During the past year, the four major US wireless service providers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, have all launched fan pages on the Facebook online social network. These pages act as a company profile page, allowing users to post on their wall and explore the different content on the page including photos, company events, and special offers.
Consumers Spend More Time on Wireless Fan Pages
Consumer traffic to the pages of all four companies has grown, and Compete research also indicates that consumer engagement (time spent per session) has also grown.
While engagement isn’t particularly high for the fan pages, with Sprint leading in February 2010 with an average 95-second session, it is on an upward trend for most carriers. Sprint and Verizon saw a spike in engagement during February 2010, when Sprint announced it will sell a 4G phone starting in the summer of 2010 and Verizon announced that Skype would be available on smartphones starting in March 2010. Users may have looked to fan pages to provide information or answer questions about these announcements.
In addition, Compete uncovered the following statistics regarding consumer engagement on wireless provider Facebook fan pages since December 2009:
- The average time per visit for any carrier fan page from December 2009 to February 2010 was only 36 seconds.
- Both Sprint and Verizon Wireless were able to boost their time per visit to more than one minute in February 2010.
- T-Mobile, the newest carrier to create a Facebook fan page, is the only one of the four major providers to experience a decrease in time per session from December 2009 through February 2010.
4G, Wall Posts Help Sprint Dominate Cross-visitation
Cross-visitation, or a consumer visiting the provider’s main webpage during the same session they visit its Facebook fan page, is the only way to drive actual sales. Judging by cross-visitation statistics during the same time period, Sprint is far and away gaining the most value from its Facebook fan page.
Sprint led in cross-visitation rates during all three individual months tracked, with 22% in December 2009, 26% in January 2010, and 69% in February 2010. The closest any other provider came to this commanding February 2010 rate was the 36% cross-visitation rate reported by Verizon Wireless in the same month. Verizon Wireless had similar, if slightly lower, rates in December 2009 and January 2010, suggesting strong consumer interest in 4G.
In addition, Sprint’s jump in cross visitation could have been due in part to an increase in wall posts Sprint made that included a link to Sprint’s website. In January, 47% of Sprint’s wall posts included a link to its website, and in February that rate jumped to 82%. AT&T, on the other hand, included a link to its site in only 17% of its fan page wall posts.
Once again, T-Mobile is the only carrier to report decreasing rates during the three months covered. AT&T had the second-lowest cross-visitation rates, although it had the most overall visitors between December 2009 and February 2010.
Consumers Like Wall Tabs
Compete found that users spent the most time on the wall tab of the fan page where they are allowed to post questions and comments. Carriers could benefit greatly by concentrating their efforts on the wall tab of the fan page to increase both engagement and cross visitation.
SocNet Usage Rises in Feb. ’10
Rising engagement on wireless provider Facebook fan pages falls into wider patterns of increased usage of social networks in general and Facebook in particular. US web users spent and average of six hours, two minutes and 34 seconds on social networks during February 2010, according to The Nielsen Company. the US, the average active social network unique audience grew 22.8%, from 115 million in February 2009 to 149 million in February 2010.
Globally, Facebook was clearly the most popular social network in February 2010. Facebook’s reach extended to 52% of active social network users, and the site averaged 19.16 sessions per person and time spent of five hours and 52 minutes per person.