What’s More Valuable: A Like or Click?

    September 1, 2011
    Chris Crum

Facebook has risen to be an important advertising channel for reasons that include: a huge user base, an extraordinary amount of available data about users, and an impressive (and growing) set of targeting options. Facebook ads can lead to conversions as well as more likes, which can give you a more long-term relationship with potential customers – a direct line to their News Feed.

What’s more valuable to you: a like or a click? Let us know in the comments.

SocialCode has released some research data showing a trend in age and gender for likes and clickthrough rates for Facebook advertising.

SocialCode GM Laura O’Shaughnessy tells WebProNews, “Younger users grew up on the web, and are comfortable with the ins and outs of social networking. Therefore, I think they are more inclined to click the Like button.  They know what the button means and know exactly what it does, so they are likely to click it, whether it’s in an ad or elsewhere.”

“We find that older users are very likely to interact with ads on Facebook, but they are inclined to click through and learn more about the offer before clicking the Like button,” she adds. “We also assume that because older users are also the newest subset to join the social network, they may not have high friend numbers so ads may be less likely to have social context in advertisements.”

Here are some highlights from the research:

  • 50+ year-old users, the oldest segment in the study, are 28.2 percent more likely to click through and 9 percent less likely to ‘Like’ than 18-29 year-old users, the youngest group observed
  • Versus the rest of the younger population on Facebook, 50+ users see a 22.6 percent higher CTR and 8.4 percent lower ‘Like’ rate
  • Overall, women are 11 percent more likely to click on an ad
  • ‘Like’ rates are almost even for men and women; men are actually 2.2 percent more likely to ‘Like’ an ad than women
  • For women, CTR is 31.2 percent higher for the 50+ age group versus 18-29 year olds, men only see a 16.2 percent difference between the age groups
  • Versus all age groups, 50+ women’s CTR is 22 percent higher versus a 16.4 percent difference for males
  • The oldest male segment has an 11.7 percent lower ‘Like’ rate than the youngest segment, and 9.5 percent lower ‘Like’ rate versus all age groups.  Women only see a 7.2 percent and 7.9 percent difference respectively

So what’s more valuable: a click or a like?

We ran across an interesting post from the National Healthcare Decisions Day site from earlier this year, in which the organization talks about the value of a Facebook “like”. It seems worth sharing with regards to this conversation.

“Lots of brands and organizations may ask you to ‘like’ them on Facebook,” says Christian Sinclair. “It really is a sign of the times. In fact we are asking you to do the same thing.  But our aim may be somewhat different.  We are not in it for the numbers, we are doing this for the engagement.  A superficial click to like can make executives happy when they show more followers and more fans, but what really counts is what you do after the click.”

“Don’t get us wrong, we do want your click, but we will ask a little more from you,” Sinclair continues in the post. “After you click ‘like’ make sure you stick around a while, leave a comment, send us a tip about advance care planning in the news, share what you read here with your friends.  Get people excited about what you really like.  Then your click on the ‘like’ button becomes much more valuable.”

The like means continued engagement. That is simply going to provide more value for the long term. However, if you are looking for quick gratification and hopefully a quick conversion, the click is certainly valuable, and enough clicks over likes can make a significant impact.

“Both clicks and Likes can be valuable; it really depends on what kind of results you are trying to achieve with your campaign,” says O’Shaughnessy. “For example, Likes are much more important to a campaign that is working to create a targeted fan base; in campaigns where a brand is trying to drive people to take a specific action either on a specific landing pages or on a Facebook tab, clicks are important. For example on a campaign promoting new products or events, clicks would be more valuable because they are driving the action that is valuable to the brand.”

“The age and gender research we conducted is an example of how SocialCode’s advanced knowledge of the Facebook platform will give brands the best insight into which types of campaigns are more likely to drive actions within specific age groups and genders,” she says.

So, the short answer to which is more valuable is: it depends. Establish the goals you are hoping to achieve with your campaign, and place your efforts accordingly. If a click is your primary goal, consider test different ad copy and landing pages (which luckily could help you improve your likes anyway).

What would you rather have: more clicks or more likes? Tell us what you think.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.