Facebook branded content: focus on friends of fans not fans themselves?

A recent research paper conducted by comScore and Facebook shows that the reach of branded content among friends of fans significantly exceeds the reach among fans themselves.

The two potential audiences for branded content on Facebook are:
1. Fans of brands on Facebook (ie, those who have explicitly “liked” a brand).
2. Friends of these fans.

While those who have explicitly “liked” a brand are the easiest to reach with social media brand impressions, friends of those fans also constitute an important incremental audience. In fact, according to the research, they typically represent a much larger set of consumers – 34 times larger, on average, for the top 100 brand pages.

So when a brand is focused on acquiring and engaging fans it should also keep in mind that exposure among friends of fans can often surpasses reach among fans itself.

Now, these findings aren’t exactly rocket science, but it could help marketers to evaluate the earned media impact they get from their Facebook investment.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Facebook is the dominant social networking site with an audience of approximately 160 million U.S. visitors each month and accounts for 90 percent of all time spent on social networking sites.
  • Facebook users spend more than a quarter of their time on the site consuming and interacting with the Facebook Newsfeed, and this activity represents 4 percent of all time spent online in the U.S. The Newsfeed is also the primary location where branded content is consumed.
  • Facebook users are 40-150 times more likely to consume branded content in the Newsfeed section of Facebook rather than in branded fanpage.
  • In the case of some brands, Facebook Fans may have different aggregate demographic and behavioral profiles than typical brand purchasers, indicating that social media may require different approaches to marketing strategy.
  • The “Value of a Fan” can be assessed in three primary ways: increasing the depth of engagement and loyalty among Fans, generating incremental purchase behavior, and leveraging the ability to influence Friends of Fans.

Image courtesy of comScore