Social Media Tools, Facebook

Measuring Facebook Fan Engagement Beyond the Like

Guest post from Matt Simpson, interactive marketing director for Bulbstorm. Bulbstorm executes campaigns for brands seeking to create passionate bonds with consumers.

Not long ago, the ultimate measure of a successful Facebook promotion was fan growth. That was sooooo 2010.

Fan growth is simply not enough. Disagree? Throw out a sweepstakes app, dangle a free iPad, and buy some cheap Facebook ads. You can easily buy fans, but to what end?

It’s time we adjust our aim – and retrain our stakeholders’ focus – beyond that initial click of the like button and toward real engagement. Here are two ways we measure Facebook promotion success in the post-like world.

Depth of engagement

Boasting of fan count is like bragging about the size of your email list. A big list is nice, but how effectively are you using it?

At Bulbstorm, we’ve defined a metric we call brand engagements. It’s a tally of any and all thoughtful interactions consumers have with your brand on Facebook. Engagements range from liking or commenting in the news feed to interacting with content within a promotion application.

Bulbstorm Facebook Engagement FunnelBrand engagements often form the bottom of the conversion funnel of Bulbstorm promotions. Some of our clients also want to drive to a campaign-specific objective like coupon distribution, email list growth, or user-generated content collection, as shown in the funnel graphic.

One recent promotion soliciting the submission and rating of user content drove 309,133 brand engagements in five weeks. That’s serious interaction!

That averaged out to 61,827 engagements per week – not bad considering the brand averaged 6,808 weekly engagements in the weeks leading up to the promotion. Here’s the data:

Of course, not all engagements are created equal. Consumers invest more of their passion into submitting a piece of user-generated content than into liking your fan page’s status. But a consistent approach to aggregating brand engagements enables you to compare campaigns and track depth of engagement over time.

Breadth of engagement

There are so many reasons individual Facebook users might miss your brand on a given day. Maybe they were playing Farmville. Maybe they didn’t log in. Maybe your content sucks – and suffers the wrath of Facebook EdgeRank or the user’s hide option.

That’s why one of our favorite pieces of data available through Facebook Insights is active users. This metric lets us see how many unique users viewed or engaged with a brand in the last week or month (either on a fan page on in the user’s news feed). This metric does not include users engaged with a promotions app, but your developer should be able to provide that number from App Insights.

Divide weekly or monthly active users (WAU or MAU) by fan count to get a rough gauge of engaged vs. non-engaged fans for the period.

Not surprisingly, WAU and MAU increase dramatically during a promotion. After all, a promotion gives you a compelling reason to ask for engagement. For example, one of our CPG clients experienced the following jump in engagement during a recent promotion.

Beyond the like

Is engagement the end all be all? No. Ultimately, we’re all looking to sell products or services at a healthy margin.

However, the metrics outlined above are indicators of a passionate bond between brands and consumers than fan count … at least until Facebook gives us a “love” button.

It’s time we wean ourselves – and our stakeholders – off of like campaigns driven by meaningless iPad giveaways. It’s time we evolve past validating our Facebook promotions by fan growth alone. How are you measuring engagement beyond the like button?

(Bulbstorm is a Convince & Convert client)