People 'Fan' Brands Because They Actually Like Them

Have you ever wondered why your friends Like specific brands on Facebook?

It’s because they actually like those brands -- less so because of coupons, giveaways or other enticing offers.

According to  new research my team conducted, 78% of Facebook brand Fans in key consumer categories are users of those brands to begin with. Interestingly, Fans choose to Like brands in key consumer categories predominantly to fulfill emotional, expression and relationship desires -- as opposed to receive offers or other transactional benefits. In fact, the single biggest reason (49%) brand Fans in our study report becoming a Fan is “to support the brand I like.”

This research was a sequel to our earlier work that estimates the average economic value of brand Fans in our study to be $174, up 28% since 2010. Focusing on 20 major consumer brands, our Fan valuation methodology incorporates key drivers of brand value, including spending, loyalty, propensity to recommend, earned media value, acquisition cost and brand affinity.



Other key reasons for becoming a Fan of a brand include: “to share my personal good experiences” (31%); “to share my interests / lifestyle with others” (27%); and “seeing my friends are already a Fan or Liked” (20%).

Indeed, transactional offers and incentives are present, though less so. Among the reasons in this category were: “to get a coupon or discount” (42%) and “to participate in contests” (35%).         

Just as the average value of a Fan differs across brands, so do reasons for becoming a Fan. For example, brands with longevity, passion or strong emotional equity are more likely to attract Fans that want to support them. Strong examples are Disney, Coca-Cola and Nike.

Among popular retail brands -- like Zara, H&M and Walmart -- Fans are less likely to become a Fan to support those brands, but more eager to seek coupons and discounts.

Our research underscores how marketers can (and must) maximize social marketing investments by aligning Fan motivations with Fan acquisition tactics. Doing so can increase marketing efficiency and add to the likelihood of acquiring ideal Fan segments.

For example, a brand marketer should explore emphasizing emotional brand attributes in Fan acquisition campaigns in order to acquire higher-spending and more loyal Fans. Conversely, it may be best to avoid direct-response tactics for Fan acquisition, where such tactics often attract promiscuous shoppers looking for free stuff. Offers and coupons might be better deployed against existing, high-quality Fans to reinforce messaging, purchasing cycles and upsells.

If you don’t know why your Fans became Fans in the first place, then your social marketing is flying blind.  Do you know the composition of your Facebook Fan base?

2 comments about "People 'Fan' Brands Because They Actually Like Them".
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  1. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, July 2, 2013 at 11:49 a.m.

    Your survey, "The Value of a Facebook Fan 2013 study", says brand Fans have proven to be highly valuable – $174 on average across key consumer categories. For comparison, a Blackberry user is worth $40 to RIM, and an iTunes user is worth about $400 to Apple. These make the $174 valuation seem high, as these users were probably fans anyway. So is this number the extra value by virtue of becoming a Facebook fan, or the *total* value of these people because of everything they do in their lives (in which case, what is the extra Facebook value)?

  2. Max Kalehoff from MAK, July 2, 2013 at 11:56 a.m.

    @PeteAustin: As described in the article, the Fan value is a composite number that incorporates six specific drivers of brand value, including spending, loyalty, propensity to recommend, earned media value, acquisition cost and brand affinity. The highest weightings are spending and loyalty, yet we did assign a value to Facebook, i.e., earned media value. Where the real distinction comes in the value of a Fan is when you compare them to the value of customers that are not Fans.

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