Social Commerce

Facebook Fan Arbitrage – Buy for $0.15c, Sell for $3.60

Q: How much is a Facebook fan, er ‘liker’ worth?  A: $3.60.

New data shared by Vitrue, the Facebook marketing/sCRM agency with some very big clients (Apple, AT&T, Best Buy, Ford Motors, Kelloggs and P&G) has calculated that the media value generated by the average Facebook fan is $3.60/year (if you post to your wall 2x per day, based on impressions generated in Facebook news-feeds. (As an aside Vitrue found, interestingly, virtually no viral effect on feeds (propagation coefficient – 1:1.04)).

Vitrue did find that assuming $5 CPM, 1m Facebook fans produce $3.6m in media value over the course of a year (AdWeek article reporting findings archived below).

Like any AVE (advertising value equivalency) approach (much used, abused and confused in PR and sponsorship marketing), the $3.60 value should be taken with a pinch of salt, even if you do use Facebook primarily as an advertising medium, as opposed to/in addition to an e-commerce or CRM platform. But it’s a number that will be helpful to many marketers building a business case for Facebook marketing.

The Vitrue data opens the interesting and mildly ironic business opportunity of Facebook Fan Arbitrage; we reported earlier that you can buy Facebook fans from and from $0.15 – and if you can sell them to brands for up to $3.60, surely there’s a new market opportunity emerging in buying and selling Facebook fans.  Something to occupy all those hedge fund traders whilst they wait for the market to recover…


AdWeek article archived from:

Value of a ‘Fan’ on Social Media: $3.60

The findings are based on impressions generated in Facebook’s news feed

April 13, 2010 | Brian Morrissey

Brands have rushed to Facebook to build fan bases, with some amassing millions of connections. The nagging question has been: What is the monetary value of these fans?

Social media specialist Vitrue, which aids brands in building their customer bases on social networks, tried to put a media value on such communities.

The firm has determined that, on average, a fan base of 1 million translates into at least $3.6 million in equivalent media over a year.

The company’s findings are based on impressions generated in the Facebook news feed, the stream of recent updates from users’ networks.

Vitrue analyzed Facebook data from its clients — with a combined 41 million fans — and found that most fans yielded an extra impression. That means a marketer posting twice a day can expect about 60 million impressions per month through the news feed.

“It’s important to understand that once you build that fan base, you want to make sure you’re leveraging it,” said Michael Strutton, chief product officer at Vitrue.

Not all brands are created equal. Vitrue found wildly divergent impression-to-fan ratios. Some marketers generated just .44 impressions per fan, while another saw 3.6 impressions. Strutton chalked that up to sexier brands having more engaged connections, giving them access to the news feed more often. The impressions are not unique.

Vitrue arrived at its $3.6 million figure by working off a $5 CPM, meaning a brand’s 1 million fans generate about $300,000 in media value each month. Using Vitrue’s calculation, Starbucks’ 6.5 million fan base — acquired in part with several big ad buys — is worth $23.4 million in media annually.

“It helps [marketers] justify the spend they’re making, especially in acquiring a fan base and engaging that fan base,” Strutton said.

Of course, the figures don’t include perhaps the most powerful incentive for brands building fan bases: social customer-relationship management. Marketers often use their Facebook hubs to inform fans of new products, services and promotions.

“When you start to [add] engagement value, it goes higher,” said Strutton. “We were trying to get an easy-to-understand valuation terminology.”


Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour, wellbeing and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

15 Comments Add New Comment

  1. saad_sinpk says:

    I bought 10000 facebook fans on for my Business Fan page and I immediately started seeing the conversion rate of Orders/Visitors on my online store increase dramatically, they take low prices then others that is main thing, it help me very much in my business ! That was the best advertising investment I made !

  2. Hi everyone,Intriguing post, although i’m more curious in what will take place out of the google vs facebook social network war. I haven’t heard much news on it lately, which perhaps suggests that it’s definitely not that far off, but i have a sense its likely to really mean several great changes to social networks. I think, i would prefer facebook left the battle still in the lead mainly because google’s already big enough, additionally they currently hold a lot of data on everyone. I don’t think that both have the opportunity to exist though, either google’s social network will take over or totally crash. What does anyone else feel?

  3. BlebLife says:

    Its really not that easy even if the tutorial is very detailed. Its putting it into practical that is a little hard. I’m going to link back from my Facebook Followers directory, you should get credit for the well explained and illustrated tutorial :)

  4. cocal says:

    I’ve been listining series of strategy options for engaging young people through Facebook. So two platforms appears for communicate & that are Facebook pages and Facebook groups. I was a minor confused about which one to be selected over the other. Facebook pages and Facebook groups offer a way of promoting activities and of hosting a discussion between different Facebook users & almost same features. So after searching little articles related on these two platforms & i found these insight qualities.

    Facebook group can be create for anything. They can be used as discussion forums, virtual petitions where membership indicates support for a cause, a space for sharing photos and videos or a way of subscribing to get messages from an organisation. As a creator you can control all the features of the group whether it is visible to all members of Facebook or closed and visible only to invited Facebook members.Where as Facebook Page can be create for any entity such as a club, youth council, youth project etc. Unlike groups Facebook Page can be visible on the internet to those without a Facebook account and have fans. You can send updates to fans but these will only be displayed on the side of a users homepage when they log-in rather than appearing in their inbox. Applications can be added to pages similar to the way you can add applications to your Facebook profile.

  5. Mark says:

    wow,does it cost that much,I never thought one facebook user can be that expensive,its nearly $4.hmmm.something to think about

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.