ComScore's Graham Mud told SES San Francisco attendees that the majority of Facebook users' time is spent on news feeds, making it Facebook's most valuable content section for brand reach.

Marketers shouldn’t underestimate the value of a Like. More specifically, they shouldn’t underestimate the reach provided for businesses when fans Like branded content.

On Tuesday, comScore’s vice president of search and media, Graham Mud, shared insight with SES San Francisco attendees about the four types of brand impressions offered by Facebook marketing, and why friends of fans are perhaps a social marketers’ most valuable audience.

He also shared some data-driven examples of how news feed exposure magnifies brand reach for Facebook marketers – in some cases more than 100-fold.

According to Mud, marketers can make an impression on their share of Facebook’s 750 million users in one of four ways:

  1. Page Publishing – sharing branded content on their own Pages
  2. Stories about Friends – becoming visible to fans’ friends when fans actively engage a brand via brand Likes or content Likes (this data is shared on the fans’ walls and/or fans’ friends’ news feed)
  3. Sponsored Stories – paying for “Stories about Friends” type of exposure via ads visible on users’ right hand column instead of fans’ walls and fans’ friends’ news feeds (emphasis on friends’ activity)
  4. Ads with Social – paying for advertisements with social context (emphasis on branded ad)

Mud explains that “Stories about Friends” are a marketer’s best asset. “Brand value is created on the news feed even more than on brand Pages – [effective Facebook marketing] is about being on news feeds. That is where consumers spend the vast majority of engagement,” he said. In fact, he shared comScore data indicating that 27 percent of time spent on Facebook is devoted to the homepage/ news feed, making it the most visible content section of the social site.

comScore data #SESSFMud went on to point out that the news feed is also where marketers can reach friends of fans – a valuable, albeit under-tapped, audience. For example, Bing’s fans boast friend connections that represent more than one-quarter of Facebook users.

For major brands like Starbucks, the ratio of page views on news feeds to brand pages is 156:1. Other big (but less popular) brands such as Southwest garnered 42 times their brand Page views when content was Liked and shared with friends of fans.

Marketers hoping to gain more exposure among fans’ friends must remember to focus on targeted social content marketing strategies. Mud reminded attendees that Facebook’s news feed algorithm ranks content according to whether it predicts the posts will be useful or interesting to users. As such, brands should ensure their Facebook content fits prospects’ informational wants and needs.

Relevant social content has been a major theme at SES San Francisco. As Brafton reported, SES experts agree that highly targeted content is more important than “viral” content. Their case studies show that relevant social content drives shares among niche audiences, and this drives conversions.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.