How customers are liking Facebook

A new study of European retail brands by comScore and Facebook has found that popular consumer brands are utilising Facebook to deliver media impressions at scale, achieve brand amplification and resonance, and ultimately drive desired behaviours among key customer segments.

The study, entitled 'The Power of Like – Europe', examined European retail brands such as ASOS, H&M, La Redoute, Topshop and Zara, based on data and insights from comScore's Social Essentials and AdEffx research products. Among the main insights revealed by the study:

  • On Facebook in the UK, France and Germany, 32% of a user's time is spent on the Homepage/News Feed – the primary location where branded content is consumed. While the News Feed is the main driver of branded exposure on Facebook relative to the brand page, only a small portion of Fans see content from a brand in a given week (across retail and other categories).
  • Branded marketing messages delivered to Fans can be virally amplified to extend brand reach to Friends of Fans when Fans engage with the message (i.e. 'Like', comment, share, check-in, and so on). The brands studied have the ability to disseminate marketing messages to up to 44 Friends of Fans for every Fan the brand has on Facebook.
  • Friends of Fans often have slightly different demographic profiles to the core Fan base of a brand. Understanding where the differences lie provides brands the ammunition to strategically target these demographics and help engage them as consumers, and even drive them into the physical or online stores.
  • Fans and Friends of Fans of retail brands (and other categories' brands) often represent higher value customers. For example, ASOS fans were 3.6 times as likely to visit the ASOS website than non-fans, which may be expected given their stated affinity for the brand. However, Friends of Fans were 2.7 times as likely to visit the site as well, which suggests not only inherent similarities between the Fan and Friend of Fan groups but also the persuasive effect of earned media exposure on Friends of Fans.

Not only were social impressions effective at generating positive brand engagement for ASOS, but paid impressions were also effective and achieving behavioural lifts. Facebook paid ads generated 130% uplift in purchase behaviour on the ASOS website in the four weeks following ad exposure in comparison to consumers who were not exposed but had a similar affinity to ASOS (in terms of site visitation and purchase) as the test group in the four weeks prior to the advertising campaign.

According to Mike Shaw, director of marketing solutions for comScore, "With a framework for measuring the value and impact of paid and earned media campaigns, brands can gain the insights needed to optimise their social marketing efforts. While every campaign is unique and may vary in overall effectiveness, these results show how Facebook marketing can be effective in reaching consumers and influencing their actual purchase behaviour."