Facebook Follower Growth Has Stalled For Retailers

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Most brands are on Facebook, but that doesn't mean they're getting followers. A new study out from Yesmail's Yes Lifecycle Marketing finds that out of nearly 250 retailers, 98% maintain a Facebook presence, but follower growth has plateaued. It found that only big box and home goods categories saw an increase in followers last year. Meanwhile, the study also found that brands are seeing a lot better follower growth on Instagram.

"The report indicates that although Facebook is the status-quo, it is not the most effective social media platform," a spokesperson for the firm tells WebProNews. "Retailers hoping to amplify their social media presence should explore new channels and invest in campaign metric tools."

The study looked at the beauty, apparel, big box, electronics, and home goods categories across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Google+. Out of those analyzed, 91% have a presence on two or more social channels.

Apparel retailers in particular saw an average follower growth of 417% on Instagram last year. Apparel brands were also the most socially connected with 86% on four or more social channels and 60% present on all five channels tracked.

91% of brands were on Twitter, while 79% used YouTube, and just 43% were using Instagram despite its potential for follower growth. This is pretty much in line with past findings from Yesmail in that brands have been slow to adopt Instagram for marketing despite significant engagement for those that have.

Bob Sybydlo, Director, Market Intelligence and Deliverability at Yesmail told WebProNews in March, “Instagram is still a fairly new platform, and is late in the advertising game – the platform introduced sponsored posts just two years ago. It’s possible that before 2013, marketers didn’t view Instagram as a must-have, but rather as a nice to have. As engagement and users increase, I have no doubt that we’ll see more brands adopt the platform.”

According to the new study, the average follower growth rate for brands on Instagram is 237%.

“The focus on Facebook made sense years ago, but Yesmail Market Intelligence illustrated how follower growth for that channel has plateaued for most retail categories,” said Michael Fisher, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “The answer isn’t necessarily to shift resources, but rather turn a serious eye to audience preferences and return on social investment. Social media has moved past the experimental phase, and retailers must know their audience and know the ROI of their efforts.”

It's not just Facebook that has seen follower growth stall. It's a similar story on Twitter. In terms of follower counts, Faceobook still had the highest by far with an average of 2.8 million fans per page. Instagram came in second with 300,000. Interestingly, Google+ took number 3 with 270,000, beating Twitter with 262,000. The average for YouTube was just 28,000.

Image via Facebook

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.