40% show their brand preferences on Facebook
While nearly 40% of Facebook users actively 'Like' brands on the social network in order to publicly express their brand affiliations to their friends, only 17% are more likely to purchase a product after becoming a 'Fan' on Facebook, according to a survey of 1,500 consumers by interactive marketing firm ExactTarget and CoTweet.
The survey found that, while consumers primarily turn to Facebook to connect with friends and for entertainment purposes, the ideas of attracting discounts and 'social badging' are actually the primary reasons that consumers open 'Like' brands on Facebook.
The 'Facebook X-Factors' survey report found that 39% of Facebook users who become fans do so to publicly display their brand affiliation to friends - nearly twice as often as consumers who follow brands on Twitter and nearly four times more often than consumers who subscribe to email communications for the same reason.
"Consumers use Facebook to interact with friends, to be entertained, and to express themselves through their public affiliation with brands - all of which are factors that combine to create a potent viral marketing platform," said Jeff Rohrs, principal for ExactTarget's marketing research and education group. "By engaging consumers on Facebook in a way that keeps them entertained, brands have an unprecedented opportunity to mobilise Fans and get introduced to their friends."
Among the key findings of the research:
- 64% of all US consumers - and 75% of Millennials - have created a profile on Facebook, making it the "default" social community today;
- 40% of Facebook users who become fans do so to receive discounts and promotions, and 39% become fans to show their support for a brand to others;
- The most common reason that consumers use Facebook is to reconnect with old friends and friends that live far away (63%);
- 37% of consumers use Facebook to manage their social life;
- 30% of consumers use Facebook to occupy their down time citing it as a "guilty pleasure", and 31% say they monitor the amount of time spent on Facebook because of its addictive nature;
- 65% of Facebook users say they login only before or after work or school, and 69% use the site on weekends or off-days, requiring marketers to engage with consumers at nights and weekends as well as during normal business hours;
- Women are more likely than men to use Facebook for maintaining personal relationships (63% versus 54%), connecting with old friends (68% versus 56%) and managing their social lives (41% versus 34%);
- Consumers' capacity for exposure to brand messages via Facebook is limited, as half of all fans "Like" only 1-4 brands, and only 17% of consumers say they're more likely to buy after becoming a brand's fan on Facebook.
"Facebook provides a unique opportunity for marketers to creatively connect with motivated audiences online," concluded Tim Kopp, ExactTarget's chief marketing officer. "This survey report provides insights into why and how consumers use Facebook, and how they want to interact with brands."
The report is the fifth research brief in ExactTarget's and CoTweet's six-part 'Subscribers, Fans & Followers' research series, available by subscription from ExactTarget's web site - click here.