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What is the value of a Facebook Fan? A case study

Bulmers: Facebook fans are worth £3.82 more than non-fans

"What is the value of a Like?" is understandably still a common question. There's some interesting coverage regarding Facebook Fan value at the moment, the 'ROI of social media' is always a hot topic, after all.

Research conducted by TNS and We Are Social, working with Bulmer's Cider, found that brand preference was higher in Facebook fans than the control group - and that fans were more likely to pay more and recommend Bulmers to others. Sounds fairly obvious so far, yet Bulmer's wanted to know the actual ROI, something tangible, which is what makes it interesting. This is an outline of the methodology which aimed to look at the value generated by fans of the brand.

The research, unveiled at the IAB’s Great British Social Media Festival, which surveyed Bulmers’ Facebook fans and compared results with a sample of general cider drinkers, found that the average retail value of its fans on Facebook was worth £198.64 more to the brand a year than non-fans, that's 80 bottles and so £3.82 more to the company in sales each week, than non-fans.

Key take-aways

Of course there are many over-lapping reasons 'why', and if you wanted to say "It's only because…" then you probably could, Bulmers is after all a leading brand in that market now, there are factors that could easily skew the data somewhat (for example, raving Facebook fans are more likely to be really into the product).

It is also a relatively predictable outcome for a brand like Bulmers because they are working hard on their social media marketing. Social media is not (and never will be) about Facebook (or Google+, Pinterest, Twitter…), nor is it a sales promotion channel, it's about focussing on what's of interest to relevant people, and in social media these are most likely your existing customer base. This is why Bulmers are seeing the return, the why's and wherefore's aren't so useful, it's an integrated approach and it's working for them.

“[focus on] …concise targeting and making sure all marketing touch-points are integrated with social media"

Doug Cook, Bulmers brand manager

Five things to think about

  1. Focus on your existing customer audience, they're the real fans, it's what Bulmers are seeing in their ROI - I believe - it's not the social medium or Facebook, it's the fact they connect to a passionate customer base which happens to be done in Facebook.
  2. The Bulmers Facebook page has a real purpose, it's a point of fulfilment, an important place where other marketing activity drives people who are interested in the brand.
  3. Social media works best when properly integrated, for Bulmers this in the past has included using the Facebook logo on ad campaigns and also pointing consumers who had played a game via a poster QR code back towards its page
  4. Amplify social with advertising. This is important, advertising is not dead, it's just relatively useless in isolation (isn't most marketing). Paid-for ads have helped Bulmers attract more attention and increase the size of its Facebook fan base.
  5. Drive ongoing engagement. Bulmers post photos, videos and competitions to keep the brand front of mind. We know rich media gets at least twice the engagement of text only posts.

Here's the full We are Social presentation from the IAB’s Great British Social Media Festival:


Danyl Bosomworth

Expert Commentator

Dan helped to co-found Smart Insights in 2010 and acted as Marketing Director until leaving in November 2014 to focus on his other role as Managing Director of First 10 Digital. His experience spans brand development and digital marketing, with roles both agency and client side for nearly 20 years. Creative, passionate and focussed, his goal is on commercial success whilst increasing brand equity through effective integration and remembering that marketing is about real people. Dan's interests and recent experience span digital strategy, social media, and eCRM. You can learn more about Dan's background here Linked In.

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