Last week, I released a free 33-page ebook titled 7 Ways to Market Your Business on Facebook.

As the title suggests, it offered a few ways you could use Facebook to take your business to your customers, by using the platform’s various strengths – Pages, Apps, Ads, etc, – as a jumping-off point. But there was a small “catch”, if you like.

As an experiment in offering exclusive content tailored specifically to connect the relevant platform and users, I limited availability of the ebook. Instead of sharing via this blog, or uploading as a presentation on Slideshare, you could only get it via my Facebook Page, and only if you liked the page in question.

The reason was two-fold – I wanted to see how popular platform-specific content would be (after all, my blog would probably offer more chance of traction), and I also wanted to use it as an experiment to show clients how Facebook can be used to increase brand awareness.

And it’s been interesting to see the results. Here are just some of the key metrics.

Facebook Metrics

The day before the ebook was made public, there were 190 people that “liked” my Facebook page. The day of publication, that jumped to 265. The day after that, 389. Now, one week later, the number sits at 466 at the time of writing this post – an increase of more than 245%.

Because the ebook was only available via Facebook, and only after you liked the page, I made sure that there were no “hidden clauses” once you’d downloaded the ebook. If you wished, you could unlike immediately – the onus was on me to make sure I tried to keep you interested with content that you’d find interesting after the ebook was finished.

So far, it seems to be working – only 7 people have unsubscribed since the ebook went live last week. I think that’s a pretty acceptable number for any new subscribers that came just for the ebook itself.

Additionally, the continued interaction on the page has stayed steady even after the initial “rush” for the download. Daily active users increased by more than a third, and new Likers continues to grow as well.

The demographic breakdown was pretty interesting, as it showed a distinctly different readership from my blog analytics. While the majority of traffic to this blog according to Google and Quantcast is male and 35+, the split for the Facebook page is a lot closer.

In fact, there’s little to separate things when you look at users that fall within the 24-54 age group. Something to keep in mind as I share content on the page in future.

Traffic and Downloads

Of course, the Facebook numbers only tell half the story. Once you liked the Facebook page (if you hadn’t already), you were then given a download link to get the free ebook.

To measure the traffic here, I used a vanity URL via bit.ly, and tied that into Google Analytics for web visits. Again, it was pretty interesting to see where the traffic came from and the peak periods.

The bit.ly traffic shows that my request to keep the download Facebook-exclusive was “honoured” (and thank you so much for that!).

While I wasn’t stopping anyone from sharing away from Facebook, for the experiment to work, keeping the ebook limited to that platform would be the best way to gauge how successful the exclusive approach was.

As bit.ly shows, of the 368 downloads, 358 came from the vanity URL, of which 340 came directly from the Free Ebook tab I set up on my Facebook Page just for this experiment. Only 13 “cheated” and sent folks directly to the download link.

I’m more than happy with this figure, though, as there were no hard and fast “rules” to stop anyone from sharing the download link outside Facebook. So again, thanks everyone for “playing the game”.

The Google Analytics stats show how overall site traffic increased both just after the launch, and with my mention on Twitter about writing the post you’re reading now. Connect that to the steady ongoing traffic that the post is still receiving, and it shows that the experiment had, and still has, some good traction.

So, again, positive results – so far, so good.

Takeaways and Future Plans

So what’s the point in all these figures, graphs and information? After all, it’s just an ebook, right? Well, yes and no.

As I mentioned in the original post, I made the ebook an exclusive to Facebook to see how it compared to more traditional offers. The last free ebook I didWhy Simple Works, was shared via my blog and Slideshare and could also be embedded or sent via email. That saw more than 1,400 eventual downloads, all told. So, a distinct drop in numbers with the Facebook one.

However, the 1,400 downloads for Why Simple Works only made up about 35% of the traffic to the various download options. The stats for 7 Ways to Market Your Business on Facebook saw downloads accounting for almost 77% – more than double the “popular” multi-platform sharing option.

It also saw a 245% increase in platform audience – something the more open sharing of the previous ebook didn’t achieve.

Now, think of this information as a business:

  • 77% active participation in an offer
  • 245% increase in your core audience
  • Jump in web traffic of more than 250%
  • 36% growth in daily user interaction

If this had been a business or non-profit promotion and you had these figures, I think it’s safe to say that it could be viewed as a pretty successful campaign, no?

