And Now, This: Study Finds Two-Thirds of Facebook Fan Pages Are Inactive

Might this have anything to do with the abrupt shift to Timeline?

The recently-released study, from Recommend.ly, focuses on the broad collection of Fan Pages on Facebook, of which bands and musicians are a significant subset.  And according to the results, more than two-thirds of all Fan Pages are now inactive in some way, based on a sample of 5.76 million Pages.  “The current study discovered low levels of active Pages, a fall in average number of posts and a huge drop in engagement rates since March,” the researchers relayed in a note.

These are some of the ‘dead’ giveaways:

(1) 63.9 percent of Pages have no cover photo.

(2) 70.1 percent of Pages make 0 posts a month

(3) 83.4 percent of Pages never participated in conversations

(4) 50 percent of Pages have less than 300 fans

The report comes alongside massive drops in traffic to dedicated artist fan pages, and major, extinction-level threats for Facebook-directed companies like BandPage and FanRx.  The environment suddenly shifted in March, when Facebook railroaded traffic away from Fan Pages, and towards a unified, Timeline-infused main page.

That fit Facebook’s broader strategic objectives, but dramatically changed the environment for artists and the music industry.  And several months later, the deteriorating effect on artist pages has become more serious.  According to the Recommend.ly study, the number of musician, entertainment, and related Fan Pages has dropped significantly since the redirects, at least relative to other categories.  All of which obliterates any misconception that Facebook can serve as an artist hub online going forward.

In the following breakdown, bands are part of ‘Personal Brand’ pages, which also includes groups like comedians, politicians, and other entertainers.

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Splicing things a bit further, Recommend.ly also found a shockingly-large group of disengaged bands on Facebook.  This is breakdown of complete non-responsiveness to fans, or any direct fan outreach on Fan Pages.

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Time for MySpace Music to refill that void?  I’m only half joking…

14 Responses

    • balbers

      Well, participating on FB is a joke now. All those silly, useless status updates.

      I do, however, still find it useful as a means of communicating with many people who I otherwise would not have been able to contact. Or at least had a much more difficult time finding contact info. So for the time being, I’ll be keeping my FB account for that reason.

      All the while, I’ve been looking for a comparable alternative to FB. I had high hopes for Google+, but I won’t be the first one to call it a ghost town, so I expect it to rot on the vine much the same way Google Buzz and Google Wave did.

      And, ya, I also have high hopes for the new MySpace, although they’ll have some formidable obstacles when they debut the new format of (1) FB users who don’t care about an alternative to FB, and (2) all the baggage of the old MySpace and all the bad experiences people had there before jumping over (most likely) to FB.

      If the people in charge of MySpace are smart (and undoubtedly they are), in rolling out and marketing the new MySpace, they’ll want to mention the things that FB users gripe the most about- primarily the privacy issues (although isn’t that exactly what G+ did, as well as Diaspora *gasp!* remember them?), but also stuff like the music capabilities mentioned in this article.

      • Visitor

        I think MySpace could be the new MySpace.

        Seriously. It still has… something.

        Unlike FB.

  1. ghettogandy

    My intuition is calling this more indicative of Facebook’s success in easing the barriers to creating a Page. The site is thoughtfully dotted with ‘Create a Page’ links and the UI for the creation process is foolproof.

    I don’t want to pick apart your article, but Timeline was anything but an abrupt shift. Notice was given far in advance and anyone in the digital world that’s worth paying a salary was using it and had familiarized themselves with it many months ahead of time.

    App landing pages clearly needed to go, they were an aberration to an otherwise uniform and necessarily predictable interface; now, with respect to BandPage and others that made useful products, there were an insane amount of clunky, misleading, buggy apps that were ruining the experience not just for users but also for digital strategists like myself.

    Facebook has every right to try to survive and retain a great UX in a dynamic industry with no established roadmap. They’re following the consumer trend towards mobile, so I’m not understanding the hostility aimed at them.

    -Adam

  2. News Reader

    We also need to keep in mind that a lot of “groups” on Facebook (from the early days, before “Pages”) automatically became Pages when they were rolled out earlier this year. Think of how many groups early users of Facebook joined and created.

