Facebook Pages: How to benchmark if you are doing well, what to measure and why

Facebook Pages: How to benchmark if you are doing well, what to measure and whyBenchmarking what you do on your Facebook channel will give you a general measure of success for what you are doing and identify any opportunities for improvement. It is a good way to to identify activities you can use to progress towards building an engaged Likebase (Likebase being the total amount of people who Like your Facebook Page).

You should compare the results/outcome/effectiveness of your channel activities in the light of other data for the same application/service, i.e. data from:

  • channels owned by brands that are your direct competitors/peers,
  • channels owned by any brands you are modelling your brand on, and
  • any published stats for your industry

It is all about scanning your competition and the health of your industry in terms of Likebase interactions on facebook pages:

  • if the engagement on your page is low, is anyone else’s?
  • if the rate your page is growing by appears to be slowing, are others slowing too?
  • comparison will give you reasonable goals to aim for
  • comparison can help you identify patterns in the behaviour of your Likebase which may be trend diven (seasonal) and/or unique to your industry

By the very nature of the different Social Technological demographics that constitute your Likebase (See Takeaway #1: Doing better than your competitors/peers is more than just the size of your Likebase in this post for more on this), you are never going to get 100% engagement on your channel. In this, comparison is important as it will help you develop:

  • a framework of data that will determine reasonable goals and expectations for your Pages
  • a list of best-practice Pages that you can then model your own content and page interactions after
  • a scale for where your page sits in terms of competitors/peers, brands you model your own on and any published data for your industry.

I am going to include in this post a critique of a recent WWD article on Facebook page engagement statistics for fashion brands: Dior Well “Liked” on Facebook (Feb 2012) as I think it’s important we talk about measurement with some concrete examples.

Plus the article is a good indicator of some of what I would say are the more spurious conclusions and correlations, which can be drawn from data segments when considered in isolation

The WWD article uses data from Stylophane a company catering specifically to the fashion industry that “…monitors activity on Facebook and Twitter and assists companies looking to market their products through social media.” [And in case you didn’t know, WWD is “the authority for breaking news, comprehensive business coverage and trends in the worlds of fashion, beauty and retail.”]

Stylophane release a monthly index of Facebook (and Twitter) activity for the fashion industry which is usefully segemented into ranks according to number of fans (Likebase):

  • Platinum: Facebook page has 100,000+ likers (Likebase)
  • Gold: Between 10,000 – 100,000 likers (Likebase)
  • Silver: 1,000 – 10,000 likers (Likebase)
  • Bronze: 10 – 1,000 likers (Likebase)

I suspect that I shall be visiting their index quite a bit in the near future. Having a useful index and summary of raw data for fashion industry facebook and twitter channels and their activity (including Luxury Brands) by month that is collated by someone else, will be…handy.

However, I have reservations about how some of their measures are presented and that includes reservations about the significance of the statistics and the rationale used to draw conclusions in the WWD article:

In releasing figures for the month of January, Stylophane found that Dior had opened up a big lead over Converse in the important category of “post likes,” with more than 153,000 last month versus just over 100,000 for the sneaker brand. Post likes are registered when Facebook users click on the “like” button next to a comment of which they approve, giving active posters an advantage over those who are less engaged.

“It’s an incredible achievement and means that people are paying close attention to the brand [Dior] when it speaks,” said Alex Mendoza, a principal of Stylophane, which monitors activity on Facebook and Twitter and assists companies looking to market their products through social media. “They have an incredible brand and they are saying things that are bringing people back.”

[Source WWD Dior Well “Liked” on Facebook (Feb 2012)]

1) Misleading article title

The title Dior Well “Liked” on Facebook (Feb 2012) is quite misleading, since the article is only discussing post likes, not the Likebase for pages. The WWD article reflects on a heirarchy of fashion brands’ facebook channels based on the average amount of likes a post receives on that channel.

Here is Stylophane’s Facebook Fashion Index data for platinum brands, sorted by their post likes for January 2012 (the same month of stats covered in the article) as used in the article:

Rank Brand Name Likes Posts Comments Post Likes
1 Dior 6450511 12 4151 153028
2 Converse 21859411 15 7860 100382
3 The Art Of Travel By Louis Vuitton 4994633 22 2429 96501
4 Nike Football 9436731 42 7175 79659
5 Chanel 5274879 11 2870 79625
6 Coach 2746846 20 5355 63981
7 Dolce Gabbana 3897220 32 3056 63626
8 Burberry 10467732 9 1678 61480
9 DC Shoes 6862098 41 2661 57464
10 Adidas 12171938 17 4294 47850

However, the most “liked” brands are those with the greatest likebase – hence my issue with the title.

