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How to tell whether your Facebook marketing is crap, average or great

It has become a very well-known marketing technique – if you have a business, you want it to have a Facebook page. Setting it up, adding exclusive features, gathering as many likes as you can and keep the dialogue with your audience alive and active.

And so you start posting pictures, videos, entertaining material, exclusive information, controversial statements to start a debate, and so on. Your amount of likes rises as should your “talking about” rate. Everything looks fine, yet some questions might dawn on you.

First of all you should know what that “talking about” means. According to Facebook, it is the sum of “users you have created a story from your post” – a story being a like, a share, a comment or an answer to an event. Now that this has been cleared up, a bigger question needs to be answered:

What is a good “talking about” rate?

In other words, at what point can you consider the amount of interaction satisfying? Facebook does not tell you that.

This is why we decided to lead our own inquiry and compare 12 major brands (BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Facebook, Starbucks, McDonald’s, PlayStation, iTunes, HP, Subway, EA Sports, Nivea) which have the particularity to have several Facebook pages: one for every language or country. We checked their number of likes and “talking about” rates on three dates (24th January, 31st January and 7th February 2012), calculated their ratios and established an average of these.

The ideal “talking about” figure or number of likes?

It seems that even if you have a brilliant online media specialist running your page, having more than 1,000,000 likes renders it challenging to reach high “talking about” rates – between 1% and 3% with the exception of the American page of McDonald’s that exceeds 5%. A previous study had already proven that large pages (over a million likes) have more trouble reaching their “likers”.

On the other side, the highest ratios “talking about” number of likes are reached by pages with less than 100,000 likes, higher even when they have less than 10,000 likes. They manage to score 10 to almost 20% with the exception of the Polish Audi page that scores an astounding 44% with a mere 4,000 likes.

In a nutshell it seems you should not aim for quantity, but for quality. It is better to have fewer faithful committed fans than a large pool of likes that does not interact with you.

So does a high number of likes really imply a lower talking about rate?

We did some correlation analysis to check what the statistics would tell us. There are two possibilities:
1. The number of “talking about” increases at the same rate as the number of likes, or in statistical terms: There is a linear relationship.
2. The number of “talking about” slows down the higher the number of likes gets, or in statistical terms: There is a non-linear relationship.

Calculating both options we get a correlation of 0,96 for option 1 (using the Bravais Pearson correlation coefficient) and 0,87 for option 2 (using Spearman’s Rho). Both coefficients can rank between 0 (no correlation) to 1 (perfect correlation). Hence both options have a high statistical correlation: Based on the numbers we cannot say for sure which assumption is correct. If you think this sucks (we did) just scroll all the way to the end and fill out the survey (this helps us gather more data so we can do a better analysis).

The “talking about” vs. “likes” data in a graph

Is your targeted country a factor?

As we pointed out in our first Facebook study, some countries are more inclined to liking a page than others. What about interaction then?

The final figure is 5.79% (for our sample) – that is the average percentage “talking about” per number of likes, all countries taken together. However, the average differs from one country to another. If your page targets a Polish audience, the average is above 10% – the Poles are more faithful fans than other countries. Brazilian and French audiences are fairly willing to participate as well: both scored over 5%. Spain is right behind with 4.75%. Then come the tough crowds – Germany and Italy only get 3.92% and 3.57% respectively. The American/general page is last with 2.60%. This might have different reasons such as how many brands an average user in that country likes – the more brands, the less time for interaction with each brand.

So, by now you know that “talking about” rates differ by country and possibly by the number of likes. But wouldn’t it be cool to have some comparison data for your industry? We thought so as well, so we created a survey to do a more in-depth analysis including Reach and Virality data from Facebook Insights – finding out what good rates are, what your target should be, etc.

In order to do so, we need YOUR help! We would like to invite you to fill out a 10-question anonymous survey that only takes 5 minutes (we used a stop watch to make sure) to complete.

You can find the online survey by clicking on the URL below:

We will list all participating companies with a link below (if they want) in order to boost results. The following companies are participating:
Dublin’s Q102: More music. Less talk.
Bonprix: Fashion, shoes and homeware at unbeatable prices.
Hitmeister: 100% secure buying and selling.
WHU: Otto Beisheim School of Management.
Netmoms: Babies, kids and pregnancy.
OnlineMarketingJobs: The best Jobs for SEO, SEA and online marketing.
Loftville: My key to the best apartments in the city.
Tatort News: The weblog to Germany’s most successful crime show.

In order to get listed, send us an email to Stefanie [at] bab[dot]la