    Maybe we should look at these pages as “trends”? Just like websites, these Pages see an age of growth, interaction and traction, then people get bored and move on, and the “Pages” remain up. Think of how many websites are out there that haven’t been updated in over a year.

    I use Facebook for marketing related reasons on a daily basis and still find it as the most effective way to reach a large number of fans for artists, in relation to other social networks.

  3. Chad

    With the fan-base analytics Myspace was previewed as to provide it will surely blow Facebook out of the water. Only if it is executed in the correct way, of course. It will be a classic case of niche focus and specialization taking the cake.

    Whereas Facebook is a broad channel created, built, and fed to break down communication walls and barriers, Myspace is much more targeted. If executed, Myspace will provide for a much more detailed knowledge and interaction platform of your fan-base, catered right at Artists and Entertainers.

    I have full-faith in not only the Vanderhook brothers, but their ability to surround themselves with people who deliver excellent products. That said, I think the music industry will have a bright new star to look forward to in the coming future.

  4. hippydog

    Worst thing about the ‘timeline’ is it forces the creater to now continously come up with new “content” just so they can reach the ‘fans’ they have, and if the ‘fans’ dont comment or interact with the post then your ‘reach’ is severely limited..

    matter of fact, if the fans dont interact then Facebook punishes you by limiting the reach of your posts even to your fans who said they WANTED to see your posts!

    They did just add a ‘pages’ tab, but it doesnt seem to have worked its way to the mobile versions, and I think some people have to manually add it to their ‘favorites’..

    Sadly, the ‘apps’ and corporate sponsers now have the predominate access to peoples timelines..

  5. Joe McKesson

    I find funny that we keep destroying social media sites because the fans don’t respond to lame use of Facebook by music groups. Movies don’t have the same problem, the arts are starting to flourish, but company that can’t see beyond the 2D aspect of FB, MySpace, etc. Feed programming is significant if you can entertain online. Many folks advertise deals, instead of making recommendations. Artist who share their lives get many responses. Most music companies have tried to drive likes by capturing them in expensive code updates and redesigned pages, instead of talking to their customers/fans directly in their feeds.

    The irony of having direct contact with fans is that it seems no one knows how to talk or share, which is the new zeitgeist of marketing. Recommendations, humanism, sharing to sell one track or piece of art at a time. FB is not a blow horn, it is a dinner party where you entertain and give of yourself.

    I’ve notice the lame marketing attempts and I’ve been appalled with how even agents represent their artists. This isn’t about money, obviously people can spend a pretty penny to build useless apps, widgets and psycho fan pages…but to have a little editorial or engagement on a daily basis is too much work, or expensive? Building networks has never been easier, but man, you still got to work the room, as every artist, venue or group has to do on a daily basis

  6. Iyana G

    This totally makes sense to me because labels/bands/artists look at Facebook as a free alternative to digital ads – and it’s just not. It’s a community that needs constant attention and something special in order to work and not many in musicians have time to do all that. Not to mention it is hardly free – even more so now with the change in FB’s reach. It’s a big commetment – it doesn’t work as a place to throw up content and step away from. That and the ROI isn’t apples for apples, one post doesn’t equal x number of ticket sales or MP3 downloads. For some it’s not worth it but for those looking to build a brand and play in the big leauges (Beyonce’s page for instance) it will prove fruitful.

  7. Christopher A Wilson

    This is exactly why having your own website is still important. No matter which “social media” site is in or out of vogue at the moment – with your own site, you will always have a way to communicate with your fans or vice versa.

    I know this seems obvious, but I have friends who are purely using Facebook right now and let their domain names expire.

  8. Visitor

    Facebook made pages less viable by making it a less easy experience to follow someones page you liked…so people have to re advertise them selves to their fans or would be genuine fans that had at least liked their pages apparenty the connections already started by Artists are counter to FB interests!

  9. Yup

    Have to agree that a dedicated website is the way to go and cost recoverable with some sales of your wares.

    social media just seems lame to me and I really don’t want to visit someplace that wants me to join up.

    so I heard one of your songs and searched for you and if you had a real website I probably buy that song via whatever link you provide, but land on facebook or whatever, eh.. Pain in the ass.

    make it easy for me! Get Real!