It is perhaps not a surprise that Justin Bieber fans are the most "active" on Facebook, according to a ranking of brands by Fangager, a social media marketing consultancy. But the list does contain some delightful surprises for marketers trying to figure out how to use Facebook in their advertising plans. It also underlines how difficult it is to engage customers in a "relationship" with a brand that goes beyond a mere purchase.
Entertainment brands such as Zynga's Texas Hold'em Poker, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry dominate, holding eight of the top 10 slots. The other two went to Manchester United and F.C. Barcelona. Here's the top 20 (click to enlarge), you can see the full list here:
The ranking measures "active fans" by posts, comment and likes, so although Lady Gaga has more Facebook fans than Bieber, Bieber's fans post more stuff on his wall. Britney Spears has surprisingly few fans -- just 9.5 million compared to Katy Perry's 22.5 million -- but her fans are more rabid (on Facebook, at least) than those of Barcelona.
The top non-entertainment brand in the list is PlayStation, at No. 20, followed by Victoria's Secret at No. 25 and Monster Energy at No. 26.
That's an indicator of how hard it is for a non-human brand to gain traction in social media. It sounds obvious once you've looked at the ranking, but it isn't obvious to advertisers who are searching for ways to use social media to make customers more brand loyal and cement sales. (The Pepsi v. Coke Facebook war is a great example of tough it can be to engage your own customers even in a market where loyalists despise the competing brand.)
The ranking also contains some wonderfully dippy juxtapositions: Why, for instance, are Skittles fans busier on Facebook than Usher fans? Is Mr. Bean really more interesting than Shakira, especially as there hasn't been a new episode of Mr. Bean since 1995? Is it a sign of the Decline of Western Civilization that SpongeBob SquarePants is more popular than The Beatles? (No word from Jesus Christ at this point.)
Examine the list too long and you end up inside a self-referential meta-rabbit hole of social media meaninglessness. Who knew that Facebook had a Facebook page, and that 39 million people "like" it? (And given that Facebook has 600 million users, shouldn't a few more of them actually like the service?)