Editor's Comment: Face it - size still matters on Facebook

Noelle McElhatton
Noelle McElhatton

Just when we thought the 'size matters' debate surrounding brands' social-media fanbases was dead and buried with a stake through its heart, the argument has resurfaced.

Such is the success of the 'engagement, not size' lobby that it takes a brave marketer to resurrect the notion that the '1m fan' target remains a key milestone for big brands.

Step forward Philip Gladman, Diageo's white spirits marketing director, who gamely told ISBA's conference last week: 'Unless you are going to get a million, don't bother ... There's no point having a little Facebook community bubbling along'.

His comments drew predictable ire, partly because he suggested TV as an alternative.

Nonetheless, if brand owners of Diageo's significance state that 'it takes communities of 1m to even start paying back on a social platform', then it must be true.

Diageo is not alone in seeking social-media 'critical mass'. Nissan recently announced proudly that it had crossed the threshold to 500,000 'likes' on its Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble's chief marketing officer, Marc Pritchard, told WACL last week that if a P&G brand video on YouTube only 'gets 7000 hits in three days, it's a pig. Take it down'.

'Total fans' tells only part of the story: reach, engagement and, ultimately, sales tell the rest. Much like a desire for lots of unique visitors to a brand's website, a higher number of (hopefully engaged) fans is the real goal of any brand.

Noelle.McElhatton@haymarket.com

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