Updated March 2020
Social network value per user – how much is your audience worth?
Gone are the days when social media was a ’nice to have’ for a business. Like most internet-based tools, it is now a necessity that your customers will not only expect but also possibly take for granted. Proving its ‘worth’ to the C-suite and investors is (thankfully) now not a challenge as long as you can justify your activities and demonstrate how it is benefiting your business.
In this blog, we don’t look at ROI as such, but specifically at what the social network value per user is worth to a business, based on the stats which are out there.
- 2.5 bn people are active on Facebook (up 1.5bn since we orginially wrote this article in Jan 2019)
- 1 bn active Instagram users
- 500 m people actively using Instagram Stories every day – up 400m since June 2018
- 340 m active tweeters
- 660+ million LinkedIn users log in each month
- 2 bn active YouTube members (the second highest active network after FB)
- 800m active users on TikTok (and rising)
How much is your social media fan base worth?
The social network value per user can change hour by hour. Similar to the stock market, one day your fan base can be worth a mint. Then, a scandal breaks and it drops. That said, the information behind that that value is getting harder to find. So, this is what we could report on:
When we first wrote this blog back in 2015, Facebook was calculating a user to be worth $3.73 per quarter. By the end of 2017, this was up to $6.18 per user. That’s a 165% increase in two years. Obviously, last year saw the Cambridge Analytica scandal, GDPR and people genuinely losing their trust in the platform. But, this didn’t stop advertising spend. It is now predicted that Facebook will generate about $226 per user profile (based on US information – sorry folks) in 2021. Personal data (US again) is currently worth between $0.20 – $0.40 in terms of “worth” to businesses. This “worth” changes when you add layers of information such as relationship statuses, age profiles, interests etc. So the more niche your audience, the more it is worth.
This is an interesting one to look at. It has been reported that Instagram has an estimated value of $100 bn making one of their 1 bn active users worth $100. But, that is a crude way of looking at things.
Influencer Kylie Jenner has been reported to be paid approx $1.2m for a single post which would mean her 141m fans were worth $0.008 each. Based on this it would seem a Instagram user is “worth” less than a Facebook user. Admittedly, this is a tricky one to work out. It would depend – again – on how niche your following is and what industry you are in.
Want to have a bit of fun? We have even come across a nifty calculator that estimates what you could earn per post on Instagram, to give you an idea of what your fans are worth. Using this calculator it puts my Instagram follower worth at approx 0.004p! (Tweet me yours via @nataliejayw_)
Social network value per user stats for Twitter are impossible to find since they ‘floated’ the company. In 2015, it was worth $4 per user, Then in 2018 it was reported that their average revenue per user was $7.50 – much less than Facebook. We would expect that, with their increase in advertising revenue and as it is the top social site for news, that this number has since grown.
Since Microsoft took over LinkedIn, its value as a networking and lead generation tool has gone through the roof. This is also supported by its USP as the only ‘professional’ social networking platform out there. So, we can expect that the value per user here is considerably higher. Whilst it was once dubbed as a B2B tool, this mindset towards LinkedIn has changed more towards human to human. Why? Well, someone like me may be on there to recruit for business or to connect with people who I want to learn from or work with. But, I am also a consumer. So, if you are a B2C business, do not discount the value of having a robust LinkedIn network.
YouTube is estimated to be worth $160 bn. If you choose to monetise your YouTube channel, you get paid per view. This can make it easy to gauge how much your ‘video’ or ‘channel’ is worth based on those viewing figures. A video view on YouTube is worth approx $0.10 – $0.30 which has increased since we first wrote this in early 2019.
But, does someone viewing your video ultimately make money for your business? Not necessarily. It is down to who they are and what you want them to do once they have viewed the video or when they have seen your ad during a video they are watching.
In terms of making money from a channel (and getting paid for ads to show in your videos).The magic really happens when you get to 1m subscribers – and that is the key metric. Subscribers over views as you will more likely bring people back to be platform if they subscribe to your channel.
What does this all mean?
Every click to your website counts but not every fan or follower is created equal.
Ultimately, each social network has a different function.
They are all at varying stages of maturity with regards to advertising, they utilise adverts in a number of ways and they also attract a variety of different audiences. So, to truly find out the worth of your audience, it is best to measure it through the ROI of each platform against your specific business goals.
So, if your Facebook page has 1,0000 fans and you are only getting five likes per update and zero referrals to your website each month, it is pretty obvious that not all of your fans are worth what Facebook suggests.
Engagement, website referrals and conversions rule over fan or follower numbers. A business should be happy if it has 300 fans yet 50% of them take action on each post or a high number of that percentage converts into a sale, over higher numbers for vanity’s sake.
It also doesn’t mean that a user from Facebook is important than a fan from Twitter. Surely, a click is worth the same if the audience and tactics are right?
If you are noticing a decline in engagement, it may be time for a social media audit. Or if you are getting the clicks but no conversions one of our FREE website health checks could give you a clue to why.
Beyond that ask yourself whether they are your target audience? How were they originally acquired? Do you need to rethink your community growth strategy?
In a nutshell …
As a business, unless you are looking to sell that business, working out how much your audience is worth is … not worth it.
Ensuring that you are producing content that encourages the right audience to engage and convert is a more fruitful task. Like all marketing activities, you need to look at your social media in line with your business, marketing and channel goals and track conversions from your website.
This will provide you with a clearer indication of whether your efforts are paying off as they should be.
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