Inside Facebook Pages

November 2009
By Sysomos Inc.

In 2007, Facebook introduced a new feature called “Facebook Pages”, which are user profiles for brands (companies, organizations, and celebrities). Facebook Pages have the look and feel of personal pages but offer additional features such as the ability to quickly send messages to thousands of fans.

Sysomos analyzed nearly 600,000 Facebook Pages to investigate usage patterns. This is the first large-scale study of Facebook Pages, reporting on different aspects of pages including popularity, amount of content posted, number of fans, and categories.

The highlights include:

  • Michael Jackson is the most popular page on Facebook, with 10 million fans; he is followed by actor Vin Diesel (7 million) and U.S. president Barack Obama (6.9 million).
  • On average, a Facebook Page has 4,596 fans.
  • Four percent of pages have more than 10,000 fans, 0.76% of pages have more than 100,000 fans, and 0.05% of pages (or 297 in total) have more than a million fans.
  • Pages with more than one million fans have nearly three times as much owner-generated content as the average Facebook page. (Where “owner-generated content” means things like photos, videos, and links posted by the page’s administrators.)
  • Pages with more than one million fans have nearly 60 times as much fan-generated content (photos, videos) as the average Facebook page.
  • On an average Facebook Page, the administrators create one wall post every 15.7 days. Among pages with more than one million fans, one wall post is created for every 16.1 days. This suggests that wall post frequency does not correlate with a page’s popularity.
  • Overall, the most popular “category” for Facebook pages is “non-profits”, while “celebrities”, “music”, and “products” are the most popular categories among pages with more than one million fans.

Page Popularity

The Top 5 Most Popular Facebook Pages

Highlights:

  • Michael Jackson is the most popular entity on Facebook, with two pages in the top 10, totalling more than fourteen million fans.
  • Barack Obama is by far the most popular politician on Facebook, with nearly ten times as many fans as his nearest peer, Sarah Palin.
  • The average Facebook page that Sysomos analyzed has 4,596 fans. The median page has 218 fans (i.e. 50% of the pages have fewer than 218 fans).
Page # fans
Michael Jackson 10,404,798
Vin Diesel 7,042,550
Barack Obama 6,940,236
Facebook 5,802,170
Megan Fox 5,115,909
Source: sysomos.com

Page Popularity Distribution

The following graphs show the cumulative popularity distribution for the nearly 600,000 Facebook Pages we analyzed. The facts:

  • 95% of pages have more than 10 fans
  • 65% of pages have more than 100 fans
  • 23% of pages have more than 1,000 fans
  • 4% of pages have more than 10,000 fans
  • 0.76% of pages have more than 100,000 fans
  • 0.047% of pages have more than one million fans (297 in total).
 
 

Facebook Page Categories

About Facebook’s Categorization System

When creating a Facebook Page, there are a variety of categories that can be selected. These include broad categories such as “local”, “brand”, “product”, “organization”, “artist”, “band”, or “public figure”. All of the available categories can be classified as “proper nouns” such as businesses, organizations, entities, and persons.

However, many of the most popular Facebook pages are dedicated to abstract nouns like “The Beach” and “Pizza”, and at least nine of the 297 most popular pages (those having at least one million fans) are dedicated to sleeping. It seems that users do not become fans of these pages to network with other sleep enthusiasts. Instead, they are used to publicly “tag” interests and preferences. It appears that Facebook did not design their category system with this in mind, and as a consequence many pages are mis-categorized.

Category Distribution

Facebook pages are evenly distributed amongst the categories. A notable exception is “government officials”, which has only 2,000 pages. Since so many Facebook pages are mis-categorized, these numbers do not necessarily reflect an accurate picture of category distribution.

Category Distribution Among Top Pages (over one million fans)

Given the high number of mis-categorized pages, we wanted to get a better idea of how the most popular pages break down by category. We examined the 297 most popular Facebook pages (those having at least one million fans) and then manually re-categorized them. The pages that did not reflect proper nouns (e.g. “Nights Out With Friends”) were moved into the “OTHER” category.

As you can see, a large swath of the most popular pages (39%) fall into the “Other” classification. Once this noise is removed, it becomes easier to see that most of the popular pages are for musicians/bands, celebrities, products, television shows, and films.