2) Likebase vs Post likes

It should be noted, Converse’s greater likebase share is mentioned within the article.

Here is Stylophane’s Facebook Fashion Index data for platinum brands, sorted by their Likebase for January 2012 (the same month of stats covered in the article):

Rank Brand Name Likes Posts Comments Post Likes
1 Converse 21859411 15 7860 100382
2 Adidas 12171938 17 4294 47850
3 Burberry 10467732 9 1678 61480
4 Levis 10227175 1 107 2171
5 Nike Football 9436731 42 7175 79659
6 Lacoste 7554907 10 1190 28966
7 DC Shoes 6862098 41 2661 57464
8 Dior 6450511 12 4151 153028
9 Puma 6291598 36 779 19238
10 Gucci 6208228 12 1321 32813

So we see Converse has the biggest membership within their Likebase, but whether those 21,859,411 fans are engaged with the any of the Top 10 brands in this list (beyond initially liking the page), remains to be seen.

3) Assumption that a count of likes for content posted by brands can act as a significant and standalone measure of engagement

There are 4 ways your Likebase can interact with your posts on your page (See Takeaway #3: How do you know if people are paying attention? in this post), the WWD article only considers one of those ways:

  • it doesn’t discuss or consider the heirarchy of luxury brands facebook channels based on the average amount of comments each post receives
  • it doesn’t consider any figures as a percentage of the channel’s likebase (either in the article or the abbreviated stats used) to get a standardised comparable measure
  • it doesn’t consider sharing as a form of engagement

There are a raft of other figures available in the Stylophane data, which can be compared. However there are limitations:

  • data does not record data for sharing of posts
  • is able to be sorted on a number of fields, but obviously not all are necessarily as significant as each other when read in that way (hence my issue with the WWD article)
  • calculates engagement separately rather than collectively, with separate engagement measurements for:
    • engagement score for posts (P-Rate)
    • engagement score for comments (C-Rate)

The correlations of data mean the conclusion drawn in the article places primary importance on the act of liking a post:

“It’s an incredible achievement and means that people are paying close attention to the brand [Dior] when it speaks,” said Alex Mendoza, a principal of Stylophane, which monitors activity on Facebook and Twitter and assists companies looking to market their products through social media. “They have an incredible brand and they are saying things that are bringing people back.”

[Source WWD Dior Well “Liked” on Facebook (Feb 2012)]

If, however, we sorted the same data based on the comments page [remembering people can both like and comment on your post (See Takeaway #3: How do you know if people are paying attention? in this post)], the top 10 fashion brands are significantly different:

Rank Brand Name Likes Posts Comments Post Likes
1 Lilly Pulitzer 383727 59 18654 20309
2 Neff 112698 62 10522 22042
3 Under Armour 1252496 77 9656 22109
4 Converse 21859411 15 7860 100382
5 Hanes 2452428 24 7221 13968
6 Nike Football 9436731 42 7175 79659
7 Real Tree 671329 48 6091 12850
8 Christian Louboutin 938749 19 5862 33209
9 Coach 2746846 20 5355 63981
10 Nike Running 663937 55 5342 25812

Who is to say which is more significant achievement that means “people are paying close attention to the brand when it speaks”, the member of your likebase:

  • who may not have the time to comment but who does like what you said? or
  • who takes the time to comment on your post? or
  • who likes your content so much that they share it in their stream, with all their friends?

Takeaway #1: Doing better than your competitors/peers is more than just the size of your Likebase

Although it is a good indicator for the success of any activity you are doing to recruit fans to connect with you on facebook, you need to see what happens with the fans once they are part of your (or your competitors/peers) Likebase.

Are they just zombies who do nothing else beyond that first step of liking your page? It’s not a bad thing to have zombies in your Likebase, but it is a bad thing if they are all zombies.

