What’s the value for major brands of a Facebook Fan? According to a new study, the average is $174, an increase of 28 percent from 2010. 

The study, "The Value of a Facebook Fan 2013," conducted by social intelligence provider Syncapse in partnership with market researcher Hotspex, used data from 2000 panelists in the U.S. and looked at the top 20 global consumer brands based on the performance of their Facebook Fans. The report parallels the first study by Syncapse on the subject, which was conducted in 2010 and which also measured the impact of Facebook Fans on shareholder value. In that report, the value was US$ 136.

$1613.11 for BMW Fan

That’s the average. For individual brands in the survey, the value of a Fan ranged from a US$ 1613.11 for BMW, US$ 618.53 for Target, US$ 405.54 for Zara and US$ 312.01 for Levi’s, down to US$ 70.16 for Coca-Cola. Brands whose products have smaller pricetags, or that have a frequent buy cycle -- like a soft drink -- have smaller Fan values.

Factors used to calculate Fan value include product spending by the Fan, the Fan's intention to keep buying the brand, word-of-mouth recommendations that lead to future sales, efficiency of reach on the Facebook platform, efficiency of organically acquiring more Fans and the emotional draw felt by Fans toward the brands.

The number of Fans has increased since the initial report, doubling or, for some companies, tripling since then. In 2010, typical brand pages on Facebook had an average of several million Fans, and now top brands carry over 15 million Fans. Coca-Cola, at the very top, has 60 million.

Michael Scissons, Syncapse’s founder and CEO, said in a statement that brand marketers are now moving beyond the stage of getting the most Fans, toward asking “hard questions about the ROI of social marketing.” Part of that ROI is the value of a brand Fan, and Syncapse’s effort to find out included distinguishing between “liking” a brand and becoming a Fan.

Super Consumers

Fans, the report said, are Super Consumers who spend more, engage more, advocate more and are more loyal. They spend 43 percent more than non-Fans in their categories, even though their incomes are not higher than non-Fans, they are 18 percent more satisfied with brands than non-Fans, and they are 11 percent more likely to continue using the brand.

Fans also are more active in social media, are Fans of more than 10 brands at any time, and are more likely to share good brand experiences and promotions or discounts. In short, Syncapse said, their existence and value helps to affirm “past social marketing investment.”

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The report points to how Fans can “reinforce messaging, amplify the experience and extend a halo of positivity.” It gives the example of an Oreo Fan who “gets thrilled and more engaged when asked by the brand which version is better, Double Stuff or Regular.”

Rally Around Fans

In other words, brand Fans are evangelists, the core supporters who will spread the word, and marketing budgets should nurture them with microsites, product packaging and customer service interactions, among other techniques, to turn brand users into Fans.

In fact, the report advocates that all marketing stakeholders in a company “rally” around Fan value factors, in order to achieve effective social marketing at scale. For instance, high numbers of Fans for brands that have a lower average Fan value, such as Coke, present opportunities for maintaining a brand presence, determining Fans’ needs and wants, and introducing incentives for purchases.

The Syncapse study mirrors other efforts to quantify what has also been called brand advocates, and it solidifies with research the growing perception of the value to a brand of a dedicated group of followers who love the product or service.

But the report leaves unanswered the value of dedicated brand fans outside of Facebook, in such other channels as Twitter, YouTube, email lists or Pinterest -- channels which are often included in marketing budgets.