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Proceed with Caution: Three Data Points That Can Make or Break Your Facebook Strategy

Proceed with Caution: Three Data Points That Can Make or Break Your Facebook Strategy Molly Glover Gallatin
Facebook has seen a lot of changes in the last several months, and is becoming more brand-friendly every day. As opportunities for growing an engaged fan base improve, many marketers are jumping in feet-first, creating pages and posting away reactively.

But the key to achieving a true Facebook win lies in focusing on what drove you to the social network in the first place: Your audience.

As you begin to execute on your 2013 marketing plans (which will certainly include Facebook), keep in mind these critical user stats brands must consider to achieve Facebook success.

Unlikes by Number of Brand Posts
We studied a random selection of 80 Facebook brand pages and uncovered an interesting trend: The number of daily Fan “unlikes” increases with a brand’s number of posts each day. In other words, the more times a brand posts, the greater the risk losing fans! In fact, we found that unlikes for these brands increased by 15 percent when going from one to two posts and by another 13 percent once posting jumps to three or more times per day.

The lesson here is to post relevant, useful content and not to inundate your audience with self-serving marketing posts or benign conversation starters. Pay attention to the types of posts and topics your Fans respond positively to, and adjust your content to make every post count. Social networks offer marketers the opportunity to engage in a two-way conversation with users, so yours should never be the only voice on your Facebook wall. When Facebook users “Like” a brand, they expect some product updates, but they also expect exclusive coupons, polls, special offers and other forms of relevant yet engaging content.

In posting brand-centric idle chatter, many brands are reminding users that, in fact, they haven’t done anything for them lately.

The Lifetime of a Post

Post data from the top 100 Facebook brands was analyzed with an eye to Fan comment activity within 24 hours of creation. The percentage of total user comments, on average, was reviewed at various intervals after the post:

Facebook “Likes” During the First Day of a Brand’s Post

Life of a Facebook Post in Comments - Compass LabsOn average, over half of a post's comments occur within its first 15 minutes of life. After 24 hours, the post’s life cycle is effectively over, with 94 percent of its total comments already made.

Does this mean brands should be posting every 15 minutes? Not unless they want to be “Unliked.” What it means is that brands need to manage their expectations. A post may have tremendous reach, but its lifespan is short – so don’t hang too much on a single post. And, as noted above, if you have nothing engaging to say, it’s better to say nothing at all.

Mobile versus Desktop Usage Patterns

We examined a diverse sample of 25 Facebook brand pages to determine whether they received more Likes from mobile or desktop users and discovered that:

  • On average, 24 percent of page Likes for these 25 brands come from mobile, and 76 percent from desktop.

  • The distribution of Likes from the mobile channel remains fairly consistent throughout the week. However, desktop Likes drop off over the weekend, with only 11 percent of total weekly desktop Likes taking place on Saturdays, and another 11 percent on Sundays.

  • Sunday is the day that mobile Likes increase to 32 percent of all Likes – a spike of 5 percent over the second-highest day, Saturday.

The weekly breakdown is as follows:

Facebook - Mobile vs Desktop Usage Patterns - Compass Labs

The takeaway here is that the desktop is dominant during the work week, when many consumers are desk-bound. Mobile Likes are surprisingly low, revealing that while mobile use of Facebook is on the rise - 600 million mobile users currently - the benefit of this growing usage has not yet fully extended to brands. However, Facebook recently made dramatic improvements to its mobile platform, many specifically to increase revenue. With that in mind, stay tuned: Interactions with brands via the mobile channel are likely to increase moving forward. For now, try keeping your weekend content mobile-friendly (less click-out links, more photos, etc.), and give mobile Sponsored Story ads a spin. Also remember to check your analytics data: Every brand is different, and some may inspire a larger share of mobile fans.

As the debate continues over how to value a Facebook fan and measure ROI, rest assured that audience cues are the North Star of successful Facebook marketing.

Molly is Vice President of Marketing and brings over 15 years of media and marketing management experience to the team. Previously Molly was the Vice President of Marketing for YuMe and she worked at Knight Ridder Digital, overseeing marketing and...

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Commenter: Michel Depière

2009, April 08

This is a very interesting piece. I'll post a link to it on my blog.