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Facebook fandom boosts retail visits: study

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Adding a new Facebook fan results in 20 extra visits to a retailer’s website, new research has suggested. Experian Hitwise’s analysis aims to put a figure on the return retailers can expect from investment in the social media.

The study, which came as Experian Hitwise launched its Fan Acquisition and Analysis service, suggested that leading retailers who had no Facebook fans could expect an average of 62,000 visits a month from the site, which is now the UK’s second most-visited. But using its new service merchants could quickly build a fan base and drive new traffic as a result.

Robin Goad, research director at Experian Hitwise, said: “Companies have known for some time how powerful Facebook can be as a marketing and branding tool, but until now demonstrating the value of investing in Facebook has been reduced to isolated examples consisteing of anecdotal evidence. Without combination of data sources we are able to show exactly what effect acquiring new Facebook fans has on website traffic; and over the course of a year each new Facebook fan will be worth 20 additional visits to a retailer’s website.”

HItwise data suggests that social media is the fastest growing online industry, with 2.4bn visits from UK internet users to social networks each month, equivalent to 13% of all UK internet use in May 2011.

The new fan acquisition service uses Techlightenment’s Alchemy Social Facebook advertising platform to optimise Facebook ads to reach their core audience, defined as their propensity to be a fan of the brand based on data including Facebook Likes.

Ankur Shah, chief executive and co-founder of Techlightenment said the service was charged for on a cost-per-acquisition basis, rather than cost-per-ad, allowing the client to know “exactly how much it will cost in advance to acquire quality Facebook fans which have relevant ties to their brand.”

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