How viral is your message?

Rob Messinger
Rob Messinger // June 12, 2012

How do you know if your Facebook efforts are working?

You’ve started to build an audience, but we all know that isn’t the point. Ultimately, you want to be doing something with those people, such as generating sales, collecting referrals, opening conversations or building trust.

To use the power of social networking, you want your message to spread beyond your immediate network. You want the idea to go viral.

“Amplification is perhaps the most important, and least understood, element of achieving brand reach and resonance on Facebook,”  according new white paper from ComScore and Facebook.

The paper can be a bit technical, but it gives some good case studies to explain how amplification can turn into increased sales. It also offers comparison points to judge your amplification ratio — how viral your messages are.

Put simply, the amplification ratio takes the number of people outside your immediate network (the friends of fans) who have seen your message and divides it by the number of friends who saw your message. The higher the number, the more viral the message.

In the ComScore/Facebook study,

  • the top 10 corporate brands had an average ratio of 1.05 but ranged from 0.42 to 2.18.
  • The top 100 brands had an average of 0.84, with a range of 0.06 to 2.87.

One other tidbit from the study:

  • More brands are creating online ads that are “socially enabled” — in other words, that ask people to “like” them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. In March, 15.2 percent of display ads in the United States had a social call to action, compared with 8.2 percent in November.