What’s Not to “Like”? Can a Facebook Fan Base Give a Brand the Advertising Reach it Needs?

Our earned media research article has now been published in the Journal of Advertising Research:

What’s Not to “Like?” Can a Facebook Fan Base Give a Brand the Advertising Reach it Needs?
Karen Nelson-Field, Erica Riebe, and Byron Sharp

Journal of Advertising Research, 2012, June, Volume 52, No.2
A marketer with a Facebook Fan base has at least some ability to advertise to that audience. What quality of reach, however, does this sort of “earned media” deliver? The landmark discovery by Andrew Ehrenberg of the negative binomial distribution (NBD) implies that the most effective advertising requires media that reach across both heavy and light buyers of the brand. This article investigates the buying concentration of the Facebook Fan base of two different brands (both Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) categories) and compares it to the brands’ actual buying bases. The buyer base of each of
the brands is distributed in the typical NBD, whereas the Fan base delivered by Facebook is skewed in an opposite pattern—skewed toward the heaviest of the brands’ buyers— making the quality of Facebook’s reach appear rather unappealing.

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