New Global Facebook Study from DDB and OpinionWay Proves Reports of Social Network's Demise Greatly Exaggerated

But Facebook Still Faces Some Brand Fan Disengagement, Disenchantment of Retailers

Sep 19, 2011, 09:00 ET from DDB Worldwide

PARIS, Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Retailers are increasingly shuttering Facebook storefronts while U.K., U.S. and French fans (recently rechristened "likers" by Facebook) are following fewer brands, and are not as quick to like a brand or recommend a brand to friends. Still, it's not all doom and gloom as Facebook prepares to do battle with Google +.

(Photo: )

(Photo: )

Recent studies by comScore and Nielsen have shown that despite reports to the contrary, the Facebook audience continues to grow in the U.S. And a new study from DDB Paris and OpinionWay reveals an increase in hardcore users in mature countries and significant spikes in usage frequency in developing markets. But in the mature markets fewer brands are being followed and fewer brand fans are recommending brands to friends, all of which raises the value of engagement.

"Though our study shows consumers forge bonds with some brands on Facebook, there's no value for marketers in fans per se. Fan page ranking should be more focused on the engagement rate than on the number of fans because engagement trumps volume," said Catherine Lautier, Business Intelligence Director at DDB Paris, which led the study with OpinionWay.

The study, with a two-point margin of error, is a quantitative online survey of 1,528 Facebook fans created by DDB Paris and conducted in partnership with the French market research firm OpinionWay. The respondents were 18- to 60-year-old users of Facebook in six countries: France, Germany, Malaysia, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S.

The survey follows DDB Paris' and OpinionWay's inaugural research last year that examined the impact of fan status on purchase intent and advocacy.

The latest study, which is the basis of a new Advertising Age white paper this week reveals changes in how Facebook is used as more people connect to chat with friends than to find entertainment.

Other findings in "The Evolution of Facebook Brand Fans" include:

  • Geo-location programs such as Facebook Places can create privacy concerns but when geo-location is about exclusive offers or special discounts, the negative perception of geo-location diminishes dramatically.
  • Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's often stated belief that privacy is not a social norm today is a major problem for countries that question the legality of automatic facial recognition and tagging.
  • Seventy-five percent of those surveyed said they are concerned about how Facebook may use their personal data.
  • Facebook is more effective at driving brand sales via a brand's website than on Facebook itself.
  • Fifty percent of respondents said they might make a purchase directly on Facebook. But about 50 percent also do not trust Facebook enough to leave their credit card details.

"The findings show consumer and brand usage of Facebook is still in its adolescence," said Sebastien Genty, Planning Director at DDB Paris. "There definitely has been a learning curve. No brand can afford to be blinded by technology and forget the basics of interaction with consumers. The teachings of our founder Bill Bernbach remain very relevant today. Always behave with respect for the consumer, recognizing that brands are ultimately in the hands of the consumers, not marketers."

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About DDB

DDB Worldwide Communications Group Inc. ( ranks among the top five consolidated advertising and marketing services global networks, according to Advertising Age. Consistently one of the most awarded networks globally for creative excellence, DDB was Campaign's 2009 Global Network of the Year, the 2010 Spikes Asia Network of the Year, 2010 Eurobest Network of the Year, 2010 Campaign Asia Pacific Creative Network of the Year, and captured both the Cyber Grand Prix and Film Craft Grand Prix at the 2010 International Advertising Festival in Cannes. With more than 200 offices in over 90 countries, DDB Group believes in the power of Social Creativity to grow the value and influence of brands around the world by creating ideas that people want to play with, participate in, and pass along.  DDB Worldwide is part of Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC).

SOURCE DDB Worldwide