Maintaining a Facebook Page is now a fundamental part of most news organizations’ social media presence. News sites utilize Facebook Pages to increase brand visibility, promote content, interact with users and drive traffic back to their main sites. But how much are these pages really worth to them, and which news sites are getting the most value for their efforts?
Only the news organizations themselves can fully answer that question; their own analytics data combined with internal estimates of the value of fans and various actions will paint the clearest picture. But when I came across Vitrue’s new Social Page Evaluator I thought it would be interesting to compare ballpark valuation figures for selection of major news sites.
The Social Page Evaluator (SPE) provides an estimated “Annual Page Value” for any single Facebook Page based on the last 30 days of activity. According to its disclaimer the SPE factors in fan count, user activity, brand activity and “a proprietary engagement multiplier” and then calculates an “Earned Media Value” using a default CPM of $5. The CPM can be adjusted between $1 and $25.
While the methodology and accuracy can be debated the tool does offer way to make a relative comparison of various Facebook Pages, so that is all I am attempting to do.
Here is a ranking of major news organization Facebook Pages based on activity in the last 30 days and using the default $5 CPM:
|Site||Fans||Page Posts||Interactions||Annual Page Value|
|2||The New York Times||595,339||226||40,476||$4,786,980|
|7||The Huffington Post||113,127||320||51,095||$1,221,772|
|9||The Wall Street Journal||75,121||72||8,109||$811,307|
|10||The Washington Post||48,774||87||5,600||$526,759|
|21||The Christian Science Monitor||13,748||125||3,398||$148,478|
|23||Los Angeles Times||10,823||30||832||$58,444|
CNN earns the #1 spot by a considerable margin but The New York Times, Fox News and NPR also have impressive valuations.
In looking at the table, total number of fans certainly plays a large role but posts and interactions matter too. Fox News getting 67,808 interactions from just 41 posts is impressive, although the quality of those interactions is not measured. I had previously pointed out the high level of engagement that Fox News gets on its Facebook page; this data supports that further.
I also wanted to point out a few things that I noticed while doing the analysis.
CBS News and Reuters are the only two news organizations in the group that have not created a short, customized URL for their page (e.g. www.facebook.com/nytimes):
That is a missed opportunity.
While on Facebook the page URL shown to users in the browser changes radically depending on how it was navigated to. For example when I went to the CNN page by searching “CNN” while on the Fox News page I ended up on this URL:
There are multiple combinations that can occur. If you paste those funky URLs into a new browser tab they redirect to a better URL (in the CNN example www.facebook.com/cnn?ref=ts). But it is still not the main URL for the page and the redirects themselves do not appear to be permanent.
Also for Facebook Pages that were set with capital letters in the name (e.g. www.facebook.com/TheEconomist) the lower case version has a 302 redirect:
The same is true for capitalized URLs that were set in lower case.
So to minimize user confusion and maximize inbound links to the actual Facebook Page URL it is a good idea to display the main URL in a couple places on the page.
Some organizations do this on their Info tab:
chuck tanner says
CPM is a little over inflated unless I’m thinking about the calculation wrong. The CPM on facebook is running lower than .20. You’d need 25 ads running on the pages to break even. Do I have this right?
Adam Sherk says
It’s a good point Chuck, the CPM you plug into the Social Page Evaluator makes all the difference in terms of the valuation figures it provides. I used the default CPM just as a means to make a relative comparison between the various news organizations. As for the high CPM figures, I think Virtue is assigning a higher value to “natural” on-page interactions than ad clicks.
chuck tanner says
Why would one assign more value to natural interaction? The possibility of selling more CPM on associated pages of the linked content site? Sorry for the basic questions here….
Adam Sherk says
I went back to the Vitrue site to look for more specifics on why $5 is the default CPM and why $1 is the lowest CPM, but it’s not spelled out in their disclaimer or FAQ.
There’s also nothing about assigning more value to natural interactions; that was just my guess. For news organizations clicks are key but more personal user engagement, particularly in the form of comments and discussions, helps form long-term user relationships with the brand and hopefully keeps people coming back for repeat visits. That’s hard to quantify or measure but it’s definitely of value.