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Google Looks at Why People Follow Brands on Facebook

More Than Half Don't Follow Any Brands on Facebook

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Update:  Google tells us it mistakenly attributed the data to a Google/OTX study in its post, but it is actually from an eMarketer report. 

Original Article: Google has shared some results from recent research it eMarketer conducted on consumers becoming friends/fans of brands on Facebook. According to these findings, close to half of Facebook users actually do "friend" brands (the term is technically "like" now), with 55% friending/liking zero brands.

Google eMarketer says that the biggest reason consumers are friending brands is for the possibility of discounts (25%). Brands might like the second reason even better though – to show others they support the brand (18%).

What makes you "like" a brand on Facebook? Let us know.

Brands on Facebook

Brands on Facebook

"So when developing your social media strategy, keep in mind that consumers are looking primarily to receive promotions, with secondary goals of learning new information first and being entertained," says Heidi Spector of the Google Retail Team.

It is worth noting that Google is becoming more and more a competitor to Facebook, and would probably prefer consumers do their brand engagement on its own Place Pages, or perhaps Google Buzz/Profiles (or whatever social offering they’re currently working on). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Google referred to research like this when planning promotion strategies for its own products for business use.

In the comments of this article, someone brought up another very good point. A reader going by the name of "Web Design Syracuse" notes that a lot of small businesses are creating personal profiles rather than Pages, and then trying to get friends rather than fans, "essentially giving these unknown, unverified entities and whomever set up the account, full access to their personal information."

"I’m seeing more and more of this," they write. "Businesses, brands, products, bands, etc. should always create fan pages, NOT personal profiles. There is a brewing security problem here. Any one can create a ‘friend’ page for a small business in their hometown, then friend random strangers who unwittingly accept this request, not knowing if it’s the actual business, an employee of that business, or some potential stalker."

I’d like to thank Web Design Syracuse for raising this point. I’ll take it a step further, and point out that Pages come with a great deal of analytical information that you can use to track fan engagement and improve your strategy.

On a related note, Facebook Page tabs will be changing on August 23, according to multiple reports. The boxes tab will be removed, along with profile boxes on the left-hand side of the page. A spokesperson for the company told AllFacebook, "These boxes will be removed, just as they will be from profiles, and so the page owners will need to move that info to the info page or a custom tab."

Note: This article has been updated from its original form to include more information.

Do you have use a fan page or a personal profile for your Facebook strategy? Comment here.

Google Looks at Why People Follow Brands on Facebook
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  • http://www.lerentech.com web design syracuse

    You write “close to half of Facebook users actually do “friend” brands, with 55% friending zero brands.” I think you mean “fan” but that points to a problem I think you guys should write about and bring some attention to. A lot of smaller businesses are creating “friend” (people) profiles for their businesses then friending people who then may friend them back, essentially giving these unknown, unverified entities and whomever set up the account, full access to their personal information. I’m seeing more and more of this. Businesses, brands, products, bands, etc. should always create fan pages, NOT personal profiles. There is a brewing security problem here. Any one can create a “friend” page for a small business in their hometown, then friend random strangers who unwittingly accept this request, not knowing if it’s the actual business, an employee of that business, or some potential stalker. I think the media, you and facebook should address this issue.

    • Chris Crum

      You make a valid point. “Friending” was actually the language Google used with the research, but this is an issue worth exploring. Technically it should be “liking” at this point, but as far as profile vs. page creation, definitely an important point.

  • http://in.linkedin.com/in/pvinisha Vinisha

    This is an Excellent point! When businesses make Fan Pages for themselves.. they seldom get access to the personal information of their fans whereas if they ‘friend’ them on Facebook, they can actually dig deeper and get inside information of what people are talking about and consequently use the information to steer ahead marketing campaigns.

    Though not the right thing to do.. this can be more fruitful for businesses! Facebook insights only inform about ‘how’ and ‘what kind of people’ are engaging with your brand. They dont telll you what is being talked about .. unless of course you do some research stuff yourself!

  • http://www.asianfashion4u.com wholesale korean fashion

    Why People Follow Brands on Facebook?The reasons the Google analyses qutie right,and it has solve this problem,which I have considering for a long time.

    • http://www.kratomtincture.net/ Kratom Tincture

      Do you know if google spyders facebook ?

  • PhiladelphiaRealtor

    You state that people are creating personal pages for their businesses. This is against facebook rules and if they find out somehow they will shut you down. Also, in order to drive nore traffic to your page you can give it the name of your business after I think 25 “likes” . If you have a business you must know 25 people on facebook. You then open this to none facebook users also by selecting 13 and over so people do not need to sign in to facebook. You the page they land in as a welcome page with a lead capture element on it. This way the people without an account either sign up or give you info to contact them. You also now use your fan page url in everything you do. You can check mine out http://www.facebook.com/philadelphiarealtor

  • http://chickmelion.blogspot.com Guest

    Let’s be honest.. we hold alot of people on our profiles called “friends” who infact are complete strangers, and as a courtesy we hit each other’s like buttons … whether or not we can clearly define what each “friend ” on our lists actually does for a living is another question… The statistics are polluted with such activities.

