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Study: Facebook Likes Are Junk

Another Study has questioned the value of Facebook likes. According to Dr. Tina McCorkindale, a professor from Appalachian State University, likes mean almost nothing for almost no one. The study she conducted found 75% of  those between 18-29, which are the core group of Facebook users never go back to a facebook page that they “like.”

 In public relations, one of the basics of what we do is build relationships to hopefully get individuals to engage in some sort of behavior. It’s clear that the 18- to 29-year-olds are not as invested in an organization as the organization may think they are when they click the ‘like’ button or click ‘follow.’ It’s fairly consistent in the research that Millennials like organizations that give something back to them.

This is pretty interesting, especially since a recent study in February said that 99% of Facebook fans are useless.  Facebook is trying to convince more and more people that the real value of people is getting them to like brands or become fans, instead of driving people off of Facebook. The idea is that Facebook’s real value to advertisers has something to do with Facebook not driving sales or visitors to other websites – which is the core value of Google Adwords.

What does this mean? Well, marketers all know that you need to drive visitors off of Facebook to landing pages. If anyone ever proves that Facebook pages and “time” on Facebook is worth a lot less, then there is a huge problem with Facebook’s value.  Maybe they are a $1 Trillion Company? Maybe they are just a fad?

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Pesach Lattin

Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pace Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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  1. great post and definitely brings up some interesting points. I missed the previous study so thankfully this caught my eye. Will be linking out to a few people though to read this!

  2. They may be useless in bringing fans back to a page they liked, however as an aggregate data set, patterns emerge that shows us plenty of information about them and, other users who may have similar related interests, i.e there is plenty of data that is eaten up by marketers. Liks may be useless for return traffic, but they count heavily in the overall social scorecard of your website.

  3. If returning to a company website were the main benefit of collecting fans and likes Dr. Tina McCorkindale might have a point.

    However, there are so many other benefits that were overlooked that it is comical, and I consider her report to be harmful, and worthy of a full retraction as it is incredibly shortsighted.

    Arguably, the single greatest benefit of courting fans on Facebook is that it helps any given company show up more prominently on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s).

    How can a search engine, with offices and staff located many miles from where you live, possibly know which retailer, restaurant, or service provider is likely to give you the best possible user experience?

    A) They can guess.
    B) They can give Page-One positioning mostly to paying advertisers.
    C) They can rely on keywords found within web pages.
    D) They can rely on consumer reviews
    For an interesting read about how this failed the consumer, and ultimately lead the release of Panda which first incorporated social media into the SERP algorithm, see:
    E) The can rely on a local popularity index of some sort

    The best answer is E, and that is best detected by Facebook fans, followers, likes and chatter.

    This is the algorithmic equivalent of “Where there is smoke, there is fire.”

    Facebook: Fans, Likes, and Followers are heavily weighted in SERP’s along with consumer reviews and web page quality score

    This formula benefits the end user as well as the advertiser and the search engines in that it tends to result in a more positive user experience, rewards retailers and such for being successful, and builds loyalty to the search engine that delivered the most reliable and insightful search returns, and the whole process churns again and again.

    If anybody still thinks that 99% of Facebook fans are useless, quit now and find a job where you do not rely on search engines to generate business for you.

    – Richard Phoebus

  4. “Maybe they are just a fad?”

    Bam! You hit it right on the head with that one.

    But in all seriousness, I agree with Richard. There’s more to “fans” and “likes” than focusing on getting those users to RETURN to your page.

    While I do believe that rankings are effected by recent Google updates by factoring in social activity such as “likes”; If used effectively, likes are better used as a method to drive traffic to a certain post rather than a means of getting users to return to a homepage.

    Not to mention, “likes” are an excellent way to get that particular post in front of as many eyes as possible; a great way to go viral and build a brand.

  5. Where are the links to the studies and surveys?

    Also”The study she conducted found 75% of those between 18-29, which are the core group of Facebook users never go back to a facebook page that they “like.”

    How many were surveyed? Usually less than a thousand. What about the 200 million that were not surveyed?

    Liars figure and figures lie!

  6. use feedback and suggestions are very important to make your blog or website more user friendly then we says that comment are the back bone of your blogs.

  7. Facebook page is an online community which any one can use to build brand to his/her product all that is required is branding an packaging which will make your fans to believe in you and your produc and they will always come back for more.
    Facebook page as landing page is better than adword with facebook making it easy to narrow target your audience which you cant do with adword

  8. Facebook is like renting, you are at the mercy of your landlord. There’s no incentive for fans to revisit pages they liked and when they like so many pages, how would they even have time? There are a multitude of ways for businesses to engage with their customers and prospects besides Facebook.

  9. I don’t thinks its completely junk. the likes are junk if you get likes from the guys who are not even interested what you are offering them on your page. Be calm and don’t go fast in building only the fan base. Its better to have fans which are really interested in your blog niche or your products. Targeted likes are not junk.

What's your opinion?