Peter is founder and president of Cloud AdAgents. Email him here.
Just about every marketing manager in this country now considers Facebook an important part of their marketing plan. And for good reason: Canada is one of the social network’s most highly penetrated markets with just over 18 million of us (55%) active on it.
So it seems reasonable to conclude Canadian brands have big followings on Facebook, right?
- 55% of brands studied have fewer than 50,000 Fans, and 66% of those have fewer than 10,000 Fans
- Only 30% have more than 100,000 Fans, and just 14% have more than 250,000
Only 2 brands in our analysis have more than 1,000,000 Fans. Not surprisingly, one is that most iconic of Canadian brands, Tim Horton’s. The other, Blackberry (alas).
But having small audiences doesn’t mean brand managers aren’t active on their Pages – fully three quarters have posted within the last 5 days (as of June 14, 2012) and 65% have posted on their Page within the last 24 hours. Even brands with relatively few Fans (i.e., less than 50,000) are very active, with half having posted within the last 24 hours.
So how do we interpret this?
We think it means too many brands are wasting resources on Facebook. While we can’t knock the effort, we question why brands would invest in expensive Page features and content without having first built an audience on the platform.
Consider this: on average every message posted by brands actually reaches only 15% of their Fans (that’s the reality of Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm), and less than 2% of Fans actually interact with these messages (click, share, etc.). If you’re the manager for a billion-dollar national brand with just 50,000 Fans, that means fewer than 1,000 people are interacting with that content you’re busy creating each day. Even fewer still are actually buying something from you as a result of seeing your Facebook content.
Our advice to these brand managers? The next time your agency pitches you on a “cool” (and expensive) Facebook app, just say no – at least for now. You won’t get a return on that investment when you have so few Fans.
Instead we say spend your money on growing your Fan base. There are two ways to do that:
- Organically with superlative Page content and promotion of your Page at all brand touch points
- Through pay-per-click marketplace ads on Facebook itself
In fact, unless your brand is an icon like Tim Horton’s, you’re unlikely to ever achieve critical mass without first paying Mr. Zuckerberg for advertising.