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Is Facebook Fan Growth for Brands Slowing Down?

The topic of Facebook fans is something we continue to get questions around. Some brands are still really tied to growing their fan base on Facebook. While we think there is a much better use of your money (check out the math here), we did some research to check the status of overall Facebook fan growth for brands.

Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

Are Users Still Following Brands on Facebook?

To help gain better insight on whether users are still following brands on Facebook, we turned to our research tool, GlobalWebIndex. The chart below looks at the action of liking/following brands on a social network. While this is not exclusive to Facebook, we do see that liking a brand on social media peaked in 2017 and has slowly been declining since.

Source: GlobalWebIndex

Another reason for the slow decline in fan growth is that Facebook removed the “Like Page” option from ads. It used to be when we were promoting posts, we’d see a lift in fan growth from ads, but since removing that in November of 2018 it has decreased. Now, it pretty much relies on organic growth.

Facebook Brand Page Data

We took a sample of 47 Facebook pages to see if we saw a similar trend. The conclusion was that growth is flat. On average, the pages in this sample grew at a median of 1% over the course of a year and a mean of 5% (there were some outliers, especially with smaller pages).

We also looked at the top brand pages on Facebook. Out of our sample of pages, a streaming service brand had the most consistently upward growth, even though it has stalled in the last few months. All the other pages have been stagnant, if not decreasing. Average annual growth rate across these pages has nearly halved over the past 3 years (see chart and graph below).

Source: Unmetric
Source: Unmetric

Are Users Unliking/Unfollowing Brands on Social Media?

We also looked at GlobalWebIndex data to see if users were actively unliking brands on social networks. The act of unfollowing a brand has increased since 2016 and continues to remain steady at 9.5%-10% each quarter.

Source: GlobalWebIndex

If you are a brand that has seen some attrition on your social following, you aren’t alone. Social users are becoming pickier over who they are following on social media. If you post too often, create content that doesn’t resonate with them, or if the brand doesn’t align to their values, users are hitting the unlike button.

Should Brands be Concerned about Fan Growth Slowing?

While significant fan loss should raise a red flag, most brands don’t need to be concerned about fan growth slowing. Most likely your brand is using paid media to promote the content to your target audience. This means you are still reaching the same audience via paid, even if your following is not as large.

Instead of focusing so much on the number of fans you have, there are other metrics that are proven to be more aligned to delivering business results. Check out our recommended metrics here.

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