steve carpenter
brand pages

TechCrunch Teardown: Top Facebook Brand Page Growth and Key Trends

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Editor’s note: Steven Carpenter is an entrepreneur that writes the TechCrunch Teardown series that looks at the business models of consumer Internet companies. He has previously written in-depth analyses of Zynga, Groupon, Etsy, Chegg, and the 13 Consumer Internet Business Models. Carpenter is currently an Entrepreneur In Residence at Accel Partners.

My last TechCrunch Teardown outlined the multi-billion dollar online brand advertising opportunity. As part of that research, I looked at the top Facebook brand pages to see how some brands were successfully using social media to connect with their consumers. With soaring Facebook revenues, a significant share of which comes from brand advertising, I went back again to look at how the top 165 brand pages performed in Q1 2011 to get a sense for which firms continue to get the most out of Facebook. And to see if some brands are showing signs of slowing growth.

For instance, here is how the 10 largest brands on Facebook are doing:

Top 10 Facebook Brand Pages “Like” Growth (Q1 2011)

Brand Page  Dec, 2010  Apr, 2011 Change Above/Below Overall Facebook Growth
Coca-Cola  20,181,591  25,390,573 26% 12%
Starbucks  18,647,055  21,016,173 13% -1%
Oreo  15,530,714  18,370,449 18% 5%
Disney  14,648,296  20,734,994 42% 28%
Skittles  14,036,623  16,027,104 14% 0%
Red Bull  13,973,519  17,555,541 26% 12%
Converse All Star  11,729,775  16,020,477 37% 23%
Victoria’s Secret  10,465,744  12,481,227 19% 6%
Pringles  8,192,066  11,865,755 45% 31%
Monster Energy  7,464,850  9,663,686 29% 16%

As you can see in the longer table below, which ranks the top 165 Facebook brand pages by growth, many of the top brands on Facebook continue to experience strong fan growth, even with bases of multi-million fans. For this research, I specifically looked at those brand pages that had an installed “fan base” of 500,000 users and above in December in order to get the best measurement of the health of the platform.

Facebook itself grew it’s users by 13.7% (from 585 million to 665 million, in terms of raw number of accounts) so I would expect to see the top brands seeing a multiple of this considering the nascent stage and untapped potential of commerce on Facebook. Conversely, if a brand page’s growth lags that of Facebook’s in general, it may be an early indicator of a stalled social media strategy.

