Published on March 20th, 2013 | by Stephan Eyl
Study: Average growth of Facebook Fan Pages
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At what rate are Facebook Pages growing and what factors affect how fast a fan page grows? Will more interaction with your fans help your growth rate?
We have analyzed over 60,000 active Facebook pages in a period of three months to see how and why growth rates differ. Differences can be found in terms of the type of page, the engagement rate and how large the fan page already is.
Growth rate – measure how fast you gain fans
The growth rate is the average weekly increase in the number of fans in a given time period. The median growth rate for a Facebook page is 0.64% per week. This means that a fan page with 1,000 fans will gain about 25 fans per month, which is quite slow when compared with the best, or top 10% of fan pages, which have a growth rate of 2.22% per week, so an increase of about 88 fans per month. In order for you to start doing your own analysis, we have developed a tool called Fanpage Karma that allows you to assess how fast you or your competitors fan page is growing as well as analyze engagement rates, page performance and much more.
Finance fan pages grow a lot faster than pages about music
When separate into categories such as music, NGOs, food, alcohol and finance, there is a distinct difference in growth rates. Categories with above average rates include food, alcohol and finance. While finance has the highest percentage with 0.9%, music has the lowest with only 0.54%, which is quite a substantial difference. Are fan pages for finance doing anything different than music fan pages? Do they interact more with their fans? Their engagement rate, which can be found here, is not very high with a median rate of only 0.2%. Perhaps they spend more money on marketing their page and therefore gain fans a lot faster.
The engagement rate influences how fast a fan page grows
Next, we analyzed how the growth rate of fan pages is affected by the engagement rate. The engagement rate is calculated by the average number of likes, comments and shares per day, divided by the number of fans. According to our analysis, the higher the engagement rate, the higher the growth rate. Does this mean that the more likes, comments, shares and overall interaction your fans have with your page the faster it grows? The top 10% of pages with an engagement rate of over 1% have a growth rate of 4.09%, which is extremely high compared with the overall median growth rate for fan pages of 0.64%. The median growth rate for fan pages with a 1% or higher engagement rate is 1.08%, while pages with the lowest engagement rate (less than 0.1%) have a median growth rate of 0.31%. In conclusion, if your engagement rate is high, then your fan page will most likely have a high growth rate. It doesn’t matter whether it’s because the quality of the engagement is good or if the paid promotion of specific posts triffer interaction, the engagement rate has a positive effect on growth.
Does the growth rate of a fan page decrease as it gets more fans?
In our third analysis, we see the growth rate compared with the size of the fan page. The size of the page is determined by its current number of fans. It is perhaps assumed that an already large fan page would have a lower growth rate, seeing as they already have a sufficient number of fans. However, according to the line graph, we see that a fan page with over 5 million fans has a median growth rate of 0.57%. Compared to the growth rate of the smallest pages, which is 0.63%, although it is less, it’s not so substantially different. The highest rate is 0.73%, which is for pages with 20,000 to 50,000 fans. So, the largest the difference between the highest and lowest growth rates is only 0.18%, which is perhaps not very significant. We can also see that the largest fan pages don’t have the lowest rates and the rates start increasing slightly again after the 1 million mark.
So, grow at any cost?
Many community managers argue that growth is not the most important metric for a Facebook Page. We totally agree. Interaction with fans is more important (see our study on interaction rates). But still, with a Facebook Page you want to reach as many people as possible. If growth goes along with good interaction rates, than it’s perfectly fine to be proud of a high growth rate.
What’s the growth rate for your fan page and what can you do to improve it?
What is your growth rate? Our tool tells the rate at which the number of fans for your page is increasing. It may also be helpful for you to gain insight as to how fast your competitors are growing and what they might be doing differently to you. Find out now with our free edition on www.fanpagekarma.com and get unlimited access to the analysis of any fan page free for the first 14 days.
We summarized the results of this study in an infographic.