Facebook: Where Have All The Fans Gone?

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A client asked me why are they losing fans from their Facebook page. I glanced out of the window and saw four feet of snow. The page is about summer time outdoor activities. So, my initial guess was that people unsubscribe due to seasonal lack of interest.

However, when I started looking at the stats of other pages, where seasonal drop was certainly not involved, I saw similar increases. What’s more interesting, all the fans in unrelated fields started to unsubscribe on the same day. January 4 2011. Here are some of the screen shots from Facebook Insights.

These seven are all different pages, brands, fans, even different languages:

facebook lost fans

facebook lost fans

facebook lost fans

facebook lost fans

facebook lost fans

facebook lost fans

facebook lost fans

I’m sure that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation. Anyone? What happened?

Priit Kallas

Priit is the founder and CEO of DreamGrow Digital, an internet marketing and social media company. With his 20+ years internet marketing experience he is Helping companies to understand and use the digital marketing to reach their target audiences. He's also writing on a personal growth website FixWillPower.com. He has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences on different aspects of internet marketing. Priit is also the organizer of Digital Elite Camp, a leading traffic and conversion event.

11 Responses

  1. Julie Roberts says:

    Fans on Face book like subscribers are only as committed to your email newsletter or your facebook page as the value of the information, discounts, and interest in your offerings exceeds the number of posts that are not meaningful to that person. People suffer from information overload and will frequently unsubscribe from newslettters after the holiday season or after a project is competed or when otherwise they aren’t getting enough value for the services you bring. Try to query customers and fans as to where they get value or why they are subscribing or not subscribing or ask them to tailor to provide an update less often or more specific to their needs. Perception of junk mail stays a perception till you add enough value to exceed any perceived inconvenience.

  2. Remy says:

    Thanks Carl, i didn’t notice this add-on before.

  3. Priit Kallas says:

    Thanks Carl! This is interesting and would explain the rate on unsubscription increasing. But what about the jump in all stats on January 4.

  4. Carl says:

    Somewhere on that region of time Facebook added “Unlike page” to the X button in news feed stories. I’ve used it in many occasions.

  5. Remy says:

    Clearing out inactive accounts sounds reasonable yet there isn’t any information around to affirm it. The mysterious facebook:)

  6. J.R. Augustine says:

    The fact that all these accounts drop to zero and then back to their usual level leads me to believe that Chris is right on his third guess.

    This looks like a facebook glitch. I don’t see the dropoff in any of my insights, so I expect it isn’t a site-wide facebook issue, but it looks like a facebook issue none-the-less.

  7. Priit Kallas says:

    Thanks Chris! 1) these are all different pages for different brands. 2) If people would do this then we would see increase but not on the same day over dozens of pages.

    3) This seems to be the likely case but what did Facebook do? Clearing out inactive accounts? Changing the model data is analyzed?

  8. Priit Kallas says:

    Thanks Craig. I thin that the one day drop offs are due to system errors or data loss. But the trend in January is persistent.

  9. Chris B says:

    Three guesses, and nothing more than that.

    1) I wasn’t sure if these were all for the same company, but potentially an increase in messages coming from them would lead to ‘fans’ frustration and their un-subscribing.

    2) It’s a seasonal clear out. Early January and time to get rid of some advertising on your Facebook.

    3) If these are all completely un-related results from different companies, groups, etc… It is more likely to be something to do with facebook changing something. Perhaps they cleared unused accounts ?

    As I said, all guess work. I’d love to hear some more solid reasons.

  10. craig ross says:

    more importantly is the question why all the drop off of unsubscribers in Nov and Dec on those days. If that could be figured out then build on that concept and go forward not to worry on why the one day of unsubscribers.

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