    Hitting a “like” button is cost free for the user, you dont get asked to justify why… so you can in essence pretend to be be a part of a “group” and an opinion leader without putting in much thought or effort. Whether or not most of the “likes” are actually word of mouth promotion or for other reasons has never been statistically clarified… but I am for one sure curious about the truth behind this as well as how many people who hit “like” buttons are actuall consumers of the corporate they throw their hats behind. This would make a good article don’t you think?

  • http://go2see.info/redge redgedesign

    They want their personality be associated with a good brand they like. May be?

  • Laura

    Facebook “does not allow businesses Profiles”, but restricts functions on Pages, pushing businesses to go ahead and create Profiles.

    I tried to stick just with a Page, but every time I tried to expand the scope, a message came up saying “you must create a Profile to do that” (or something like that). Searching for people to suggest they “Like” your page – need a Profile.

    • Chris Crum

      This makes sense, because if you’re just a business suggesting to people that you aren’t actually connected to, to become a fan of your brand, you’d pretty much just be spamming people. Through a personal profile, you’ll be at a friend level at least, and why some friends may still consider you to be spamming them, it’s at least at a more personal level. Plus, Facebook surely would rather have you purchase advertising.

  • http://www.kratomplants.net/ Kratom Plants

    Is it right that facebook has 2 billion users? If so, there is no wonder people follow brands on there. Its a powerful plant.

    • Chris Crum

      Half a billion by most recently released numbers. Still quite a few.

  • http://www.gp2b.com Get Paid to Blog

    I Like brand that I already love/like in real life.

  • http://www.increase-traffic.com.au website analysis

    I think a lot of businesses struggle with whether or not there is value in the time associated with maintaining a facebook page and or how to make it effective. This adds some real insite, will be investigating now how to manage a discount program through facebook page – if anyone has any information or case studies on this would be great to hear them.

  • http://www.directorysubmissionservices.net wages

    Hi,An even higher percentage of respondents have “friended” a brand on Facebook – a whopping 40%. Considering that Facebook is a social network that started out as a way for college kids to network, this is a statistic that will make companies and organizations take note. If you want brand recognition on the Web, according to these statistics there’s a very good chance that Facebook is a place you want to be.Thanks for sharing the nice information.

    • http://www.organicbabe.com.au Organic Babe & Kids Wear

      Facebook is a reckon to be forced with as when you do post something up there usually you get a response immediately and so far there doesnt seem a problem with having too many friends.

      Also you can put photos up immediately.

      Organic Babe has tried many avenues and honestly google is fantastic as well.

      It seems friendly orientated Facebook and for some reason you feel that the people you are
      getting are local and interested in your products.

      Twitter doesnt seem human – just people sending off their links and really havent had any results to date.

  • meenu

    ur face book do not attac my friends

  • Guest

    I do not friend brands or were branded clothes because it is chavvy. It sows a lack of intelligence.

    • Guest

      Perhaps you should consider learning how to spell before you post a comment.

      Were is spelled wear.

      Duh

  • @Peter.bkk

    Not all is complete on facebook !
    What Google profile have, ha-vend Facebook NOT !
    We missing the Page buttons on every profile !

    The Like or Fan buttons on a page is also not a happy thing !

    Pages not easy to found in the jungle of Facebook.

  • http://www.worldtravelingartist.com Alexander

    “It is worth noting that Google is becoming more and more a competitor to Facebook, and would probably prefer consumers do their brand engagement on its own Place Pages, or perhaps Google Buzz/Profiles (or whatever social offering they’re currently working on). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Google referred to research like this when planning promotion strategies for its own products for business use.”

    Interesting! I think Google shall go even a step further with it, like linking it directly to it’s AdWords machine. Brand equals money after all. ;)

  • http://www.dentalblog.co Sharon Bogetz

    I agree with your comments.
    I believe that business owners and healthcare providers, like dentists, should use their Facebook Page to post offers or coupons for their current customers or patients. Knowing why your fans are likely to visit your Facebook page is valuable marketing information. Giving your customers or patients what they want is what sales and service is all about.

  • Guest

    The simple answer is for anyone using a social network to realize that entities are generally not authenticated against the names chosen for a given account. Although detecting an email phishing attempt for what it is is a little easier, by checking header and SPF information, there is not much difference in that one can claim to be whomever one wants.

    The problem with that ‘simple’ solution is that it requires user education and awareness for it to be effective just as it requires education and awareness for businesses to create the correct type of account.

    Short of creating a special class of accounts, specifically for businesses which use entity authentication before creating/granting an account, we are left with both users and businesses having to be educated as to how to operate securely and provide a modicum of security, respectively.

    But, even if a special class of accounts are created, users would still need to be educated as to what is more likely to be trustworthy so we are back to an issue of education and awareness meaning there is no simple technical solution.

  • http://surf-find.net Guest

    That’s my opinion.

  • http://www.smartpaymentplanonline.com Smart Payment Plan

    This is really great information! Very helpful for people to understand how to build their social media strategy.

    Ted
    Smart Payment Plan

  • http://polskanajwazniejsza.info/?p=66 Deon Escober

    Really excellent visual appeal on this website , I’d rate it 10 10.

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