Facebook fans prove valuable to big brands

16 June 2010

NEW YORK: McDonald's and Starbucks are among the brands with the most valuable fans on Facebook, a new study has revealed.

Syncapse, the consultancy, conducted a survey of 4,000 members of Facebook in an effort to understand the "long-term business value" that companies can derive from the social network.

Its assessment covered twenty of the most popular corporate users of this platform, including Coca-Cola, Starbucks, McDonald's, Dove, Gillette, Nokia, Nike, Victoria's Secret and Red Bull.

Consumers who "like" a product were found to spend $136.38 (€112; £93) a year on the item in question, $71.84 more than the shoppers who have not performed the action.

The overall figure reached a high of $310 for McDonald's, $235 for Starbucks, $229 for Victoria‘s Secret and $188 for Sony's PlayStation.

However, there were substantial differences within categories, with advocates for the telecoms giant Nokia posting an average outlay of $180.87 on its goods, compared with just $83.98 for BlackBerry.

However, BlackBerry enjoyed greater returns from "non-fans" than Nokia.

The gap in the revenues generated from a company's followers and those who had not registered their affiliation in this way peaked at $160 for McDonald's but fell to $29 for Oreo.

Similarly, while supporters of Coca-Cola invested up to $317 on the soft drink each year, this averaged out at $138 each, showing there were a considerable discrepancy even between the backers of brand.

In terms of loyalty levels, which were defined in terms of "continued product usage", PlayStation posted a rating of 87.5%, with Coca-Cola on 85%, Gillette on 83.3% and 83.9% for Nutella.

Coca-Cola also boasted the best performance with "non-fans" on this measure with a score of 62.7%, declining to 59.8% for McDonald's, 58.8% for Gillette and 56.8% for Oreo.

In terms of recommendations, 81.4% of netizens that were following Sony's PlayStation said they would actively promote the games console to their friends.

Victoria's Secret, on 79.4%, finished in second place on this metric, with Coca-Cola in third on 77.8% and Dove in fourth on 76% Dove.

Elsewhere, Pringles, Nike, Skittles, Xbox and Starbucks were just some of the 11 brands that delivered scores of at least 80% when it came to building "empathy" among their fans. 

These products also recorded totals of over 90% when it came to making consumers feel "warm", "gratified" or "happy".

"Fan value is cyclical and ever changing based on the ongoing marketing performance," Syncapse's study concluded.

"It becomes incumbent upon brands to institute a long term view if they are to successfully learn and evolve from independent campaign orientations to an approach of defining, measuring and increasing the value of their fans."

Data sourced from Syncapse; additional content by Warc staff