Why Do Consumers Like Brands on Facebook?

Why do people "like" brands on Facebook? Free stuff!

According to a recent post by the Google Retail Advertising blog, the answer to the question is simple…they want discounts.

In a very short post, they state that their latest research reveals that only 50% of Facebook users “friend” brands, with the prevalent “why” being to receive discounts and promotions.  That’s really not surprising, I’ve seen time and time again huge amounts of traffic being driven to a Facebook brand page by offering something as simple as a coupon for a free bagel. Maybe we don’t clip coupons out of the newspaper anymore (remember newspapers?), but some things never change, and consumers continue to be primarily motivated by discounts.

For those brands that think all of their fans just cannot wait for breaking news, this report appears to put a dark cloud over that theory.  It seems that a mere 8% are there to hear new info first.

The stats presented don’t surprise me, but what does surprise me in the lack of data to back up these claims.  How big is the sampling pool? Over what time period was this data collected? What about the fact that Google and Facebook are competitors in so many ways…how does this play in to the conclusions, if at all?

Given the stature of Google, this is news that seems worthy of reporting, I’m just disappointed that they didn’t qualify their conclusions with some hardcore numbers.  However, I don’t need numbers to tell me what I already know: people like free things, or at least discounted things, and are willing to do a few things to receive them, such as “liking” you on Facebook.  If you manage a brand page, don’t discount the simple and strong allure of “free” to build your base.

By Matt Singley

Personal: husband to Alison, father to four amazing kids. I used to live a fast but enjoyable life in Los Angeles, now I have chickens on acreage in Charlotte, North Carolina. Just a bit different. I'm an advocate for cycling as much as you can and eating as cleanly as you can afford. Professional: I'm the CEO of Singley + Mackie, a creative digital agency that serves well-known lifestyle and entertainment companies around the world. Clients include Microsoft, Samsung, Hulu, YP and others. If you want to find the more-professional me, go to