 

Top Pages per Category

CATEGORY “WEBSITES”

Page # fans
Big Prize Giveways 2,093,425
CHOCOLATE! 1,808,643
I Use My Cell Phone To See In The Dark 1,375,290
FML 1,220,382
Prayer 1,219,062
Source: sysomos.com
 

CATEGORY “STORES”

Page # fans
I ♥ SLEEP 4,598,779
Will Smith 4,556,348
I don’t sleep enough because I stay up late for no reason 3,556,464
The Beach 3,283,539
Finding Money In Your Pocket 3,200,136
Source: sysomos.com
 

CATEGORY “MUSIC”

Page # fans
Michael Jackson 10,404,793
R.I.P Michael Jackson (We Miss You) 4,681,105
Lady Gaga 4,389,307
Linkin Park 3,439,751
Rihanna 2,970,938
Source: sysomos.com
 

CATEGORY “ORGANIZATIONS”

Page # fans
Yelling at inanimate objects 2,051,417
I Love Jesus 1,483,408
No Homework 1,410,441
“No profe usted dijo que eso no era para hoy” 1,389,931
dormir con el sonido de la lluvia!!! 1,288,698
Source: sysomos.com
 

CATEGORY “FILMS”

Page # fans
Disney 2,376,973
The Hangover 1,887,573
Titanic 1,797,794
American Pie 1,656,012
Batman: The Dark Knight 1,609,185
Source: sysomos.com
 

CATEGORY “SERVICES”

Page # fans
Massages 3,135,810
Flipping the Pillow Over to Get to the Cold Side 2,925,575
Summer! 2,607,095
Tattoo & Piercing 2,589,807
dormir 2,074,708
Source: sysomos.com
 

CATEGORY “CELEBRITIES”

Page # fans
Vin Diesel 7,044,721
Megan Fox 5,115,936
Dr. House 4,467,909
Adam Sandler 3,707,586
Selena Gomez 3,243,961
Source: sysomos.com
 

CATEGORY “TV SHOWS”

Page # fans
South Park 3,087,309
House 2,518,556
Family Guy 2,254,705
Grey’s Anatomy 2,127,630
FRIENDS (TV Show) 2,093,845
Source: sysomos.com
 

CATEGORY “PRODUCTS”

Page # fans
Facebook 5,802,259
Starbucks 5,113,068
Pizza 4,593,121
I need a vacation!!! 4,354,306
Twilight 4,321,632
Source: sysomos.com
 

CATEGORY “NON-PROFITS”

Page # fans
Music 1,975,352
I Love my Family 1,721,015
I’ll do it in a minute 1,457,287
SUPPORT OUR TROOPS 1,331,581
I Love My Friends 1,230,638
Source: sysomos.com
 

CATEGORY “GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS”

Page # fans
Jeremy Clarkson for Prime Minister 388,029
Montreal 33,378
I HATE POWER CUTS 19,101
General Sarath Fonseka 14,537
alica, alicate ; mertio, mertiolate ! 13,904
Source: sysomos.com
 

CATEGORY “SPORTS TEAMS”

Page # fans
Galatasaray 2,229,605
Fenerbahçe 1,765,546
New York Yankees 1,104,329
Manchester United 980,315
Beşiktaş 762,754
Source: sysomos.com
 

CATEGORY “BARS AND CLUBS”

Page # fans
Summer Break! 1,167,984
Nights Out With Friends 1,130,058
Odio cuando estoy durmiendo, suena el telefono y me dicen “TE DESPERTE?” 852,609
Recien es lunes y ya quiero que sea viernes 833,994
MOLLIAMO TUTTO E ANDIAMO A VIVERE A BORA BORA 780,114
Source: sysomos.com
 

CATEGORY “GAMES”

Page # fans
Texas Hold’em Poker 4,669,830
Pet Society 1,291,315
Uno 1,259,393
Guitar Hero 1,094,337
Los besos no se piden, se dan… 926,195
Source: sysomos.com
 

CATEGORY “RESTAURANTS”

Page # fans
Dippin’ Dots 898,722
Etre seul avec son/sa chéri(e) 440,793
In-N-Out 417,190
Domino’s Pizza 323,856
Subway 321,396
Source: sysomos.com
 

CATEGORY “PLACES”

Page # fans
I hate stupid people 2,668,664
Roller Coasters 1,445,237
la playa de noche 1,294,010
Roller Coasters 1,150,238
Disneyland 978,201
Source: sysomos.com
 

CATEGORY “POLITICIANS”

Page # fans
Barack Obama 6,940,287
Sarah Palin 1,071,214
Michelle Obama 597,111
M.K. ATATÜRK 555,449
John McCain 513,839
Source: sysomos.com

Content on Pages

Content on Facebook Pages falls into two broad categories: creator-generated (written by the page owner or administrator, includes “wall posts”, “videos”, “links”, etc.), and fan-generated (wall posts, fan photos, and fan videos).