Top 10 Takeaways

  1. Only 10 top brand pages grew their audience 100%+ last quarter and only three (Hollister, Sour Patch Kids, Trident Chewing Gum) saw 200% or more growth.
  2. 31 brand pages (19% of the total) grew less than the overall Facebook growth rate of 14%. Starbucks, the 2nd largest brand page on Facebook, was the largest brand in the bottom 31. By contrast, Coca-Cola, Facebook’s largest brand, grew 26%, and Disney, the new No. 3 most popular brand, grew its fans by 42%.
  3. Food and apparel retail are two categories of note that appear to be among the fastest growth areas. This is interesting considering consumption for these products mostly occur offline.
  4. Apparel retailers, specifically, seem to be doing a better job of tying their retail store promotions to their Facebook presence. Interesting to note that Hollister and Abercrombie are No. 1 and No. 4, respectively, and are owned by the same company. American Eagle, Forever 21, H&M, and Zara are all doing something right.
  5. Walmart was the No. 12 fastest-growing fan page, adding 2.5 million fans. Along with its recent acquisition of Kosmix, I believe Walmart will continue to invest heavily in social, commerce, and campaigns.
  6. In the next decile, quick-serve restaurants such as Domino’s, Pizza Hut, In-N-Out Burger, and Wendy’s appear to signal another trend worth noting. The key question for these firms is how to drive restaurant visits and sales from these pages when food is, by definition, offline activity.
  7. Fanning specific niche passion products (Olive Garden bread sticks, Sharpie markers, Swedish Fish, Cookie Dough) and seasonal items (Cadbury Eggs) may plateau when the initial novelty and/or the natural “audience” for those products is achieved.
  8. Inter-category brand differences are evident and warrant further investigation. For example, why are Hollister, Abercrombie, and Forever 21 growing so much faster than Wet Seal (27%) and Pac Sun (42%)? And why do these same three brands have 3X-4X more fans than their competition?
  9. An interesting brand story is happening right now in Dove soap. While Dove did not qualify for my initial analysis because it only had 271,000 fans in December, it’s 340% growth made it the No. 1 fastest 1-million fan brand page in my analysis.
  10. As brands achieve critical mass and become more comfortable investing in their Facebook presence, they will become far more concerned with fan engagement, fan differentiation, loyalty and efficacy. The key question is: once they have an audience, what will they do with it?
Bugatti teardown photo credit: Flickr/David Villarreal Fernández
Top 165 Facebook Brand Pages “Like” Growth (Q1)
Brand Page  Dec, 2010  Apr, 2011 Change
Hollister Co.  1,387,934  4,782,412 245%
Sour Patch Kids  525,764  1,710,745 225%
Trident® Chewing Gum  563,392  1,785,530 217%
Abercrombie & Fitch  1,547,004  4,270,707 176%
American Eagle  1,577,352  4,261,547 170%
Sprite  1,385,784  3,207,224 131%
Forever 21  1,862,285  4,302,047 131%
Puma  2,126,747  4,451,585 109%
H&M  3,268,914  6,752,798 107%
Pepsi India  521,589  1,045,855 101%
Domino’s Pizza  1,249,633  2,455,288 96%
Walmart  2,641,803  5,162,522 95%
Zara  4,416,498  8,620,975 95%
Netflix  482,219  936,551 94%
DC Shoes  2,500,000  4,732,380 89%
WARHEADS  468,363  879,585 88%
Diet Coke  470,445  882,837 88%
Redbox  1,397,149  2,609,453 87%
Best Buy  1,487,001  2,768,057 86%
Nike Football  3,700,000  6,869,344 86%
Pizza Hut  1,818,573  3,257,844 79%
AXE  629,074  1,104,783 76%
Mentos US  473,427  825,348 74%
Macy’s  921,871  1,595,052 73%
In-N-Out Burger  1,015,176  1,734,198 71%
Wendy’s  563,328  950,196 69%
Burberry  3,500,000  5,828,557 67%
Hair Experts  509,220  843,638 66%
Xbox  5,141,786  8,423,567 64%
Levi’s  2,514,121  4,099,901 63%
(RED)  654,318  1,061,932 62%
Secret  560,084  896,710 60%
Marvel  965,586  1,536,586 59%
Burger King  679,767  1,079,037 59%
Foot Locker  713,849  1,122,532 57%
Kit Kat  2,137,833  3,355,587 57%
Nike Basketball  1,668,597  2,616,177 57%
Rockstar Energy Drink US  524,792  822,122 57%
Stride Gum  1,151,682  1,799,030 56%
adidas Originals  5,700,000  8,819,781 55%
Lacoste  3,500,000  5,393,776 54%
Wonka  823,747  1,268,952 54%
Cheez-It  1,074,387  1,627,532 51%
GameStop  1,344,685  2,019,780 50%
GUESS? Inc.  698,930  1,032,288 48%
7-Eleven  482,498  710,157 47%
Tide  824,529  1,204,499 46%
Olive Garden Italian Restaurant  878,360  1,278,583 46%
Ferrero Rocher  6,551,568  9,529,946 45%
