You have made the best ever Facebook fan page, and are getting just a whopping amazing amount of impressions on your posts to Facebook. All is wonderful; the audience loves you, but what about the actual click throughs? Here is what I amobserving from my own Facebook fan page for my company, and how they relate to actual traffic on my web site.
So what is a Facebook impression is probably the first question you should be asking. According to Facebook an impression is:
the number of impressions measures the number of times the post has been rendered on user’s browsers. These impressions can come from a user’s news feed, live feed, directly from the Page, or through the Fan Box widget. This includes instances of the post showing up below the fold. Source Facebook.com
So this is important to remember, this is only the number of times the post has been rendered in a browser, not necessarily indicative of what the person did with the article, or even if they read it.
Yi Soon Shin – one of the more important independent comic books out there on the market today has both an in-depth review at the web site and has a link on the Facebook fan page back. Knowing the comic book has generated a lot of buzz in independent comic book circles this would have appeared to be a slam dunk in obtaining traffic to the web site. The Facebook fan page impressions are very good, but the actual derived traffic from this has been minimal.
Facebook Fan Page for Yi Soon Shin
Actual Statistics from the web site
Zombies VS Cheerleaders – many people love Zombies VS Cheerleaders, and the titles consistently sell through extraordinarily well, but there is the same disconnect between Facebook page impressions and the actual traffic back to the web site.
Facebook Fan Page for Zombies VS Cheerleaders
Actual statistics from the web site
What I am pulling away from all this is that while Facebook impressions are kind of cool, they are a “feel good” statistic that does not related to consumer behavior in a meaningful way. These are the kind of “feel good” statistics that people hand to management to make them feel like their social media campaign is having an impact.
This also looks a lot like headline grazing, in that customers are simply reading the blurb that goes along with the headline and not necessarily reading the article. Headline grazing is ok, but does not lead to an informed audience, or create meaningful traffic back to the web site in question.
Facebook impressions then are ok, but essentially meaningless when considering the actual amount of traffic that is coming back to the web site. It is good to know that the pages are being rendered in someone’s browser but it does not mean that the person did a meaningful action, like click a link back to the web site.
Few will dispute that Facebook is very important to brand, brand image, and connecting with people. But like all social media the end goal in some cases is a meaningful action on the part of the participants, either a click, a like, or a comment. Facebook is more important right now than Google in generating web traffic (it is our largest referrer since day one of the web site) so these numbers actually mean something to us. It also puts the criticality of what we write at the company web site back to the headline and the blurb about the article. These have always been important, but going through the statistics for the Facebook fan page, this makes it all the more apparent that much like anything else we do, it is about the headline and the blurb to capture people’s attention and generate meaningful action on their parts.
(Cross-posted @ Managing Intellectual Property & IT Security)