Engagement [en-geyj-muh nt]: The concept that the more time customers spend interacting with your brand directly correlates to increased levels of brand loyalty leading to a greater numbers of profitable transactions.
Makes sense, right? It’s what we as marketers or our clients as business people strive for everyday. We want to “have a conversation” with customers, create “raving fans,” and develop “lasting relationships” with them so they will drive or click past 75 of our competitors just to buy from us at (hopefully) a higher price. One of the many (but certainly not the best) ways businesses “measure” that engagement is through Facebook likes or fans. But, for some time now, many marketing experts, including our strategy team here at Technetium, have been saying that a like does not a sale make. Facebook heard that low rumble coming from the creators of brand pages and began giving them the ability to measure an interesting little tidbit called: People Talking About This (PTAT). The idea was for Facebook to be able to quantify how much/often fans are liking, posting, commenting, tagging, and sharing (read: engaging with) a brand and its page versus just liking it. Since its launch last fall, PTAT has become fairly common as a key metric for brands and, with that information, research is starting to give us a clearer picture as to how many Facebook users are actually bothering to take part in the conversations we are trying so hard to start with them.
And the results are pretty interesting…
It turns out that just 1.3% of fans of some of the biggest brands on Facebook are actually engaging (as measured by PTAT) with those brands. The data comes from a study by the Australia-based Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, a marketing think tank with a list of supporters that includes Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and and many other global brands. The research focused on six weeks of PTAT data in October of last year and looked at the proportion of overall engagement for the 200 largest brands on Facebook.
The percentage gets even smaller when you remove the impulse element of “new likes” which are considered to be about as trustworthy as TV ratings. When you focus on the more involved, dare we say engaged, interactions the percentage drops to 0.45%. That’s right, less than one half of one percent of people who LIKE you want to interact with you. Sobering thought, no?
Some would rightly argue that, because this research only looks at PTAT data, entire swaths of users who may be interacting with brands through other platforms or methods are overlooked or discounted. For example, what about the people who retweet Facebook posts or comments that their friends make about a brand? Currently only the original post is counted so that misses a lot of engagement. Others would say posting content alone doesn’t effectively engage your audience because most Wall Feeds are so cluttered with content that unless you are watching your feed 24/7 you miss a lot of updates. A way to cut through that clutter, they would argue, would be to create Facebook ads to generate awareness of that content amongst all fans, not those that Facebook prioritizes through its EdgeRank logarithm.
Bottom line: This data is not as bad as it might first seem. You simply need to look at Facebook for what it is… a place where fans can engage your brand (by visiting, interacting with your page) and a place where you can engage your fans (by creating updates in their feeds and targeted ads). Even the team that created the report, and considers themselves “Facebook advocates,” say you need to be ready for the long haul of creating lots of content and slowly building audiences because “expecting to change the way people interact with a brand overnight is just unrealistic." They also caution that, while social media is great at building fan bases and getting buzz for a brand, you should avoid "putting a disproportionate amount of effort into engagement and strategies to get [fans] to talk about a brand, when you should be spending more time getting more [paying customers]."
So what do you do next? Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you over-emphasizing Facebook vs. your paid or traditional marketing tactics?
- Are you underutilizing Facebook by not leveraging content as a way to get fans to engage with your brand.
- Are you confused by all of this social media mess and just want some help?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you need to call us. Technetium has helped many of our clients right-size and refine their social media efforts as part of an overall brand strategy that, through the application of our 4A Metrics, has helped them improve revenue and drive growth.