Pringles  8,192,066  11,865,755 45%
Panda Express  838,140  1,195,165 43%
PacSun  571,075  809,913 42%
M&M’s France  526,074  745,918 42%
Disney  14,648,296  20,734,994 42%
Glowsticks  2,864,804  4,047,188 41%
Little Debbie  654,130  915,507 40%
Snickers  1,175,638  1,644,483 40%
BMW  3,750,000  5,221,977 39%
Aeropostale  3,000,000  4,165,275 39%
Baskin-Robbins  1,662,602  2,305,019 39%
Arizona Iced Tea  1,462,999  2,026,552 39%
adidas Football  3,000,000  4,151,631 38%
Frizzé  594,259  821,230 38%
Pepsi  2,700,000  3,702,343 37%
Bath & Body Works  1,234,488  1,691,674 37%
SUBWAY  3,872,541  5,305,329 37%
Converse All Star  11,729,775  16,020,477 37%
TOMS  625,000  847,167 36%
Lay’s  1,868,683  2,515,595 35%
Sephora  1,000,000  1,344,825 34%
Pillsbury  689,710  925,913 34%
Target  3,133,868  4,196,333 34%
Nutella  6,810,461  9,068,800 33%
ChapStick  1,517,113  2,007,002 32%
McDonald’s Malaysia  512,025  673,019 31%
Fox Racing  1,456,047  1,909,669 31%
Pizzeria los hijos de puta  580,796  761,186 31%
Dollar General  495,885  645,974 30%
Hooters  844,387  1,096,540 30%
Kohl’s  3,267,161  4,239,709 30%
Honda  762,420  988,055 30%
Monster Energy  7,464,850  9,663,686 29%
Mountain Dew  3,701,609  4,772,978 29%
Ford Mustang  1,050,000  1,350,518 29%
McDonald’s  6,138,025  7,875,107 28%
The Cheesecake Factory  655,897  840,651 28%
Wet Seal  1,100,000  1,394,234 27%
Gatorade  2,572,224  3,248,692 26%
Buffalo Wild Wings  3,628,268  4,567,362 26%
Coca-Cola  20,181,591  25,390,573 26%
Chocolatos  1,257,306  1,580,472 26%
Red Bull  13,973,519  17,555,541 26%
Taco Bell  4,953,180  6,219,430 26%
Babies “R” Us  553,761  695,291 26%
ICEE  936,991  1,168,181 25%
Dairy Queen  2,375,486  2,956,525 24%
Harley-Davidson  1,845,069  2,292,030 24%
Toys ”R” Us  1,125,055  1,392,779 24%
Jimmy John’s  461,915  570,194 23%
Subway  3,364,370  4,133,441 23%
Doritos  1,358,782  1,667,809 23%
HERSHEY’S  1,590,718  1,945,763 22%
Orbit Gum  771,124  941,755 22%
Walgreens  788,673  960,000 22%
Hot Topic  2,373,296  2,882,338 21%
M&M’s U.S.A.  1,760,238  2,134,154 21%
JCPenney  1,359,595  1,646,900 21%
Ben & Jerry’s  2,276,699  2,748,229 21%
Life is good.®  715,918  863,390 21%
Party City  782,496  943,411 21%
Dr Pepper  7,132,036  8,575,528 20%
Cindor  681,323  818,347 20%
Old Spice  1,149,898  1,380,317 20%
Çikolata  1,001,695  1,202,211 20%
7-ELEVEN  991,582  1,190,014 20%
5 Gum  3,724,541  4,469,481 20%
Duck Tape  3,108,051  3,717,906 20%
Victoria’s Secret  10,465,744  12,481,227 19%
Audi USA  2,623,327  3,114,304 19%
Dunkin’ Donuts  2,737,229  3,241,332 18%
Oreo  15,530,714  18,370,449 18%
Chipotle Mexican Grill  1,105,439  1,301,979 18%
Outback Steakhouse  996,600  1,173,257 18%
Carl’s Jr.  585,236  688,472 18%
Starburst  7,025,176  8,197,646 17%
Chili’s Grill & Bar  638,213  744,507 17%
Jamba Juice  792,899  923,054 16%
Fix-It and Forget-It  449,067  522,056 16%
Starbucks Philippines  695,683  805,229 16%
Twix  1,442,657  1,666,482 16%
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts  2,714,226  3,127,356 15%
Papa John’s Pizza  1,405,881  1,618,344 15%
Skittles  14,036,623  16,027,104 14%
Dippin’ Dots  3,339,741  3,808,655 14%
FACEBOOK Q1 2011 USER GROWTH LINE
Cadbury Creme Egg  1,535,205  1,741,854 13%
Sharpie Permanent Markers  1,468,927  1,665,069 13%
Jones Soda  617,199  698,903 13%
SunChips  482,458  544,963 13%
Kraft Foods – Recipes and Tips  553,395  624,644 13%
Bubble O’ Bill Ice Creams  848,168  956,350 13%
Starbucks  18,647,055  21,016,173 13%
Cookie Dough  2,680,854  3,013,803 12%
vitaminwater  2,031,582  2,279,729 12%
T.G.I. Friday’s  493,236  552,323 12%
Vodka Glacial  539,500  601,922 12%
Reese’s  6,125,628  6,819,614 11%
River Island  828,834  917,746 11%
Wawa  607,163  672,211 11%
Butterfinger  685,944  757,494 10%
Chick-fil-A  3,584,407  3,955,188 10%
Galaxy Chocolate  833,986  913,285 10%
Baci Perugina fan club  847,716  919,199 8%
Nescafé  908,151  982,156 8%
Sour Gummy Worms  3,200,000  3,442,389 8%
Bacon Butty  455,099  488,434 7%
Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts  2,606,464  2,792,095 7%
Pizza on Zeer  618,288  661,984 7%
Chocolates on Zeer  582,155  618,030 6%
Sour Patch Watermelon  1,194,792  1,264,258 6%
Pan di Stelle  1,191,826  1,256,034 5%
LINDT, Cioccolato – Italia  508,145  526,920 4%
Swedish Fish  518,868  533,747 3%
Einstein Bros Bagels  617,575  635,215 3%
Olive Garden Bread Sticks  968,981  974,462 1%
Häagen-Dazs®  563,711  560,983 0%
© Steven A. Carpenter, 2011