share the news, but I’m still going to give them my money.

This brings us back to yesterday’s discussion about how to measure ROI. If all you’re counting is brand interaction, then I come up as a “zero” for today. But if you’re counting dollars, then kaching – that Facebook post was a success.

It’s all about balance, folks. A fun, engaging Facebook fan page is nice, but if you’re not bringing in new customers, then you’re not really doing your job.

  • i didn’t notice sitelink in ads
    is it a new feature?

  • well, this thing isn’t new. I mean, such a statistic was expected, because most of the fans like the page and forget about it, and even though if they see it’s updates in the feeds page, they might not be interested in what they post right in that moment. And also this thing depends on the type of page and the profile of the fans. teenagers are more likely to like or share a post, I think

  • When it comes to social media engagement is great, but obviously not every follower will take the time to comment, Like, re-tweet, etc. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t notice the post or take some kind of action offline. Or, maybe they will take action at a later date. Social media is about lead nurturing.

    • I wonder what those numbers would be if you were to look at sites that actively seek participation (engagement), or look at specific days when a site does something to actively seek/participation. For example, if Chick-fil-A posts something about the daily special, and nothing is required except for you to show up, then you are right. The evidence of that person’s engagement (the buying of the fast food meal) doesn’t show up in the data. However, if they have to click for a discount code (like if you were signing up for a running race), and then go sign up, then there *is* evidence. Or let’s say Chick-fil-A asks a question “what is your favorite cut of french fries” or (I don’t eat there so no idea what they serve 😉 ) and people answer, then there’s engagement. I would be more interested in seeing data on this info, or better yet as a comparison to static posts that say “free french fries today, come on down!” (and don’t seek a response).

    • Spot on. The above numbers are a bit scary, but does it really matter? It’s just a plain fact that a Facebook fan page is a necessity in today’s world of business/e-commerce. And yes, lead nurturing is the name of the game.

      John Spiller is an author, entrepreneur, consumer advocate, and weathered survivor of corporate America. His shocking and controversial new book is titled The Ampersand Diaries: AT&T and the Life Lessons Learned from the Trenches of an American Icon. It is now available at or on his Amazon-based website which features a detailed description of the book’s contents.

  • Yes,i agree with this information,that really rocks.

  • Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. And he just bought me lunch because I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!