From a personal viewpoint, I’ll definitely be offering more platform-exclusive content (look out for an ebook on social responsibility within the workplace soon from the SRM Group).

From an experiment point if view, I think it’s something that can be of value to show clients why Facebook can be such a useful platform for promotions and incentives. And that’s immediate value right there.

How about you? Have you offered anything similar? And if you downloaded the ebook, was it worth the “extra step” you had to take to get it, and do you see value in exclusives?

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18 comments
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JacksonLo
JacksonLo like.author.displayName 1 Like

Great chat tonight at #mmchat. If I hadn't been there I probably wouldn't have came across this experiment of yours. Very interesting statistics. My last couple blog posts were on the topic of Facebook too. If you have time you can read them, but I'm sure you're already up to date with what I've written :) I will check out your Facebook page and download that eBook. I can sense a lot of goodies in there. Thanks for all the info here!

justex07
justex07 like.author.displayName 1 Like

What a great article. Helpful for a campaign I'm working on right now. Thanks for providing the actual metrics, most people would just say this or that but not actually show the measures of success.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown moderator

@justex07 Thanks Justin, and glad you enjoyed the post. It's one of the things I often get annoyed at - offering figures or stats without any follow-through on them. It'd be kinda remiss for me to do that here as well ;-)

Would love to hear how your campaign goes - feel free to jump back anytime and update.

splashtab
splashtab

Thanks for sharing your numbers! I would like to see these stats for a Facebook page with something closer to 5000 fans, instead of 190, to see how the numbers change, especially the "245% increase in your core audience" one.

Also, 5 months later you are up to 1300 fans, so I wonder how much of this is the "long tail" effect of your free ebook? I would be interested to you if you are still seeing the effects of this promotion.

I agree though, "fan-gating" is an effective strategy to drive interaction. We are hoping to introduce the ability to add "fan only" content to landing tabs soon with the tab creation tool I'm working on, http://splashtab.com.

splashtab
splashtab like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Danny Brown We will be sure to do that when the fans-only feature is up and running. Thanks for the reply!

Danny Brown
Danny Brown moderator

@splashtab It's definitely part of the long-tail effect. Additionally, making sure there's good content going out there and not just limiting it to "boring business" stuff.

Maybe when your tool is available you can approach someone with 5,000 "fans" to carry out a similar experiment? ;-)

Mark W Schaefer
Mark W Schaefer like.author.displayName 1 Like

Great job with this and thanks for giving us a peek under the covers. I loved the eBook and plan to assign it as reading material to my class that begins in August!

Danny
Danny

Hey Mark,

Thanks a lot fella, really appreciate that. You do know there's a 50 cent surcharge per shared page, right..? ;-)

John Soares
John Soares like.author.displayName 1 Like

Danny, thanks for sharing the actual numbers: I understand and appreciate numbers.

Now I need to make creating a Facebook fan page a greater priority...

Danny
Danny

Numbers are good, John. Numbers with pictures? I'm like a pig in mud ;-)

Liz Pope
Liz Pope like.author.displayName 1 Like

Thanks for sharing Danny -- this is a really neat experiment! I'm looking forward to checking out your Facebook page and downloading the ebook. Just curious, but what program/tool did you use to capture the Facebook metrics and make the graphs?

Danny
Danny

Hey there Liz,

Thanks, and hope you enjoy the ebook.

For the graphics, it was just good old Ctrl/Print Screen and cropped via MS Paint. Ya, I'm a Luddite... ;-)

John Haydon
John Haydon like.author.displayName 1 Like

Danny - I've offered free video tutorials on my Facebook Page in exchange for "liking" the Page. Each time I promote the a recently uploaded video, I notice similar spike numbers that you observed, although not as high, because mine involved several small offers as opposed to one big one like you have.

Great job here, by the way. I think this study will be useful for any and all Page owners.

Danny
Danny

Cheers John - been learning a lot from your video series, great ideas!

Shane
Shane like.author.displayName 1 Like

Nice one Danny, thanks for sharing the metrics and love the way this worked out. Definitely a good learn on how FB can be leveraged as a marketing platform and something for the rest of us to think about.

Danny
Danny

Cheers Shane,

I was curious to see how using just a single platform would differ from cross-sharing. Pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

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