Why Bother with Facebook?

Last week, eMarketer released data on how marketers get value from Facebook fans. The results showed, overwhelmingly, that marketers want improved brand loyalty and more customer insight.

Improving Brand Loyalty

After this data was released, there were a lot of tweets saying Insight and Loyalty were tied as the top value drivers for brands on Facebook. But have a look at the third and fourth spots on that list – those sound an awful lot like loyalty measures, don’t they? While the survey results make it seem like Insights and Loyalty are neck and neck, if you include these additional measures it makes Loyalty seem like the number one.

Additionally, some basic analysis should let you link loyalty measures to ROI. Most sophisticated marketers know the value of a loyal customer, so why not link your Facebook data to your segmentation scheme?

Facebook as a Source of Insight

Facebook and other social media channels offer brands additional insight into the perceptions and behaviours of customers. Market research has been providing this for decades, but social media offers two new benefits.

  1. Reach new respondents: brand research is skewed to the people who actually respond to surveys (in whatever form you use). Gathering data on customer behaviour on Facebook lets your brand reach a different set of customers, whose opinions may have previously gone unnoticed.
  2. Track actual behaviours: most traditional market research relies on customers to tell you how they feel and what they do, and their statements may not always be completely accurate. The data produced by customers on social networks is based on their actions, not what they say they are going to do.

All too often marketers and strategists gripe that they cannot measure the ROI of their brand’s presence on Facebook – they can measure the cost, but not always the benefit. But the same is true of other forms of market research. Do you measure the ROI of customer surveys?

Social media will continue to evolve and help brands in new ways. Having a full understanding of how this channel differs from other techniques will remain crucial to those who are not satisfied with the status quo.

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3 Responses to Why Bother with Facebook?

  1. Great thoughts Ben! I especially like the line…”Do you measure the ROI of customer surveys?” I think that brings home a pretty important point … if you try hard enough you can somehow tie in a metric to measure the ROI of having a Facebook page, but really … should you?

    Maybe Facebook isn’t a platform where you get ROI from but instead one where you just connect with with your consumers without worrying about what that means for your bottom line. To paraphrase various thoughts from Gary V, perhaps companies should think about Facebook as a place to start caring.

  2. Kevan says:

    Really found this post interesting.

    While I might not be in the marketing game, what was a bit of a head-smack for me was that only 15% wanted an increased short-term spend on the brand, and yet it seems as though most of the facebook ad campaigns I see involve “save 10% on your next purchase if you join our facebook fan page” or the like. Incentives like that probably have very little effect on the Loyalty aspect, and the added bargain-hunter traffic may actually dilute the value of the Insight benefits.

  3. benwise says:

    @Shaminda Great quote from Gary V – very pertinent. Although I still think there is a place to measure ROI on Facebook (and social media in general) in addition to other benefits where there might not be an easy ROI calculation. The measurement isn’t as sophisticated (or at least as widely accepted) as traditional media channels, but it is catching up. The better it gets, I’d bet the more you see ad spend moving to Facebook from other channels.

    @Kevan Thanks for reading the marketing stuff :) I think in a lot of cases those campaigns aren’t necessarily designed to get a short-term sales boost, but are an attempt to increase the number of followers. Lots of sites have things like ‘Subscribe to our newsletter and receive a free …’ – this might be the same thing for Facebook as brands try to build up their fan base. I think the risk for dilution is really to the whole brand, not just on the Insights side of things. The last thing a brand wants to do is to train their customers to only buy their products when they are on discount. But you are right, people aren’t loyal to discounts.