The Facebook Like Button is not Viral
1. Ability to message people who have Liked your page by posting to their newsfeeds.
2. Viral spread of your page by Likes posting into friends’ newsfeeds
Since release, we have performed experiments to pull out numbers on how effectively the Like Button performs these two promises. We have discovered the Like Button is effective at reengaging users but is almost useless for viral spread.
Reengagement with the Like Button and Graph API
We’ve found that a post to a Facebook Graph Object Wall has a click rate around 0.25-1%. For example, if 1000 people Like this article, and I post something telling those people about my newest relevant article, I can expect 3-10 people to click into that new article. This number is low, but since I can post content to this Graph Object every day, I can reengage 3-10 people every day. Over a month, I can get 90-300 clicks on my new content. I obviously can’t post the same thing every day for a month. Creating relevant stories to post to my Likes is an art.
Spreading content virally with the Like Button
We set up an experiment here. The goal was to measure the effectiveness of a Facebook Share button side by side with a Facebook Like Button. The app is simply a viral video with a Like Button and a Share Button. We initially advertised the app to 397 people. Over a three week span, the app ended up spreading virally to 5,170 people. Of those 5,170 people, 4,959 entered the app through a post of the Share Button and 211 through a post of the Like Button.
From this test, we can determine that the Share Button is 23x more viral than the Like Button. Why such a big difference?
The Share Button creates a large newsfeed post with an image and appears on the user’s wall and friends’ newsfeeds.
The Like Button creates a small non-graphical post that usually only appears on the user’s wall.
1. If you count on the Like Button for getting you new users, you will be dissappointed.
2. If you are chosing between Like and Share buttons, choose Share.
3. If you are interested in reengageing users who have liked your content, talk to us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Since Facebook announced Like Buttons would publish full-sized feed stories, we ran the same experiment again to see how the new Like Button compares to the Share Button. This time we saw 7,943 users coming in through Share Button stories and, 1,890 users coming in through Like Button stories. That means the Share Button is still 4x more viral than the new Like Button.
Possibly, the Facebook EdgeRank gives greater emphasis on Shares vs Likes.
Also possible, is that more users are adding custom messages to the Shares. Posts with custom messages are known to draw greater click rates.
Like to know more about virality? Watch this free webinar: The Secrets of Virality