Ten key factors drive a stronger response to fan pages, according to a study from Millward Brown and Dynamic Logic in cooperation with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).
The report, "Value of a Fan," splits the factors into five basic expectations and five proposed differentiators. The basic expectations apply to all brand pages, while the differentiators can help pages stand out, but may not apply to all brands.
The basics are regular posts, trustworthy brand news, new product information, contests and special offers. However, brands that can also deliver either a sense of fun, variety, innovation, interactivity or community will stand out from other pages and see a stronger brand response, according to the research.
Successful pages deepen both brand equity and engagement. The research notes that the pages generating the strongest brand response were not necessarily those with the largest number of fans.
Fan expectations of brands in the social media space are increasing all the time and marketers only get out what they put in, said Duncan Southgate, global innovation director at Millward Brown. Marketers that don't regularly add new and interesting content to their fan pages and embrace what their fans want from the page are missing out on an opportunity to build loyalty among some of their most important consumers.
Most marketers are currently in the phase of figuring out the right metrics to understand the return, he says. "Behavioral metrics go a long way to helping marketers understand what's happening in social media, but some form of attitudinal quality measure is an essential overlay for a comprehensive understanding of performance," Southgate tells Marketing Daily. "Based on our research to date, most marketers are seeing a positive return, but different pages perform in different ways so it's key for brands to understand both their strengths and weaknesses relative to other fan pages."
The report also identifies the perceived value that social media delivers for marketers. Of the participating WFA members, 85% regard fan pages as a means of securing additional insight and increasing loyalty, while 80% cited the opportunity to increase advocacy. Of those participating WFA members, 96% are spending more in this area and 27% are finding that running fan pages takes more time and money than anticipated.
Despite increased time and money being invested, 50% of the WFA members who participated were unsure of their return on investment, and 23% believed they were getting a good return, but 27% regarded payback as just average or poor.
The report is based on interviews with 24 multinational WFA companies and online questionnaires with 3,687 of their fans. The WFA represents 90% of global marketing communications spend -- about $700 billion annually. The fan pages selected included brands from the confectionery, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, personal care and telecommunications sectors. Although some pages were global, others were specifically targeted at consumers in Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom or the U.S.