Case in Point: Why Facebook 'Likes' Can Be Meaningless Measures

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

This article from Retail Banker International opens with the following headline and statement:

“Chase Tops Facebook Battle of the Banks”

“In a battle of the most socially media active banks – at least on Facebook – Chase comes out easily on top with over 2.9m Facebook ‘likes’. That figure equates to 5.27% of its customers base, making it far and away the most popular bank on Facebook.”

Chase is far from the “most socially active” bank, and in fact, lags in many ways. The author of this article has actually counted in Chase’s favor the 2,885,000 Facebook members who (as of September 2, 2011) “like” the Chase Community Giving Project. Those folks may not like the bank at all, and may not even know the bank, but have been motivated to signify a “like” for the Community Giving Project page as a prerequisite to vote for the charity of their choice, which is operated by a foundation affiliated with the bank.

The charity activity of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation is admirable, and its Facebook initiative has been a successful example of community involvement. To propose a “battle of the banks,” however, it seems one should compare the banks’ use of social media to attract new customers, and to reward or service existing customers. “Likes,” in Chase’s case, have nothing to do with the relationship between the bank and its customers, but rather with the relationships between eligible charities and their supporters. Apples and oranges.

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