— blending the mix

The real value of Facebook Likes

Facebook have released some fascinating, if not surprising stats on the impact of the Like button, both internally and externally.

Key for me is this issue of virality – the network reach of a liked item. We all know that Likes end up being posted to your network’s walls, but the fact that typically, people who click on the button have 2.4x the number of friends is phenomenal. If we take it that the average user has 130 friends, Likers can actually reach over 300 friends.

Doesn’t this make sense now?!

Over to Facebook:

As our team has been meeting with media organizations across the globe (including at events hosted by groups such as Hacks/Hackers and the Online Publishers Association) we’ve heard a clear request for more information about the types of people who click the Like button. We’re excited to release a new set of statistics to help publishers better understand the value of the Like button, and the people who click it.

Who are “likers”?
People who click the Facebook Like button are more engaged, active and connected than the average Facebook user. The average “liker” has 2.4x the amount of friends than that of a typical Facebook user. They are also more interested in exploring content they discover on Facebook — they click on 5.3x more links to external sites than the typical Facebook user.

As publishers work to identify the best ways to reach a younger, “always on” audience, we’ve found that the average “liker” on a news site is 34, compared to the median age of a newspaper subscriber which is approximately 54 years old, as reported by the Newspaper Association of America.

What are the best ways to reach these people?

Implement social plugins, beginning with the Like button.
When a person clicks Like, it (1) publishes a story to their friends with a link back to your site, (2) adds the article to the reader’s profile, and (3) makes the article discoverable through search on Facebook.

Optimize your Like button.
By showing friends’ faces and placing the button near engaging content (but avoiding visual clutter with plenty of white space), clickthrough rates improve by 3-5x.

Publish back.
Publishing engaging stories or status updates (things that are emotional, provocative, related to sporting events or even simple questions) increase on-Page engagement by 1.3-3x.

Integrate the Activity Feed or Recommendations plugins.
Highlighting most popular content on your site leads people to view more articles. Those who click on the Activity Feed plugin in particular generate 4x as many page views as the average media site viewer. Place it above the fold on your home page and at the bottom of each article for maximum engagement

Use the Live Stream to engage users during live events.
The live stream box can serve as a way to reach your audience, facilitate sharing of your content, and get them involved in what you’re streaming, be it an interview, conference, or other type of event. This week we released new updates to the live stream box. More info here.

What are the results?
Many publishers are reporting increases in traffic since adding social plugins, including ABC News (+190%), Gawker (+200%), TypePad (+200%), Sporting News (+500%), and NBA.com (#2 referral source). Publishers have also told us that people on their sites are more engaged and stay longer when their real identity and real friends are driving the experience through social plugins. For example, on NHL.com, visitors are reading 92% more articles, spending 85% more time on-site, viewing 86% more videos, and generating 36% more visits.

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