Not every fan is the same, nor do they behave the same way in social computing. Forrester Research’s Charlene Li and John Bernoff discuss a Social Technographics Ladder in the book Groundswell, Expanded and Revised Edition: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies:

Forrester Social Technographics Ladder

[Note: I encourage you to read the Forrester post on this ladder)

Takeaway #2: Not all fans are equal

Your Likebase should contain measures of creators, conversationalists, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators and inactives (the zombies), so your content should elicit interaction from the active demographics in that ladder but you should also except to never get any interaction from portion(s) of your Likebase (the spectators and inactives)…and you will never get an engagement score of 100%.

So what you need are indicators that tell you whether the content and activities on your facebook page (and what your competitors are doing on their facebook page) is effective and successful. You need to know that the more active demographics in your Likebase are paying attention to it, that they are interacting with it and also that they want to see that content from you.

[NB – See 2. What and how often to post? in my post Facebook: But suck which and see for some tips on content]

Takeaway #3: How do you know if people are paying attention?

There are, in case you don’t know, four ways your Likebase can interact with your content:

  1. Like: where members of your likebase indicate they like your post
  2. Comments: where members of your likebase comment on your post
  3. Shares: where members of your likebase share your post (perhaps with a comment) with anyone in their friendbase
  4. Liking a comment: Members of your likebase can also like comments made by other members on your post

The first three are the trifecta of the most value when looking for a measure of your Likebase’s engagement with your content and comparing it with your benchmarks.

Takeaway #4: What the heck is engagement?

I rather like this definition:

Engagement defines the phenomena of being captivated and motivated: engagement can be measured in terms of a single interactive session or of a more long-term relationship with the social platform across multiple interactions. Thus, social media engagement is not just about how a single interaction unfolds, but about how and why people develop a relationship with a platform or service and integrate it into their lives.

[Source First International Workshop on Social Media Engagement (SoME 2011) ]

So, for a brand: social media engagement is how captivated and motivated their followers/fans are with their channel and their channel content. Any interactions you have with them should have at the fore the aim to ensure that any, and all, exchanges will develop a long-term relationship across multiple interactions… and possibly multiple channels [i.e. website, online store, other social media channels such as Tumblr, Youtube etc].

So it is not enough just to increase the number of bodies in your Likebase:

  • it is easy to like a page and then forget about it (zombies)
  • it is easy to like a page and then never participate/interact (joiners, spectators and inactives are likely to do this, aka zombies)
  • it can be a pain to work out how to unlike a page, so many people end liking with a zillion pages, but then forgetting that page ever exists (zombies who want to leave your page but who are not facebook savvy)

Those people are not engaged.

In terms of Facebook, it is therefore important that you are aware of how many of your Likebase are interacting with the content you post – how many share it, comment on it, like it.

Takeaway #5: How do you reconcile the many different engagement measures?

You don’t in the way the WWD article presents them. You don’t need to segment likes and posts (and shares) for benchmarking purposes and to gain a general measure of the health of your Likebase’s engagement with your content.

In this, my suggestion would be to consider the Bluefuego formula for engagement (a formula which does not account for shares either):

(Likes per Post / Likebase) + (Comments per Post / Likebase) = Total Engagement % (Percentage of your likebase who are engaged with your content)

You can see this formula much more prettily presented in Bluefuego’s Flickr Stream.

So, any activity on your post is good activity (although it is helpful to get granular with that activity for your own internal planning, as you will see in my wrap up).

With that in mind, let’s revisit the 3 sets of Top 10 fashion pages using the Bluefuego measures:

  1. Likes per post (measure used in WWD article)
  2. Likebase
  3. comments per post

..but… Let’s also not just look at assessing the Total Engagagement. Let’s also average it across the amount of posts made so we can see average engagement % per post.

1) Bluefuego Page Engagment and Average Post engagment figures for top 10 Pages with the most Likes per post (I have highlighted the achievers):

Rank Brand Name Likes Posts Comments Post Likes Bluefuego Measure Bluefuego Average Engagement per post
1 Dior 6450511 12 4151 153028 0.02436 0.00203
2 Converse 21859411 15 7860 100382 0.00495 0.00033
3 The Art Of Travel By Louis Vuitton 4994633 22 2429 96501 0.01980 0.00090
4 Nike Football 9436731 42 7175 79659 0.00920 0.00021
5 Chanel 5274879 11 2870 79625 0.01563 0.00142
6 Coach 2746846 20 5355 63981 0.02524 0.00126
7 Dolce Gabbana 3897220 32 3056 63626 0.01711 0.00053
8 Burberry 10467732 9 1678 61480 0.00603 0.00067
9 DC Shoes 6862098 41 2661 57464 0.00876 0.00021
10 Adidas 12171938 17 4294 47850 0.00428 0.00025

