The Real Measure of Facebook Engagement

March 5, 2012


Despite the numerous “likes” that popular brands tote, a recent study conducted by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, a marketing think tank based in Australia, found that only slightly more than 1% of “fans” are engaging with the brand.

How did they determine engagement? Adage reports the researchers looked at Facebook’s own metric, ‘People Talking About This,’ to keep a running count of “likes, posts, comments, tags, shares and other ways a user of the social network can interact with branded pages.”

Numbers are slightly better for “passion” brands such as Nike that get people excited about the product. Yet, Ehrenberg-Bass Institute’s Senior Research Associate Karen Neson-Field explains, “We could say that Brand A (at 1%) gets twice as much engagement as Brand B (at 0.5%), but that's like saying, 'You have 50 cents, I have $1, so I am twice as rich as you.” To sum it up, while some brands are doing better than others engagement-wise, no one is doing well.”

This means trouble, right? Well, not exactly. Certainly the number of ‘Likes’ helps with reach - but brands should focus on increasing engagement instead, explains an article in State of Search.

The “friends of friends” principle is more efficient for brands marketing on Facebook. The idea behind “friends of friends” is it makes people want to share content with their friends because people will be interested in stuff from those they trust.

How can this method be implemented? ‘Unsung,’ a TV series on TV One, built hype around its return by creating a custom Facebook tab that engaged the audience by featuring weekly updates from editors, clips from new episodes and links to further content. Hipgenius reports that show producers saw “an increase in Facebook engagement of over 400%” on the day the show premiered. ‘Unsung’ created content that drew fans in. These fans wanted to share this with their friends by re-posting, thus effectively promoting the show.

Of course, no brand should put all its eggs in Facebook’s basket. ‘Unsung’ also tweeted live during the show to keep their audience engaged.