Business News Education & Events The Great Escape 2014

Reality checks about the limits of Facebook shared in TGE’s Building A Fan Business

By | Published on Wednesday 14 May 2014

Adam Cardew

Absolute Marketing & Distribution’s Head Of Digital Adam Cardew provided a reality check for artists and managers obsessed by top level Facebook stats as part of the Building A Fan Business strand at The Great Escape last week, while confirming the importance of the email address when commercialising the fan relationship.

Asked by CMU’s Sam Taylor whether top level social media stats – numbers of Facebook fans and Twitter followers – were important, Cardew said: “Not to us. They might be to the artist, and they used to be to radio and TV, but increasingly – and thankfully – media like Radio 1 are also moving away from looking at Facebook fans and YouTube views when looking for stats to help inform playlisting decisions”.

He went on: “In real terms the top level figures aren’t that important. Sometimes you have artists with 100,000 fans on Facebook, and they’ll release a product and not get many sales and say ‘what went wrong’. But the fact is they haven’t engaged with those fans”.

Though even if an artist is doing Facebook well, it’s important to remember the limits of fan relationships via that platform, especially when it comes to driving commercial transactions. “On Facebook very few people want to click on an iTunes link”, he said.

“When artists think about posting an iTunes or Amazon link, they post it on their page and see it in the context of all the other posts they’ve made about their latest content or project. But their fans are seeing it in a news feed where it is competing with lots of other noise – above it there might be photo of a cat, below it a post about a pregnancy or new baby or something, so your iTunes link is competing against a lot of other ideas; and it won’t get clicked on in that environment”.

Cardew said that even when you pay Facebook to ensure your post is in front of all of your fans on the network, you’ll likely see only a 1-2% click-through rate on a sales-based post, which compared to the impact similar messages have via email is “miniscule”. “So we don’t plough a lot of money into pushing out that kind of post. Facebook advertising is good for awareness building, but when converting to sales, focus on email”.

You can listen to Adam’s full conversation with Sam here: