Facebook 'Likes' have mixed benefits

11 November 2013
LONDON: The number of 'Likes' a branded page attracts on Facebook has been shown to influence how other users relate to that brand, though enthusiasm diminishes once this rate increases beyond a high level of over 10,000, according to a pilot study.

Aegis Media, the digital communications group, conducted a survey involving 600 US internet users and found that the more Likes a branded page attracts risks delivering diminishing returns.

As reported by The Drum, Aegis created a fictitious brand, called Ashwood Furnishings, and asked participants to judge its popularity based on various Facebook pages that were identical in content but differed in their number of Likes.

It found that more users were positively influenced by pages that had a relatively modest number of up to 2,000 Likes, but became more disconnected once the number rose between a medium and high level of 10,000 Likes.

While the test demonstrated that Likes do influence behaviour and that Facebook fans may then add indirect value to a brand, the study suggested that simply relying on a large-sized online community would not deliver positive responses by itself.

Rob Horler, Aegis Media's UK CEO, explained that the study sought to examine the process of "social proof" – the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something.

"Social proof clearly has a role to play in changing perceptions, and our experiment is one first step in understanding this better," Horler said, adding that his company planned to conduct wider research in the near future "to take a broader view of social media use and other factors that affect unconscious behaviour".

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff
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