5 Reasons Why Facebook Fan Numbers Mean Nothing

posted on 16th Mar 2011

Q. How do you measure the success of your Facebook page?

Most of the time all people really care about is the amount of fans a page has. It’s incredible really, after all these years it still goes back to who is the most popular in the schoolyard. There’s a few reasons why using just the number of fans you have as the measure of your page’s performance fails to paint a true picture of how you page is performing.

1. Buy Facebook likes: Yes you can buy Facebook likes for your page. They won’t be real people, or interested in your brand, but all you care about is the number right?

2. The number of fans gives no indication of how much feedback a page receives (in terms of comments or likes), how often tabs are viewed, if post impressions are increasing or decreasing, or if content is being shared. If you had a website with a high number of visitors, who stayed for a very short time, didn’t return, didn’t visit more than one page – would you think the website is performing well, or that there was a serious problem with it? The same questions should be asked of your Facebook page analytics.

3. 85% of a fans interaction with a brand occurs on in their newsfeed and not on a brands page. So if you don’t post regularly the interaction levels, active fans and impressions will all be low. So regardless of how many fans you have if people don’t see activity in their newsfeed, your brand has been forgotten!

4. While thought of as important by many, in the future the number of fans on Facebook pages will be held in the same regard as the number of ‘website visitors’. A figure that at first was believed to be important, but was later  regarded as giving a poor indication of how a website is actually performing.

5. Ignore ‘Facebook fans are worth X value’ stats. The true value of Facebook fans correlates exactly with how long a piece of string is. There’s too many variables to arrive at one figure for every page. It’s impossible to estimate a figure for different brands, across different industries, different countries, different cultures and currencies, and for successful pages versus pages that are less successful. It is up to brands, and not others, to estimate the value of their own fans.

How To Measure the Success of A Facebook Page

Last month I wrote a post on this very subject matter – 8 Ways to Measure Your Facebook Page Performance. There’s a number of different services out there, some good and some not so good. I think the best indicator is Facebook Insights, it will take more work than entering your Facebook URL but the information will be many times more valuable.

Facebook Inisghts Guide

Facebook have recently brought out this guide to Facebook Insights. This explains what every figure means in the Insights section of Facebook. I think this is very important because, ultimately, the success of a page isn’t judged by others, but judged through an analysis of Facebook Insights, by setting goals and linking them with certain activities (sales, brand awareness etc.). Make monthly reports to keep track of performance and over time the true performance of the page will become clearer.

So, back to the original question;

How do you measure the success of your Facebook page?