Is advertising on facebook a waste of your money?

or for marketing professionals who should know better?

Does a “like” on facebook mean a consumer has engaged with your brand? Two recent surveys apparently say no.

Although a recent eVoc survery said that 59% of respondents have liked a brand on facebook in the past 6 months. Most likes are for food brands, TV shows, music, movies and clothing.

So all good, millions of new buying consumers? Apparently not. There appears to be a difference between someone liking your brand on facebook and actually buying it.

According to a study from the Ehrenberg- Bass Institute just 1% of fans of the biggest brands on facebook actually bother to engage with the brands on the site.

They studied the top 200 brands and through examination of activities such as likes, comments, posts, shares the research group found that there was nothing substantial to link a brand’s facebook presence with loyalty.

Virtually no consumer engagement with brands on Facebook suggests that there is a massive disconnect between reasons why consumers actually “like” a brand and the reasons brands think consumers are “liking” their page.

When the CMO Council asked Facebook users in Q4 2011 about their expectations after “liking” a brand on Facebook, the top expectation (67%) was to be “eligible for exclusive offers.”

However, when the CMO Council asked marketers what they thought it meant when a consumer “liked” their brand page, a quarter of marketer respondents answered, “because they are loyal customers.” Clearly some miscommunication here.

Is this any surprise in reality as most people are driven to “like” a brand on facebook as a direct result of being given a “free” offer of some kind. So yes of course, like Pavlov’s dog, consumers have been conditioned  to expect more offers as a result of “liking” the brand as that is how the relationship started.

There is no facebook loyalty, the consumer will move onto the next brand as long as they do offer more freebies and money off promotions than the last brand. Where’s the loyalty and why would CMO’s think otherwise?

The link between “likes” and loyalty remains unclear. Although consumers respond favorably about their likelihood to purchase from a brand they follow on Facebook, that’s not overly evident on their Facebook time lines and actual actions.

Marketers should keep in mind that for consumers, Facebook remains primarily a place to interact with peers and share experiences. Although many consumers have opened up to brands that are present on Facebook, brand marketers should not expect loyalty each time a consumer clicks the “like” button. They have to work a hell of a lot harder to gain that.

Which social network engages brands most? At these 0.0 rates who cares?

  • Thomas Huxtable

    Like most things the conclusions you reach depends on the data that you study. One thing I would agree with is a simple ‘like’ does not constitute much if the brand does not have a social marketing strategy in place to truly engage fans (and ultimately turn them into buyers). 
    What is clear is that brands and retailers that have taken the step of implementing tools and strategies to do this are generating significant return. Take who have increased their Facebook referred revenue by 500% in the last year and now get 50% higher average order values from fans over non fans. Perhaps the key to that is they have increased their fan engagement levels by over 3000% through the implementation of their strategy which is about frequency of engagement, not just fan acquisition. You can see a webinar of their Marketing Director speaking about his strategy here:

  • Lorna Wooldridge

    FaceBook and Twitter were created as social media platforms – a ‘like’ on a page does not defy complete, undivided loyalty. A user may ‘like’ Starbucks, but also ‘like’ Costa. However, what engages the users is an active, online presence. 

    Take ‘Innocent’ for example – they reply to the majority of their Tweets. They answer questions, and even have an email specifically for consumers to ask any questions on their mind or even for a chat. Their FaceBook presence is extremely active: constant updates of new product developments, and even an April Fools trick. It generated attention, interest and desire. Users WANTED to communicate and share or retweet what they have posted because they have an active online presence.

    Advertising is not necessarily the key; it is the basis of gaining some attention, but ensuring you are updating FaceBook and Twitter and engaging with consumers on their can gain brand loyalty. The number of ‘likes’ you have does not acknowledge the popularity of your business, shown by the number of users who like pages such as ‘The awkward moment when…’.