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Facebook Angst – Why it’s Normal that Only 16% of Your Posts are Shown to Fans

There has been a fair amount of angst in the Facebook Marketing Community about why only a small % (av. 16%) of Facebook Business Page posts make it onto fans’ news feedsDangerousMinds - I want my friends back (see Mari Smith posts Oct-12 and Dangerous Minds). However if you take a step back and put it into a wider marketing perspective the varying intensity of fans liking brands is actually pretty normal.

In standard Usage and Attitude market research we would see only a small part of our target market aware of us (awareness), a smaller part will buy from us (consideration set), and a smaller part still prefers us (preference). This last part, the loyal fans is likely to be single % digits for most brands.

Let’s convert that into FB world:

  • Awareness = FB users interested in our category or “Interests” (as FB describe it in Paid Ads).
  • Consideration = FB Fans
  • Preference = those who have affinity, interaction, and happen to see our Posts

The last point is the three parts of the EdgeRank algorithm. Or put in other words those Fans who Facebook thinks Prefers to hear from us.

16% just makes sense for most industries – in fact it may be too high.

It Makes Even More Sense for the Wine Industry

In the wine industry case about 16% to 20% of wine drinkers are brand loyal (see my blog posts: Project Genome “Traditionalists”, Johnson & Bruwer “Conservative”).

So I believe, once we get fans then we in the wine industry should not expect to see more than 15-20% of them engaging with the brand.

The infamous EdgeRank ‘16%’ keeps making sense.

I Ain’t the First Person to Think This

Aliza Sherman discusses why people become fans of Facebook Pages in the first place. She lists six reasons and suggests that most Fans don’t really care. See the triangle diagram below showing how only the smallest number truly care:

6. They want to keep up with a competitor or have a business reason to pay attention.

5. They are using the action of becoming a fan more like a “bookmark” for possible future reference.

4. Because it is easy to do (just click to become a fan) and then ignore.
Reasons fan facebook (Sherman)
3. They are doing it because someone they know asked them to do it as a favor.

2. They are doing it because someone they know did it.

1. They genuinely like or are interested in the object of the Page (company, nonprofit, cause, campaign, product, brand, etc.)

The only “Fans” that were true fans in her opinion was “They genuinely like or are interested in the object of the Page”, the other 4 reasons have little value other than the original fan broadcast on fan’s friends pages.

Take a Look at Your Fans

MyLocalWineStore Facebook Page Wine Case Studies Screenshot

BTW Tamara and I tend to be doing more posting in Facebook than on this blog nowadays with short case studies of Facebook best practice wineries and wine retailers.

On this page some of my fans have nothing to do with the wine business or facebook marketing. To be honest I’m not really sure why they liked the page as I can’t see anything in it for them, I call them ‘random fans’.

Also many winery pages offer coupons on their Welcome Page if FB users will Like their pages. Add in the random fans above and you have a large # of Fans who may have no preference for your brand.

So I don’t expect posts to be on all Fan’s news feed – EdgeRank is rightly doing it’s job for 3 reasons:
1. Preference is always low
2. The Winery Industry has low levels of Brand Loyalty
3. A large part of the Fan Base are not well, fans, but rather opportunistic or random

Am I way off track on this developing theory of mine, what’s your thoughts?

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