If you Like a Facebook Page, do you also engage with it on the social network? If you do, you're part of a very small group of people. Just over 1 percent of fans of the biggest brands on Facebook are actually engaging with the brands, according to a study from market research firm Ehrenberg-Bass Institute.
The institute's researchers examined Facebook's own metric, People Talking About This, which takes into account the last seven days of activity being generated by a Facebook Page, for their study. Facebook stories that are included in the metric are as follows: Liking a Page, posting to a Page's Wall, Liking a Page's post, commenting on a Page's post, sharing a Page's post, answering a Page's posted Question, RSVPing to a Page's event, mentioning a Page in a post, phototagging a Page, Liking or sharing a check-in deal, and checking in at a Place.
The researchers took the overall fan growth of the top 200 brands on Facebook over a six-week period last year and found the percentage of People Talking About This compared to the overall number of fans was just 1.3 percent. If you subtract new Likes, and isolate for more engaged forms of interaction, you're left with just 0.45 percent of fans. In other words, less than half a percent of people who Like a given brand's Facebook Page actually bother to engage with it.
"I don't think it's a bad thing," Karen Nelson-Field, senior research associate for Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, told AdAge. "People need to understand what it can do for a brand and what it can't do. Facebook doesn't really differ from mass media. It's great to get decent reach, but to change the way people interact with a brand overnight is just unrealistic."
Nelson-Field is essentially saying that while the statistic sounds damning, it really isn't that bad: Facebook users are still advertising they Like a brand, and they are doing so without the expectation of compensation. Facebook knows about this issue and is of course working on increasing engagement by allowing ads into the News Feed.