Saturday, April 7, 2012

Conflicting Facebook Brand Page Studies Highlight Universal Truths in Online Marketing

We’ve previously reported that brands get 46 percent more engagement with Facebook Timeline brand pages, according to Simply Measured’s study of 15 early adopter brands. Actually, fan engagement increased 14 percent; content engagement was up 46 percent; and interactive content engagement skyrocketed 65 percent. You need to run out and post more photos and videos, stat! Right?
Wildfire had a look at 43 brands over a period of 42 days and they report double-digit increases in People Talking About This, Likes per post, and comments per brand post for 45 percent of brands representing 85 percent of total pages on Facebook. Megabrands with over 10 million fans, however, actually saw a decrease in engagement, reported ClickZ.
There's also SimpleUsability's eye-tracking study, which showed that, despite some creative Facebook Timeline efforts from brands, Timeline brand page users actually find some of the new elements confusing. 
As a marketer, I’m left with the following insights: the new Timeline layout for brand pages will increase my fan engagement from 14 to 192 percent... unless it drops. Oh, and it also depends on my vertical, size of fan base, shoe size, preference for PB & J or just PB, and proximity of my physical store to the closest natural body of water.
Cue existential crisis: What does it all mean?

Universal Truths in Online Marketing

It might all mean something. It could mean nothing at all. Isn’t that the most frustrating answer ever? The truth is, there are more information sources online than you can shake a stick at.
However, there are universal truths in this insular world of ours:
  • You’re going to read a lot of conflicting data, “fact,” and opinion.
  • There is no magic formula.
  • The only way to discover what works for your business is to try, test, tweak, rinse and repeat.
When studies come out this way – on a hot topic, with different methodologies and sample sizes, almost always by companies with a vested interest in the topic – it’s almost a knee-jerk reaction to pit them against one another. If Study A is right, Studies B & C must be wrong, or vice versa.

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