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What’s a ‘Like’ Worth, Anyway?

Facebook T-ShirtIn what we saw as a craven attempt to push the “sponsored stories” feature, Facebook’s head of measurement and insights Brad Smallwood told IAB’s October tech conference attendees that Facebook clicks are essentially worthless and that brands should focus on “impressions” and “reach” instead.

A new study by digital ad tech company SocialVibe both supports and contradicts his argument—while impressions are extremely valuable, likes are the key drivers behind Facebook’s value to brands. Most significantly, the study found that 7 out of 10 customers made a purchase directly after being contacted by a brand via social media—and that 60% consider brands they’ve “liked” or followed before all others when making shopping decisions.

SocialVibe’s four most important conclusions after the jump:

  1. Connections drive behavior. A “like” makes the likelihood of future purchases far more likely—19% of customers make purchases “often” after receiving social media updates.
  2. Consumer connections=brand loyalty. The top reasons customers like brands? To receive special offers and to learn about changes and updates, thereby expanding their “brand experience.”
  3. Consumers who “like” your brand tend to stick around. 17% of consumers follow brands directly on a daily basis—they’re so into their favorite brands that they don’t even need notices to take initiative.
  4. Social media connections must be “carefully nurtured”. Despite all this talk of dedicated consumers who explore brands on their own, at least 37% are very ready to end their connections to your brand with a simple re-click of the like button. The most common reason for termination? Too many updates. The second most common? No clear value in shared information/content.

The biggest lesson we draw from this survey: Facebook profiles must be managed with strategic efficiency. Brands cannot afford to be overzealous with their posts, and they must ensure that each update contains something that’s truly worthwhile for followers–be it a one-time offer or a new product rollout.

In order for “likes” to bring real value to a brand, that brand’s social media ambassadors must help followers understand exactly what the relationship does for them.

Clear enough, right?

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