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Facebook’s New ‘Like’ Button And Its Effect On Fan Pages


On the 21st of Arpil 2010, Facebook rolled out the Open Graph ‘like’ button which enables web surfers to ‘like’ content on external sites that have enabled the feature. In addition to this, Facebook have done away with the ‘become a fan’ button on fan pages, replacing it with a ‘like’ button. We are starting to see the effects of this seemingly innocuous change coupled with the new Open Graph feature on traffic to fan pages and membership numbers.

In particular, some of the bigger fan pages we look after (100,000 fans +) saw a big spike in fans joining up within days of the new features being introduced. In one case, the fan base more than doubled from 60,000 to 120,000 in a matter of days (Graph below) and the growth shows little sign of slowing up for the time being.

‘Like’ Button in a Nutshell
Buddy Media created a diagram that shows how the new like button works and how it will generate a ‘branded viral loop’.

Clearly this new feature has dramatically increased the frequency that a brand’s name pops up on Facebook and on personal newsfeeds/personal profiles. Taking into account the proven positive effect of ‘Organic Impressions’ (i.e. Social stories with friend endorsement in the form of a ‘like’ or ‘comment’) on Facebook advertising/marketing, this goes some way to explaining the huge increases.

The other change that Facebook made around the same time saw a small wording change to the way people sign up to fan pages. Instead of clicking a button that says “become a fan” to start following a given brand, users will simply “like” them. This seemingly minor change is a clever psychological trick employed by Facebook to increase membership of branded pages thus reinforcing the emerging consensus among marketers that Facebook is the most crucial tool in a brand’s digital strategy. Effectively, by doing away with the this stronger wording, brands will see an increase in people joining up because following a page won’t be perceived as much of a commitment as it once did if you became a ‘fan’.

Looking Ahead
I’m convinced that this is only the tip of the iceberg. No doubt as more and more wesbites realise the benefits of having this new Facebook connectivity, traffic to Facebook will increase. In the not-too-distant future, Facebook will have spread its tentacles to every corner of the web and virtually every site will have some form of connectivity. As Youtube celebrates its 5th birthday, we have been told that it now has around 2 billion hits to its website a day – a truly mind boggling number. Yet soon I predict this will be dwarfed as a new era of a Facebook dominated internet is ushered in, challenging the current Google hegemony. Facebook have clearly stated their ambition to become more than just the biggest social media site in the world. With its massive growth rates and clever innovations, who would dare to argue otherwise?

Written by Nick Collins, Social Media Handler, Media Junction

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About Neil

Neil Cartwright founded Million Media in 2006 with the aim to help people understand digital marketing and use it to their advantage. The vision hasn't changed but the technology has.

3 comments on “Facebook’s New ‘Like’ Button And Its Effect On Fan Pages

  1. Keith Freund
    July 10, 2010

    What complicates matters is Facebook’s new requirement that users “Like” an artist in order for it to show up in their interests. According to my careful but unscientific observation, this resulted in huge increase in Facebook fans for bigger artists (the ones people are more likely to consider their favorite acts) and a decrease in fans for smaller/local artists. Although the implementation was staggered (rolled out for only a small portion of users at a time over a period of months), they seem to have started off with a sizable percentage of users (based on the Facebook statuses I saw around that time). So this change may also have something to do with the numbers you’re showing here depending on when it happened (I don’t remember).

  2. Pingback: Working the Podio Way | Podio Blog

  3. Trapez Sac
    February 9, 2012

    good tips and valuable info, thanks for sharing

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This entry was posted on May 21, 2010 by in communities, marketing.
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