Wednesday, June 13, 2012
New Facebook Study Examines "The Power of Like"
comScore just released part two of a study conducted in conjunction with Facebook. And interesting enough, Mr. Zuckerberg contributed to the costs of the study.
One issue the study dwells into is something that I stress with my clients: The number of Facebook fans you have is not THE measure of success. Why not? Because if you’re not engaging with them (this is the “talking about this” figure on a Facebook page) simply put, they’ve probably tuned you out.
It’s not just about how many.
comScore’s findings discuss what IS important in measuring success. Yes, Fan Reach is in there, PLUS Engagement (which I personally feel is number one) and Amplification.
The article on comScore’s website states that the purpose of the study is to “quantify the paid and earned effects of their social marketing programs on Facebook and optimize their efforts”.
Sounds great to me. But two issues arise here. First of all, the focus of the research is on the BIG brands. Being a small business owner, I can’t relate to the results presented on Starbucks. Is there opportunity for growth via Facebook paid advertising for my two business? Should I put my money on Zuckerberg?
Second of all, I am always leery when there are positive results for a study where the actual client has put up some of the funding for it! In my past corporate life there were battles with the ad agency’s secret research on their own campaigns for the company (they would bypass my unbiased market intelligence department). Does this sort of practice make any sense?
According to an article from CBS News the study findings reveal that Facebook fans of Starbucks were more likely to purchase vs. those who were not fans (surprise surprise).
But here’s the kicker. The CBS article brings up a great point: The timing of the study. Just the day before “The Power of Like 2” study release comScore stated that Facebook’s unique visitor’s growth had slowed. Okay, that's to be expected since some larger markets are saturated as far as growth while other smaller ones continue to climb. However, it can be viewed as negative.
In addition, as you already know, all this comes on the heels of the recent lackluster IPO. However, DO keep in mind that research studies can take some time to conduct (hello, fielding!) and it’s highly likely that the study was commissioned long before the IPO.
What we don’t know is the true motivation for the study. Was it conducted to perhaps shower good news to the public in the event that the IPO needed a blast of positive steam?
Funding source + timing+ so-so IPO + negative news = positive study results?
Let’s see a study similar to this one where the measurements are compiled for small businesses and startups! Did we really need one about Facebook?
For comScore's article click here.
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