Highlights

  • For the average Facebook Page, one wall post is created (by the page’s administrators) every 15.7 days. Among pages with more than one million fans, one wall post is created for every 16.1 days. This suggests that wall post frequency does not relate to a page’s popularity.
  • The average page has 26.8 pieces of non-stream owner-generated content (photo albums, videos, links, notes, and favourite pages). Among pages with more than one million fans, the average page had 70.4 pieces of owner-generated content.
  • A page has 9.5 pieces of fan-generated content (photos and videos) on average. Among pages with more than one million fans, the average page has 586.9 pieces of fan-generated content.


 

CREATOR CONTENT BY POPULARITY

# fans avg. # of creator content items
1–5 1.9
5–10 1.9
10–20 5.2
20–40 11.2
40–80 12.5
80–160 13.1
160–320 15.7
320–640 14.8
640–1200 16.1
1200–2400 20.5
2400–4800 18.6
4800–9600 17.4
9600–19000 28.0
19000–38000 25.3
38000–76000 29.6
76000–150000 75.0
150000–300000 41.5
300000–600000 43.1
600000–1200000 43.6
1200000–2400000 75.7
2400000–4800000 26.3
4800000–9600000 51.0
Source: sysomos.com


 
 

FAN CONTENT BY POPULARITY

# fans avg. # of fan content items
1–5 0.1
5–10 0.2
10–20 0.4
20–40 1.0
40–80 1.6
80–160 2.1
160–320 3.0
320–640 4.8
640–1200 7.7
1200–2400 12.8
2400–4800 22.8
4800–9600 39.9
9600–19000 55.2
19000–38000 78.5
38000–76000 99.1
76000–150000 139.0
150000–300000 164.8
300000–600000 209.1
600000–1200000 277.9
1200000–2400000 505.0
2400000–4800000 699.6
4800000–9600000 1434.5
Source: sysomos.com


 
 

WALL POST FREQUENCY BY POPULARITY

# fans avg. days between posts
1–5 12.4
5–10 15.6
10–20 17.0
20–40 16.8
40–80 16.3
80–160 15.1
160–320 14.0
320–640 14.8
640–1200 15.8
1200–2400 15.6
2400–4800 16.4
4800–9600 18.1
9600–19000 19.7
19000–38000 19.9
38000–76000 19.8
76000–150000 19.1
150000–300000 20.0
300000–600000 18.7
600000–1200000 24.1
1200000–2400000 15.8
2400000–4800000 13.0
4800000–9600000 3.5
Source: sysomos.com

Conclusions

While Facebook Pages have emerged as a popular marketing vehicle for many companies, the landscape appears to be dominated by those focused on pop culture — music, celebrities, television shows, and films. Of the nearly 600,000 Facebook Pages examined by Sysomos, only 297 (or 0.05%) have more than one million fans. Facebook Pages with more than one million fans generate significantly more content than the average Facebook page: three times more content created by owners/administrators, and 70 times more content created by fans themselves. While “Wall posts” can attract a lot of attention, there does not appear to be a significant correlation between the number of Wall posts and the popularity of a page — an active wall doesn’t necessarily imply a popular page.

About Sysomos

Sysomos is the social intelligence company backed by data science that gives businesses immediate context to the hundreds of millions of conversations happening online every day. The Sysomos social intelligence platform continuously decodes these conversations and news stories to give marketers real-time answers about what their customers think and feel. More than 1,400 global brands and agencies including United Health Group, 3M, Boeing, Edelman, Genetech, Marriott and Ogilvy trust Sysomos for their social intelligence. Sysomos has offices in seven cities worldwide, including London, New York, San Francisco and Toronto. 


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