Had another post in mind this morning, but a link drew me away, like a moth to a flame. I cannot resist the temptation of an article that claims to reveal – finally, ONCE AND FOR ALL – the value of a Facebook fan.
I read these for the humor. I was not disappointed when I clicked over to an article titled “Why Brands Still Need Facebook Fans.” As if anyone has been saying they didn’t.
The subtitle was even better: “Fans Are 291% More Likely to Engage With Brand [sic] Than Non-Fans.” To that I say: f*cking duh.
The article was based on analysis by SocialCode, a Facebook-only social media agency. I would put several of the words in that prior sentence in quotation marks, but then I would be guilty of writing like Stuart Elliott.
SocialCode tracked ads on Facebook over several months and divided users who responded into two categories: (1) users who were already a Facebook fan of the brand that was in the ad, and (2) users who weren’t.
As you might expect, fans clicked more often than nonfans. However, because the response rate was so much worse for nonfans, their cost-per-acquisition (CPA) was much higher (roughly $15, versus a $5 CPA for existing fans).
Net of the study should have been: “It costs $10 more to get a nonfan to respond to an ad on Facebook than it does to get a fan.”
But no, the article says this: “SocialCode is the latest firm to try to calculate the value of a Facebook fan as part of a new study. Their verdict: about $10 per fan…"
Since SocialCode HASN’T PUBLISHED ITS OWN STUDY ON ITS OWN WEBSITE as reference, it is unclear if that verdict is theirs or the author of the article – Ad Age’s Cotton Delo.
In any case, the “verdict” is bullshit, but will run through Twitterville like fire. What a shame. A sham.
This is value measured by a lesser-of-two-evil-costs approach. Since fans cost $10 less a head to acquire, then their value is $10? Nonsense. Value must be measured in terms of return – revenue, sales, operating income. There is none of that in this study.
While we are at it, here are some other interesting points to consider in SocialCode’s analysis:
1) Why would I need to spend a penny to get Facebook fans to do anything? Isn’t that the whole point of having fans – to deepen the engagement and relationship right there on the Facebook brand page? What is the point of spending money ON ADS to acquire someone I already acquired? From this perspective, the “value” of a fan is negative $5. Money eating itself.
2) Of the seven types of calls-to-action that SocialCode tracked, the one that received by far the lowest response (a paltry 2%) was “program sign-up.” Isn’t it interesting that the activity requiring the most commitment and providing the deepest engagement opportunity had the worst response?