NB – Bluefuego data limited to 5 dec places

2) Bluefuego Page Engagment and Average Post engagment figures for top 10 Pages with the largest Likebase (I have highlighted the achievers):

Rank Brand Name Likes Posts Comments Post Likes Bluefuego Measure Bluefuego AverageEngagement per post
10 Gucci 6208228 12 1321 32813 0.00549 0.00045
9 Puma 6291598 36 779 19238 0.00318 NULL
8 Dior 6450511 12 4151 153028 0.02436 0.00203
7 DC Shoes 6862098 41 2661 57464 0.00876 0.00021
6 Lacoste 7554907 10 1190 28966 0.00399 0.00039
5 Nike Football 9436731 42 7175 79659 0.00920 0.00021
4 Levis 10227175 1 107 2171 0.00022 0.00022
3 Burberry 10467732 9 1678 61480 0.00603 0.00067
2 Adidas 12171938 17 4294 47850 0.00428 0.00025
1 Converse 21859411 15 7860 100382 0.00495 0.00033

NB – Bluefuego data limited to 5 dec places

3) Bluefuego Page Engagment and Post engagment figures for top 10 Pages with the most Comments per post (I have highlighted the achievers):

Rank Brand Name Likes Posts Comments Post Likes Bluefuego Measure Bluefuego Average Engagement per post
1 Lilly Pulitzer 383727 59 18654 20309 0.10153 0.00172
2 Neff 112698 62 10522 22042 0.28894 0.00466
3 Under Armour 1252496 77 9656 22109 0.02536 0.00032
4 Converse 21859411 15 7860 100382 0.00495 0.00033
5 Hanes 2452428 24 7221 13968 0.00864 0.00036
6 Nike Football 9436731 42 7175 79659 0.00920 0.00021
7 Real Tree 671329 48 6091 12850 0.02821 0.00058
8 Christian Louboutin 938749 19 5862 33209 0.04162 0.00219
9 Coach 2746846 20 5355 63981 0.02524 0.00126
10 Nike Running 663937 55 5342 25812 0.04692 0.00085

NB – Bluefuego data limited to 5 dec places

Takeaway #6: Starting from the beginning with the data

It’s most useful to see the Bluefuego engagement measures applied to all of the platinum group and see whether other pages within the platinum group are posting, on average, content that their Likebase is more engaged with as opposed to those pages with the greatest Likebase, or those pages who have higher numbers of comments/likes received – which is what we have so far segemented by.

Once you standardise engagement as a % as opposed to being awed and wowed by the massive numbers of fans and interactions these pages, you actually start to see whether the pages with the greater numbers are actually successful in eliciting interaction from their Likebase…or whether their Likebase is filled with zombies.

I sorted the Stylophane data by Likebase and have left the ranking assigned as a field so you can see where each of the more engaged pages sit in terms of the size of their Likebase compared to the other 194 members of the platinum group.

I then applied Bluefuegos measures and sorted again so you could see the pages whose fans are interacting more with the content posted.

a) Top 10 of whole platinum group by % Average Engagement

If we look at the pages with the most engagement byBluefuego’s more holistic measure for January 2012 across all of Stylophane’s platinum group of facebook pages, the top 10 bear very little resemblence to the tables previously considered:

Rank Brand Name Likes Posts Comments Post Likes Bluefuego Measure
188 Neff 112698 62 10522 22042 0.28894
134 Betsey Johnson 211683 64 4655 42955 0.22491
145 Rocawear 181150 114 4527 24581 0.16068
152 Emerica 162607 61 1641 21979 0.14525
185 Soffe 116404 55 1153 15122 0.13981
115 Two in The Shirt 259960 107 4666 30708 0.13607
126 Dr Martens 223162 39 4408 25686 0.13485
189 Vince Camuto 112306 73 2001 11713 0.12211
107 Oscar de la Renta 291945 52 1538 30191 0.10868
86 Lilly Pulitzer 383727 59 18654 20309 0.10153
127 Vera Wang 222218 43 1213 20447 0.09747

NB – Bluefuego data limited to 5 dec places

b) Top 10 of whole platinum group by % Average Engagement per post

If we average engagement per post and then looked at pages whose posts are on average the most engaged with for January 2012 across all of Stylophane’s platinum group of facebook pages, the table again bears very little resemblence to the tables considered in the previous sections.

