What’s your Facebook Engagement Factor?

October 24, 2012 by Alvinl in Amplifying Your Word-of-Mouth / Analyzing Good Marketing

One of the great ways to reach out to your audience and position your brand is through Facebook, and our last post on the Top 10 “Most Liked” Online Retailers on Facebook got a great response.

While researching for that piece though, we stumbled upon a far more interesting phenomenon. As you may know, in addition to “likes”, there is a “people talking about this” metric on Facebook, which is basically the number of unique users commenting, liking or sharing your wall posts over the last 7 days. The metric also includes “viral shares” – whenever fans share a page’s post, any subsequent likes, comments, or re-shares will be counted towards a page’s “talking about this” number as well. (To find out more about the “talking about this” metric, check out this great explanation here.)

Introducing: Facebook Engagement Factor (F.E.F.)

After too many rounds of caffeine-fueled discussion, we decided that the ratio of the “talking about this” number to the number of “likes”  was a pretty good measure of the overall level of engagement on your Facebook page. Think of it this way: the number of likes is a baseline measure of how many people have come across your Facebook page and found it useful or liked it, whereas the “talking about this” page gives you an idea of how many people are actively commenting on and liking your posts.

Hence the number of “talking about” divided by the number of “likes” is a good indicator of what proportion of your users are actively engaged on your page. After some research online, we found that variants of this metric had actually been talked about (hey great minds think alike!).  For instance, it had been used to calculate the Facebook engagement levels of casinos in Las Vegas.

We called this metric the Facebook Engagement Factor, and here’s how we calculate it (Note – because this ratio of “talking about” to “likes” is usually small, we multiply it by 100 for more intuitive comparisons):

Facebook Engagement Factor (F.E.F.)

= (Number Talking About This / Number of Likes) x 100

Let’s take the example of everybody’s favourite teen singer, Justin Bieber. Justin had about 2 million screaming teenage girls and their mums talking about him over the last 7 days. Divide this by his 46.9m likes on Facebook, multiply it by 100, and you get a Facebook Engagement Factor of 4. Now this number doesn’t seem like much, but it’s still way better than his girlfriend Selena Gomez (0.9) and another teen pop sensation Miley Cyrus (0.6). (Note that this works only for pages of celebrities, companies and the like, and not your personal profile, which doesn’t have the “talking about this” metric.)

Justin Bieber’s Facebook page: high popularity, middling engagement

What the Facebook Engagement Factor Means for Your Brand

If you’re a company selling a product, the first thing you want to look at on Facebook is probably the number of likes on your Facebook page, which is a decent proxy for how popular you are overall on Facebook. However, the F.E.F. is a proxy of how (for want of a better word) fanatical your online followers are, and how much of a viral reach you have with your posts. This could translate into a stronger brand for you and more loyal paying customers, although the jury is still out on this one.

So who does well on this metric? Amongst the giant brands with more than 10m views on Facebook such as Converse (33.3m likes), Walmart (23m likes) and Victoria’s Secret (19,9m), none of them do particularly well. Converse, despite it’s massive popularity on Facebook, has a surprisingly low F.E.F. of 0.6, Walmart does slightly better than Justin at 6, and Victoria’s Secret does okay at 1.6. Bear in mind of course that the F.E.F. changes with time depending on how many users are talking about your brand in the past 7 days.

We got curious as to how our Top 10 Online Retailers on Facebook did on the Facebook Engagement Factor. Here are the results:

Facebook Engagement Factor of Top 10 Most Liked Online Retailers

10. Infibeam (942k likes, F.E.F. = 0.6)

9. Flipkart.com (1.1m likes, F.E.F. = 0.9)

8. NewEgg.com (1.1m likes, F.E.F. = 1.2)

7. Fashionandyou.com (1.1m likes, F.E.F. = 1.3)

6. Worldsoccershop.com (1.4m likes, F.E.F. = 0.8)

5. Yepme.com (1.4m likes, F.E.F. = 6)

4. Eastbay.com (1.5m likes, F.E.F. = 2)

3. Peixe Urbano (1.7m likes F.E.F. = 6)

2.Shoedazzle (2m likes, F.E.F. = 4)

1. Amazon.com (13.5m likes F.E.F. = 1)

As you can see, there is no clear correlation between what number of Facebook likes and your Facebook Engagement Factor. You might have the most number of Facebook likes, but if your engagement factor is low, it’s time to rethink whether those are truly engaged fans posting on your Facebook page.

So how do you increase the Facebook Engagement Factor?

So what affects the F.E.F. you ask? The geeks here at ReferralCandy crawled the web for the online stores with the highest F.E.F. (as well as more than 100k likes) and found out what makes them tick.

The winner? An Indian Online T-Shirt Retailer Bewakoof, which specialises in what looks like funky t-shirts with cool slogans for the Indian hipster market. Their Facebook page uses a tried and tested formula of posting once every few hours or even minutes, which leads to an incredibly high engagement factor, probably from viral shares by their loyal clientele. Their F.E.F. hovers at around 180(!), which is tremendous, given that Justin Bieber averages about a 4. This is possibly also because the nature of the posts (jokes and lolcats) lends itself easily to reposts and viral shares.

Let’s look at another online retailer, SuperheroStuff.com, with an F.E.F. of  29 (137k likes, 40k talking about). Their secret sauce? Again, lots of posts, as well as funny and cool stuff like the picture of Darth Vader below.

Funny stuff gets liked a lot!

Of course, some may ask whether an increase in the number of likes on your page will decrease your F.E.F. Theoretically, this wouldn’t happen as the number of people “talking about this” should increase proportionately. However, there is a possibility that websites with a large number of likes (think Justin Bieber with 46 million) may lower your Engagement Factor, possibly because the followers tend to be more casual, rather than deeply interested in a community (for instance thinkgeek, an online store selling geeky toys for overgrown boys).

What’s Your F.E.F.?

Whether you’re a small business or a huge celebrity with a page on Facebook, we think it’s useful to check out your F.E.F. to get a sense of your engagement levels and whether you should be posting more on your page. Of course, you should take this and any other metric with a pinch of salt and measure it along with other considerations such as how much social media actually helps your brand and your sales.

Here at ReferralCandy, we have a Justin Bieber Rule of Facebook Engagement. That is, our F.E.F. has to be higher than Justin Bieber. Thankfully, our Facebook Engagement Factor of 5 is just above that of JB at 4. Take that, Baby!


Alvinl is the marketing guy at www.ReferralCandy.com, the refer-a-friend app that increases your sales through word of mouth. In his spare time he loves geeking out on technology, psychology and economics news.

Image Credit: Birgerking

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Alvin loves geeking out on technology, psychology and economics news.