This one’s for our fans: WFA

A new study from the World Federation of Advertisers asks marketers to evaluate their fan-page ROI and consumers what keeps them coming back.

Marketers see their social media fan pages as a potential source of consumer insight, not as a way to increase short- or long-term sales, according to a new study from the Brussels-based World Federation of Advertisers trade association and research company Millward Brown and Dynamic Logic, released today.

The study was conducted in two phases, first with interviews with 24 digital marketers from multinational companies, followed by speaking with 3,687 brand fans from 24 global and US and European pages in the confectionery, drinks, personal care and telecom categories.

While marketers’ opinions on the value of their fans differ, 85% of those polled said they see them as a potential source of insight and the same number felt it was their boost in loyalty to the brand that mattered.

About 75% said they saw a deepened level of engagement with their brand and 50% said it gave them a visible sign of the brand’s popularity. Only 45% said fan pages would help increase long-term spend on their brand, while just 15% said it would increase their short-term spend.

All marketers are expecting to spend more time and money on social media in the next year, despite the fact that 50% of them are still unsure of the return on investment in this realm. When asked about ROI, 23% of marketers said it generated a ‘good’ ROI for them, 18% said it was ‘average’ and 9% said it was ‘poor.’

ROI measurement to date has focused on number of fans attracted, frequency of fan page visits, web analytics and buzz monitoring as evaluating techniques, the respondents said. Follow-ups to fan recruitment include posting videos, contests, new product info and photos to keep fans engaged.

The second phase of the survey examined how fans respond to a brand’s social media page. It scored pages based on the likelihood that they will return to the page in the future, the level of advocacy a page generates and how much attention fans pay to the brand’s posts in their news feeds.

According to the study, the number of fans a page has is not necessarily an indication of how well the page is performing. Some small pages received better overall ratings than pages with the largest number of fans.

Ultimately, the more brands put into their fan pages, the more they get out in terms of response – brands that posted more frequently generally achieved higher attitudinal ratings and had more lively communities.

WFA summarizes five ‘health checks’ to make sure they are delivering benefits and the right content to their fans: regular posts, trustworthy brand news, new product information, contests and special offers.