How many Facebook “Likes” does YOUR Format have?

Which formats are most successful at attracting Facebook “likes” to their pages?

The chart above provides some insight.  It’s based on data gathered by Fred Stiening for StreamingRadioGuide.com and it depicts the top 20 format categories ranked by the number of Facebook “likes.”

Fred is quick to acknowledge that these data may not be perfect or perfectly up-to-date or completely comprehensive.  But if they are close to the truth, and I suspect they are, there are some interesting takeaways.

First, it’s obvious that the formats that attract the most “likes” tend to be either more numerous or high cume or both. Obviously, the more stations a format has the more “likes” it may have, but this relationship is hardly one-to-one. It’s also clear that the formats targeting younger audiences tend to drive more fans.

Note, too, that the more “active” formats deliver more “likes.”  Every one of the top-ranked formats here has an element of current music in the mix.

It’s also interesting to note the relatively poor performance of News/Talk, Sports, and even Public Radio.  Is this because of smaller cumes and older audiences or lost opportunities to convert real-life fans to Facebook “likes”?  In other words, are there fewer reasons to “like” these brands on Facebook?

But what is perhaps most interesting of all is the standout performance of Christian and Religious stations. They certainly are attracting a disproportionate number of “likes” to their Facebook pages.

So there are two questions I’d like you to consider:

First, does any of this matter?

If you believe that a “like” vote relates to the kind of consumer passion which can sustain a radio brand no matter what kind of competitor comes along, then I say the answer is “yes.”  The issue isn’t whether or not a “like” is “monetized.” The issue is whether or not it exists at all.  Every radio brand should strive for the kind of emotional affiliation reflected in the simple act of clicking “like.”  I’m not naively assuming that Facebook “likes” are the same as real-life fans, but I’d bet money on a positive correlation.

Second, if Christian and Religious stations can convert a greater fraction of their consumers to “likes” without the vast cumes of Country or Contemporary Hits, then why can’t you?

Could it be that the benefits of Christian and Religious stations are bigger than the music or teaching propositions alone?  Could it be that granting a “like” to a Christian station means more than simply voting a thumbs-up on the music?

Every radio brand lives in three dimensions, or at least it should.  And, to paraphrase Gary Vaynerchuk, the more “human” and “great” the brand is, the more it is likely to attract “likes” like bees to honey.

Finally, it’s good to remember that the game isn’t just about the “likes” but what your fans are supposed to be saying to each other about your brand via social media – what the “likes” are for.  As Mike Walsh writes:

Your most important decision this year will not be the amount of money you spend recruiting fans on Facebook, but rather the investment you make in the stories through which your brand tells your customers what it stands for.

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  • Mark, this is very interesting. I think we need to know more about how this data was compiled in order to see the full story, but this is a good start. I represent both Christian and News Talk radio, so I have lots of opinions on this data. 🙂 

    The Christian audience is extremely loyal. Although they may not have as high cumes as contemporary hits or country, their exclusive audience is almost always higher. This drives the engagement of the listener. Our Christian stations have done a great job of using their social media pages as a platform for promotions. The loyal listeners are typically moms who love to save money and enter contests, so Christian stations are wise to engage their listeners via social media.

    On the News Talk side, it is much different. Our News Talk stations do use social media, but the Facebook pages that are the most visited are those of the News Talk hosts featured on the stations. This makes sense if you think about it. News Talk stations have loyal listeners because they are loyal to one or two hosts. They tune in for the hours of their favorite show and then tune out. Another thing to consider is the typical listener of a news talk show is male. Males are typically less active on social media than women, especially in the 35+ demo. When measuring facebook “likes” of News Talk through the News Talk hosts, I think we would see a different story in the graph above.

    This is great information, Mark! Thank you for sharing it.   

  • Faron Dice

    Provocative, Mark!

  • Pingback: Radio cumes | Jbmobilenotary()

  • ArtStoneUS

    Hi! I just googled my name and saw this article – the data is much more complete now.

    The process at this point is when my semi-automated verification process loads the web page for a station, it scans looking for one of the many possible Facebook links. Once it has found the likely Facebook link, it uses the Facebook API and/or scrapes the Facebook page to get the current count. If the page requires the visitor to be logged in to Facebook to see the page, the update fails and data has to be entered manually.

    I’ve also broken formats into much more granular formats (maybe too many!), so you can see hit country vs classic country, for instance. Spanish language stations have zoomed upward – unknown if that is real activity or clever manipulation recruiting people to like something they never listen to.

    The Christian music is dominated by EMF (K-love and Air1). Most spoken word formats don’t use Facebook.

    News/Talk is migrating the attention to the hosts and away from the stations. Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have millions of likes, not the local stations with their 3 hours a day of local programming

    By the way, there is no www. In the server name – it’s still alive and well