Friday, 4 May 2012

The Value of a Facebook Fan: Is there an answer?

A Real Facebook Wembley.
It's not an age old question, but certainly one that is starting to be asked much more frequently by brands, businesses, agencies...pretty much anyone who is involved in marketing today. "So what is the value of a Facebook Fan?" In fact if you Google it, you'll be presented with 401Million results....and this post will add to the noise.

The interesting thing is, the most prominent results present the reader with a number of explanations and hypotheses {plural for hypothesis....allegedly} which take you on a path of intangibility ended up with the conclusion that you can't put a value to a fan. Is that because that's the easiest conclusion? Whereas a number of others are very definite about the value, it's £9.81!! However, they fail to focus on the "people talking about that" element.

In my very humble opinion, most of these articles are confusing a number of things, hence they are quite a bit fluffy. Here's why:
  • Value is being mistaken for Quality
    • Value should be a tangible err... value
    • Where as quality includes all the good stuff (aka "Hippy Sh*t") such as influence, sentiment, reach, recency, frequency etc.
    • Therefore, quality is a factor within value
  • There is a direct value to Fans who are already customers, but does a customer who is a fan, have an incremental value to a customer who is not?
    • Assumption is they do, but in some cases they don't. Share prices can go up as well as down.
  • Fans who are not customers don't have a direct value, they haven't parted with any cash, but they do have an in-direct value. Again this can be positive as well as negative.
  • The in-direct value is the elephant in the room. Some say technology is not yet advanced for us to calculate this (Olivier Blanchard, Rule #2 b.)
    • I'd disagree. The right data from several sources, correlated together can bring this to tangible numbers
The actual value WILL vary from business to business, due to frequency of purchase and ticket value, but for B2C business the actual value can be calculated. I know a company that can do it! ;-)

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