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Brands struggle to retain fans on Facebook

Filed under: All Articles > Industry News
By: NMK Created on: November 21st, 2011
Bookmark this article with: Delicious Digg StumbleUpon

Two in every five Facebook fans ‘unlike’ a brand page, according to new survey. How can brands best retain fans’ interest? New Media Knowledge asked around.

By Chris Lee

More than 40 per cent of Facebook brand page fans have clicked ‘unlike’, according to a new survey. This action disengages them from receiving that brand’s updates on their Facebook updates wall and raises concerns for brands. New developments unveiled by Facebook even mean that fans also no longer have to ‘like’ a page to comment on it.

Of the more than 1,500 respondents interviewed by creative agency DDB Paris, 630 admitted to unliking a brand’s Facebook page. Half (49 per cent) said that it was because the brand was “no longer of interest” to them.

Other reasons included brand updates not being of interest, information being published too often and another key prompter for unliking was in the aftermath of brand promotions. People who clicked in order to claim a prize or take advantage of an offer then chose to unlike the page.

Summarising her company’s findings for Forbes, Catherine Lautier, Director of Business Intelligence at DDB Paris wrote: “Though our study shows consumers forge bonds with some brands on Facebook, there’s no value for marketers in fans per se. Value depends on many factors, including how a fan was acquired, how big his social graph is, the nature of the brand (FMCG or big-ticket items) and the fan page itself.  Also, how good is the program in terms of content and frequency? Does it give consumers access to a CRM program with special promotions, coupon? Does it give fans social currency like invites to special events or exclusive news? Is there e-commerce involved?

“In order to design the best programs to keep consumers engaged, it’s important to understand the evolution of their relationships with brands on Facebook.”

Too much information

For UK Facebook users interviewed, the most likely reason they would unlike a page was due to updates being published too often. 52 per cent cited this as a reason, higher than other geographies queried. Also, UK Facebook users – of which there are more than 30 million – are less like to state that a brand was of less interest to them than other countries, including Germany, Turkey and Malaysia, where brand relevance was more of a key factor in deciding whether or not to drop out. Only eight per cent of UK users will unlike a page if it did not update enough.

Commentators typically recommend one status update per day from brand pages.

For Ged Carroll of PR company Ruder Finn, marketing managers continue to struggle with the concept of ‘likes’ and what they really mean.

“The marketing industry is fixated on likes in the first place, which is something that I never understood except in that Dilbert-esque way that people like to have PowerPoint charts of data with an upward curve,” he told NMK. “Marketers have struggled to answer the question ‘I have X thousand likes on the Facebook page, now what do I do?’”

Marketers are therefore confused on matters of engagement and interaction, Carroll argued.

“Marketers have tried to bribe consumers for likes: think the New Yorker demanding a like before showing content a while ago. It is not surprising that consumers are going to discard likes; they change and the brands that are relevant to them will change,” he concluded. “Likes put brands on your Facebook page, you would like these to reflect you in an aspirational way, brands that you are passionate about and don’t fit into your aspirational persona are in a difficult place.”


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