They say you can’t put a price on friendship, but on Facebook, apparently that’s no longer true. Vitrue, a social media management company, who teaches brands such as Ford, Kellogs and ESPN how to increase their marketing potential through social media platforms like Facebook, has determined that the value of a fan on Facebook is approximately US$3.60 per year. The company analysed tens of millions of facebook fans over a variety of different pages to come up with the statistic, which correlates to what would be spent in other advertising media.
It might not seem like much, but some pages have millions of fans, which translates into millions of dollars worth of media exposure. For example Starbucks has around 6.5 million, the equivalent of 23 million in media expenses.
Virtue has used the statistic as a way of highlighting the power of social media as a form of advertising, emphasising that even brands with a lot of fans still need to engage them to get the full benefit of their numbers.
Some have criticised this statistic as being outdated, by focusing on comparing social media with traditional media, when the two might have different intrinsic values, rather than measuring how this form of advertising translates into sales figures. Others have pointed out that the statistics used in calculating this value could be based on faulty assumptions.
Regardless, this statistic reinforces the power of social media as a tool for big brands to reach the public.