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Exactly why do people follow brands on Facebook? I thought I’d ask that question to a whole bunch of consumers to find out. 

The survey coincides with the launch of Econsultancy’s 90-page best practice guide to creating Facebook Pages, which I co-authored, and which we released today. 

The guide, aimed squarely at brands (and agencies that build pages for clients), contains 50 recommendations and includes 60+ examples of Facebook Pages. It should provide you with lots of insight and ideas to help you brainstorm and execute a brilliant Facebook strategy for your company.

The numbers

We conducted a Toluna-powered survey that almost 2,500 consumers responded to. Of those, the majority (78.6%) didn’t follow any brands on Facebook, leaving 533 respondents (21.3%) who did.

So our sample size is 533, and of this segment 350 were females, and 183 males. Females are more likely to follow brands on Facebook than males (24% vs 18%).

Why do people follow brands on Facebook?

This was a multiple-choice question where more than one answer could be selected, if applicable. The most common reason was to be notified of special offers (70%). Other reasons included shopping (38%), to be follow events (38%) and to leave feedback (29%).

How many different brands do people follow?

Between two and five is the norm, though 35% of people will follow more than five brands. 13% of respondents said they followed more than 10 brands on Facebook.

Other findings

  • F-commerce is in its infancy but one in four people have made a purchase via a brand’s Facebook Page.
  • Less than one in five people have complained via a Facebook Page. I expect this number to grow in future, as the channel matures.
  • People typically discover Facebook Pages via the company website, or having been recommended by a friend. Almost 60% of people have recommended a brand to friends. 
  • People primarily unsubscribe from pages if they are dull, or not updated frequently enough. They’ll also bail out if there are too many updates. It’s important to find the right balance for your audience.

How to create a Facebook Page?

Take a look at our guide to creating brilliant Facebook Pages for the detail on where to begin and what to think about.

Chris Lake

Published 8 February, 2011 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

582 more posts from this author

Comments (13)

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Carli Ann Smith

Looking forward to the launch of the guide!

I am writing my dissertation of the effect of the recession on levels of brand loyalty and this was one of the areas that I researched. Shall definitely refer to your article in my bibliography!

almost 6 years ago

Peter Gould

Peter Gould, Senior PPC Analyst at Epiphany

A this stage, I still don't think the large majority of users have seen the benefit in liking their favourite brands on Facebook.

For most, I believe it comes across as a way of boasting about how fashionable you are or giving yourself an identity to your friends. Much like when you were at school and certain kids would always be seen wearing the designer labels to try and look cool and stand out. You want to be seen in your likes and interests column as liking 'cool' brands, so when your friends see your list, it reflects well on you but you probably have no major desire to actually see what's going on in terms of ongoing content on their pages.

Over time however, people will start to realise that by liking their favourite brands, they could be unlocking a lot of exclusive content, such as the latest offers, news and product releases before anyone else, and their desire to like even more brands will grow.

A number of people have already started cottoning onto this, but there's still a long way to go. This shift will continue to grow naturally over time, but it also relies on brands adopting many of the strategies and advice as mentioned in the best-practice guide to creating Facebook pages that Econsultancy have produced in order to engage users.

almost 6 years ago

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Boon Koh

Hi Peter,

Interesting comments! It is the classic scenario where people don't know the benefits of a Facebook brand page, either because they haven't been to one before, or they have to a badly maintained one and put off by the experience.

So its a classic reach and awareness strategy. I have yet to see many companies extolling the benefits of their Facebook page in their marketing. Most just tack on the facebook logo and a link to the bottom of whatever marketing material they have. Even when they do include a one-liner, "like our FB page to get access to special offers" doesn't resonate, as that phrase has become so generic and lost its allure long ago.

almost 6 years ago

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mike groves

Great post! I was asked this question this morning at a meeting and seemed to have got the right answers - but not with the supporting data you've included here.

Thanks!

almost 6 years ago

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Slide Buddy

Yeah, I mostly follow brands because they usually post great promos and special offers for their followers. And the primary reason I add brands are because they're usually the ones I trust, and like.

almost 6 years ago

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Online Fashion Review

It would be interesting to see open-ended question rather than multiple choice as I think there's a lot we don't know. I certainly agree with Peter's comments regarding the selection of brands as a method of looking cool. Personally, I follow brands to keep up with competitor activity and key etailers and suspect this would be true for a lot of people who work in the industry.

almost 6 years ago

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Kendra, Bookmark Submission

I actually follow a lot of brands on Facebook. I follow those brands that I like because I basically want to know news as well as promos. I also follow the brands suggested to me by close friends even if I am not really familiar with that brand. I guess that's how I love my friends.

almost 6 years ago

Adam Cranfield

Adam Cranfield, Chief Marketing Officer at Mynewsdesk

Agree with Boon. Since consumers don't know WHY they should follow a brand, the brand should tell them. "Follow us to get exclusive deals". "Like us to see behind-the-scenes content". "Like us for a chance to win £1000".

almost 6 years ago

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popspace

very nice I like it thank you for your sharing

almost 6 years ago

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Eric McGehearty, CEO at Globe Runner SEO

Interesting numbers; I would be interested to see how people are responding to Facebook ads.

almost 6 years ago

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Lucinda Acheson

I agree with many of you. I have no idea why to bother to follow brands on facebook and I work in the marekting industry. Brands have to be more transparent with what they are asking consumers to do..... in all channels not just online

over 5 years ago

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Paul Mallett

Hi Guys - Can you fix the link to Toluna?

Thanks :)

almost 5 years ago

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Damian

Thank you for those interesting numbers!

over 4 years ago

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