Pop Quiz… What is the one word that recently became ubiquitous throughout our online lives? Is it "Refudiate", the word that Sarah Palin coined and won 2010 word of the year? Is it Slizzard? Thanks for that Far East Movement. No it is one simple four letter word…no not that word… this one… "Like".
Now it seems that every brand wants your like. You as a consumer are willing to give it to them but why? And as a marketer how can I set realistic expectations around potential growth projections?
I was recently interviewed by Bob Garfield. Yes that Bob Garfield to discuss this exact topic. NOTE: When the video is posted in a few weeks I will post the full interview.
We discussed why is the "Like" relevant? Beyond relevance, I also want to address campaign expectations around benchmarks & growth thresholds.
When you have 663,951,400 million people commonly tied together sharing every aspect of their lives and allowing brands to directly interact with them it creates a marketing equivalent to a perfect storm.
To this point hopefully we all can agree that acquiring a "like" has become a rallying cry for everyone from brands to agencies to your favorite social strategist.
We all hear about the importance of the right mix of Paid, Owned & Earned. We scramble for the latest case studies striving to set the gold standard and create compelling programs that drive "Likes".
We have heard from the likes (no pun intended) of Vitrue claiming that a "Like" is worth $3.60 of earned media. We talk about EdgeRank. We talk about true reach of social activity proliferating newsfeeds.
We execute programs that are designed to grow "Likes" in addition to simple engagement. Tactics such as exclusive content fan gating, Forced "Like" sweeps opt-in requirements, dual like campaigns, etc…
But when it comes to setting realistic expectations for "Like" growth and campaign KPI's it becomes very nebulous in terms of how to actually benchmark growth and set realistic expectations both on the brand side and the agency side.
Many brands have very aggressive goals when it comes to growing "Likes". Many hours are spent, strategic alliances are forged and millions of dollars are spent in the pursuit of growing the base while hopefully bringing relevant brand advocates along for the ride.
Looking at the raw numbers for a moment. I took the top 50 US Facebook pages and tracked and averaged their growth over a period of time and the resulting percentage of growth averaged across them was 5% "Like" growth per month.
Obviously when setting expectations around thresholds it is important to take into account many factors such as the brands objectives around acquisition including "Like" growth, competitive growth, programs executed, etc. but if you are just starting a program and have no basis for growth the 5% number is important as it does provide a baseline of top performing brand pages that you can then craft a realistic expectation of roughly 3-5% at the onset of your strategy.
There is so much more that we can talk about when it comes to "Likes" and it's real value to campaigns and the Pros & Cons. But the reality is that brands want more and agencies are working hard to make it happen. And with the "Like" moving outside of Facebook over the past year it is going to become even more of a factor.
But one final point to consider is that the "Like" is not the be all/end all of social KPI's. It is an important and high profile element but it is always important to look at your strategy and objectives holistically.
One final thought is to consider another four letter word that is just now beginning it's climb towards relevance… "Send" with the recent roll out of the "Send" button now you can easily drive users from 3rd party and proprietary sites directly to engage and hopefully "Like" thus further perpetuating the cycle.