It’s also interesting to note the pages who are now in the rankings based on their average % of engagement per post.

Rank Brand Name Likes Posts Comments Post Likes Average Comments and Likes per Post Bluefuego Average Engagement per post
188 Neff 112698 62 10522 22042 525.225 0.00466
174 Jean Paul Gaultier 133215 5 300 2727 605.4 0.00454
149 Givenchy 175711 7 280 5122 771.7142 0.00439
151 DVb Victoria Beckham 166902 11 458 7099 687 0.00411
66 Rachel Zoe 490080 20 3317 35424 1937.05 0.00395
134 Betsey Johnson 211683 64 4655 42955 743.906 0.00351
126 Dr Martens 223162 39 4408 25686 771.641 0.00345
183 Candies 117370 26 1077 9380 402.192 0.00342
117 Tokidoki 256220 6 232 4310 757 0.00295
164 Stussy 150084 22 302 9435 442.590 0.00294
170 Valentino 136924 15 261 5425 379.066 0.00276

NB – Bluefuego data limited to 5 dec places

Wrap up and conclusions

Hopefully you walk away from this post with the following take aways:

  • size does not matter in the way that the WWD article indicates
  • relying on a simple count of comments, likes or Likebase can never indicate how effective your content is in generating engagement
  • the greatest Likebase does not make the most engaged fanbase
  • it is of far more value to have an engaged and energised Likebase
  • calculating your average engagement is a good way to benchmark your activity and progress towards building an engaged likebase against:
    • your direct competitors,
    • any brands you are modelling your brand on
    • any published stats for your industry

Two birds, one stone – how you can make your benchmarking work a dual purpose…

The data you generate in your benchmarking can also give you additional intelligence, beyond simply benchmarking and specific to your own activities and what you need to focus on.

Here are some suggestions for activity you can undertake why you are gathering your data that will given you internal intelligence that you can use:

  • Don’t rely just on average engagement per post: It is worth you also calculating engagement for each specific post you make rather than solely looking at average engagement per post.
    Calculating engagement per post will tell you what content your Likebase is most interested in seeing (hint: it’s the content they are more engaged with) so you can plan to create content that they want from you (This goes back to 2) What and how often to post? in my post Facebook: But suck which and see for some tips on content).
  • Remove any duplicate/additional comments from posters: There are some posters that will start conversations within the comments and/or will answer other people’s comments.
    While it’s great that you have an engaged superfan, it’s useful to see how many unique comments from your other fans without them are skewing your engagement ratio. In the process of identifying duplicate content (aka superfan content), this should also be a prompt for how you need to manage this superfan(s):

    • are they posting off-topic/nuisance content, which may causing a nuisance factor and aggravation to your other fans? If so, do you need to consider how to nicely correct them/shut them down/manage them to ensure everyone else in your Likebase is kept happy and feel comfortable enough to engage with you?
    • are they always on the ball with their content and comments? If so, is it worth considering how you can reward them/encourage them/facilitate them to promote your brand even further?

Next steps for me

It would have been interesting to apply the same Bluefuego measures to each of the Stylophane ranks (Gold, Silver and Bronze), not just platinum.

Given engagement is measured as a %, it is standardised and so we might see brand pages with smaller likebases achieving even higher engagement scores. I am going to put that on my list of “eventual things to do” as I think at that point in time we also need to consider the impact that frequency of posting can have on engagement.

I’d also like to go through the stylophane list and specifically track only luxury brands as it will be another useful measure for assessing presences when I dip in for my next, possibly more comprehensive, litmus test of luxury brands online presences (ad hoc tests here: [1][2] [3]).

Sources for graphics

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2 Responses to “Facebook Pages: How to benchmark if you are doing well, what to measure and why”
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  1. […] most active page (Stella McCartney) also had the highest engagement score (calculated according to BlueFuego’s formula using the Stylophane data (Comments and Likes only, no shares))? I think […]

  2. […] previously given some basic benchmarking advice: why you would do it and some of the things you could look at on your own and competitors Facebook pa… but I want to provide some measures you can use to assess your performance (and that of your […]



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