Facebook’s Power Studied

    September 6, 2007

By spending time on Facebook, a person might hope to find a friend, a significant other, or even a job.  I can accept that.  What’s surprising is the power the social network wields over things like candy companies and banks.

Facebook's Power Studied
Facebook’s Power Studied

First, a refresher: we’ve covered the comeback of the Wispa candy bar.  There was also the way in which HSBC decided not to charge interest on overdrafts, and although they were interested, most onlookers (your humble author included) thought both occurrences were pretty much lucky shots.

Data from Hitwise’s Robin Goad suggests otherwise, however; it seems that Facebook users constitute a force that every intelligent company should try to please.  “Facebook currently ranks 20th in terms of delivering traffic to retail websites,” reports Goad.  “Four percent of people leaving Facebook go to a retailer – and this number has doubled during 2007.  As [the] graph below illustrates, the major UK banks are also receiving more traffic from Facebook.”

And sure enough, four lines representing four banks are all angled sharply upwards.  HSBC’s red line is particularly steep.

“[T]he banks’ customers are also increasingly visiting social networks after doing their online banking,” Goad continues.  “The challenge for banks, retailers and others is to ensure that this traffic is benefiting their brand, rather than harming it.”

Well, as long as banks, retailers, and “others” continue to bring back candy bars and lower interest rates, I think we’ll all get along just fine.