Do Facebook fans increase traffic to your website?

Posted on the 8th July 2011

A UK based study by Hitwise analyzed data from the top 100 retailers to find how much additional web traffic was generated by each Facebook fan.  The metrics showed that each fan of a Facebook page produced an extra 20 visits to the website.  In order to generate this number, Facebook traffic was analyzed and compared against Facebook Page data from Techlightenment.

The figures show that consumers are 54% more likely to search for TopShop, which currently has almost 1.5m fans on the site, after a visit to Facebook. If the one fan, 20 visits stat was applied to TopShop, this would mean Facebook is sending up to 30m visits per year.

The dominance of fashion brands in this top ten echoes the findings from a recent look at retailer’s fan numbers on Facebook, and the growth of their followings.

TopShop has really focused on social media, and seems to have built up a much larger following than other UK retailers, with almost 175,000 followers on Twitter.

Content is regularly updated on its Facebook page to keep ‘fans’ interested, and it uses exclusive deals and interactive content to keep people interested and drive traffic to its e-commerce site.

The figures suggest that this is working well so far, but the real test is how much of this traffic converts into sales.

So what does this mean for social media? A lot, right now. With the vast majority of e-commerce still taking place on websites (not Facebook fan pages), driving traffic to websites is still critical. But as e-commerce expands into more places, the need to shift traffic from one place to the next will decrease considerably.

However … I am not surprised, in the slightest, to see above-average searches and clicks through to fashion retailers such as Topshop,  Boohoo, Jack Wills and River Island. As we’ve seen, Facebook appeals to much the same demographic as these companies, so this is much as I would expect, independent of any marketing. In fact – I think this will might mean that the value of a Facebook fan is much smaller than your initial estimate of 20 “visits”, but of course I have not seen the detailed figures. Who knows…It may even be zero!!