Social Media

Fan to Visitor Stats are Nice but Essentially Meaningless

Posted by Tara Meehan on July 1st, 2011 at 6:42 am

Marketers, social media evangelists and digital geeks are always trying to quantify the value of a Facebook fan. The stats vary depending on who is supplying them. Last year, AdWeek published findings by social agency Vitrue, which deduced that a fan is worth $3.60 annually. In a recent Business Insider article, the competitive intelligence analyst firm Hitwise and the social media company Techlightenment came up with the following equation - 1 fan = 20 extra website visits. These stats are interesting but upon closer examination, they are easily discreditable and potentially detrimental to your Facebook campaign efforts.

$3.60? Not if Your Fans Leave

While it’s nice to see actual revenue numbers attributed to social media efforts, this particular figure comes with heavy conditions. The calculation is based on having 1 million fans and posting twice a day to potentially drive 60 million display ad impressions.  For many small businesses relying on Facebook as a marketing channel, the 1 million fan mark is simply out of reach. That means good-bye $3.60 before the dollars and change even get the chance to say hello.

Another possible obstacle toward $3.60 is negative engagement. With social media users carrying the torch as the new brand ambassadors, they have the purchasing hammer. Making direct sales posts on a wall twice a day could turn off fans. This could also trickle down through friends of fans. By turning off fans, you are losing access to these valuable connections.

1 Fan = 20 Visits. What about $?

This stat is useful only if your desired social media campaign goal is increased website traffic. But traffic alone does not equate to sales and at the end of the day, regardless of your main social campaign objective, sales matter. To that end, digging deeper into this statistic is key:

  • What is your fan building strategy? If it is driven by daily deals promotions or free trial offers, the fan you obtain and the visit you get may produce a sale but little to no long term value.
  • What are your fans doing for you? The stat needs to go further and analyze the result of the site visit. Was a purchase made? Did it result in referrals to friends in a fan’s network?
  • What is the involvement of your CRM team? Do you have one? If so, incorporate sales and CRM with social and dig deeper into this stat.

Make a Plan for Your Fans

Determining the metrics that are essential to your business model is a great way to understand the value of your fans. If you are primarily interested in calculating brand loyalty over time, gaging audience engagement or measuring social referrals to your website, try setting up a tool like Google Analytics to configure your specific goals. Once you obtain the analytics, not only will they give you a better feel for your entire fan base but they’ll also show you where you can improve your Facebook marketing efforts. Once you understand what you are looking for in and from a fan, you won’t need nebulous stats to help you figure out their value.

One Response to “Fan to Visitor Stats are Nice but Essentially Meaningless”

  1. Jon F.W. says:

    Article is so interesting that I was speechless! Thank you!

Leave a comment