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Duh: Study Reveals Your Facebook Fans Like You More Than Random People

June 12, 2012


DuhThe New York Times just published an Associated Press snippet under the extremely misleading headline "ComScore Study Says Facebook Ads Effective."

Larry passed me the link, and we both wondered briefly if Facebook had commissioned a study to "prove" that their ads are in fact effective (since our recent research suggests that Facebook ads are not effective compared to other online display ad networks).

However, if you read the story, it doesn't even appear to be about ads (emphases mine):

The report released Tuesday found that people who were fans of Starbucks and Target, or friends of those fans, were more likely to make a purchase than a control group that were not fans.

The comScore study comes a day after the research firm said that the number of unique visitors to Facebook's website is growing at a slower pace. And it's less than a month after Facebook had a disappointing debut as a public company.

The report was partly commissioned by Facebook, a client of comScore's. It was based on a panel of Internet users who agreed to participate in the study — a condition that can skew results.

Uhhhhh ... this has nothing whatsoever to do with the effectiveness of Facebook ads. These results basically say that fans of a brand are more likely to buy that brand's products than people who are not fans. As Larry said, "This is the ultimate duh study." Of course your fans are more likely to buy your products! That's why they're your fans. No one is questioning that. Fans are free. The question is whether companies get return on their advertising dollars.

The fact that Facebook didn't commission a study on the value of its display ads calls their effectiveness even more into question.

It also brings to mind the "So what" factor I just wrote about for Search Engine Journal. Why publish content that will surprise nobody?

Image via Sarah Deer


Megan Marrs
Jun 12, 2012

I also read a fascinating report recently that people who like cats tend to share more pictures of cats online! Imagine that!

Elisa Gabbert
Jun 12, 2012

I'll have to see that to believe it.

Larry Kim
Jun 12, 2012

they should be fixing their lousy advertising options rather than doing these ridiculous studies.

Jun 12, 2012

The study's conclusion is truistic. It doesn't prove that Facebook ads are any more effective than they're thought to be. It doesn't bolster advertisers' waning confidence in the site.

Sushi Digital
Jun 14, 2012

Welll they can't have everything I guess.... :)

Nick Stamoulis
Jun 18, 2012

That is an extremely misleading title.  I still don't believe that Facebook is a place of commerce.  People go to Facebook to check in with friends and family, not to click on ads.  Google ads may be more expensive, but they are a lot more effective because people are actually looking for something. 

Jul 02, 2012

Nick, I mostly agree.Though I work in a very niche field of marketing I take a personal interest with keeping up with the marketing industry in general.I believe that FB can be a place of commerce for the right companies and if you use it correctly but generally the users are on FB for their personal social connections not ads. This makes it exceedingly hard for advertisers because they need to interrupt the user with something that they know this user is interested in enough to stop what they’re doing to click on the ad and maybe buy something. FB can be a place of commerce for the right companies and if you use it right.Meanwhile search engine ads lack that interruption factor because people are already looking for what’s being advertised. So it’s definitely easier to get those click through’s and there by customers.My personal experience is that when people are looking for something they’ll often go through the trouble of really looking and comparing information from different sites. I believe companies should focus on creating more organic links and less “ads” per se. I say this because the internet in general seems to like those who provide valuable content more than anything else.  I know National Positions is one of the SEO companies that has realized this and is focusing more on providing quality content and organic links.Having a presence on FB is still important, though how important depends on the type of company. 

Tyler Jones
Jan 22, 2013

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peter kenneth
Feb 19, 2013

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